Robert was here briefly to go through his divorce papers. He was anxious. He phoned his boss to tell her when he will be back at work. He was nervous about this, began badly and proceeded to make things worse for himself by talking too much. I did not challenge him about the call because he was already fragile and I did not want to make things worse. This is not the correct attitude because then Robert can escape and does not receive the full power of our support.
We never challenge each other out of spite – we challenge each other out of love. I aim to get to a place where I am challenged instantly and consistently by everyone – no matter how it makes me feel. I did the same when I learned German. I insisted that everybody correct all my mistakes. I appreciated it when they did correct me although at times I felt frustrated and undermined, but I learnt more that way.
In the supervision session at the end of the day I talked about instant feedback. On the same issue, Karaj told Sunil that he (Sunil) has to refrain with his clients but within the framework of the men’s group he should challenge all the time. I have the same feelings about challenging people as Sunil. Not wanting to upset people (please others), and simply not having the strength to challenge. Karaj told us that when we don’t challenge we lose energy wondering whether to or not and then going over the same debate for days afterwards – ‘Should I have said something there and then?’ Should I still raise it? How should I raise it?’ – and that not challenging means I am not important, I don’t matter. I do matter.
Phoned Robert and spoke to him about his phone call. Sunil then spoke to him and challenged him further. We are putting into practice what we talked about this afternoon. In the garden with Sunil and George the instant feedback and constant challenging continued. Sunil and I found ourselves challenging George on all the ‘little’ bits of script which we would otherwise leave. It was well received, encouraged and very effective.
Karaj gave me a lift home and told me that he has to start attending more to his own needs rather than those of the men (and others). Thanks to all of Karaj’s hard work and commitment, the men are becoming stronger and more able to help themselves, which means that Karaj can concentrate on his own journey more.