Archives for April 2012

3 Steps to Extend Grace to Others — and to Yourself


Hi. This is Dmitri Bilgere. I’d like to tell you a little story.

Years ago I was running workshops with a guy who sometimes drove me crazy.

He was about to lead a process, and I wanted to give him some coaching about how to run it, because I had lead that process for many years, and this was his first time doing it.

But as I was giving him feedback on it — “You might want to try this, you might want to try that” — he was stonewalling me. He was getting madder and madder at me. And, as it happened, I was getting madder and madder at him. Because, after all, I knew how to do this well. Here he was: he didn’t really know that much, it was his first time, and he could really use some coaching on it. But I backed off because he really didn’t want to listen.

So there I am, in the room with him while he’s running this. And I’m participating. And it’s a process about love and blessing, but here’s Dmitri: I’m getting madder and madder because he’s not doing it as well as it could be done. It’s good enough. But what’s really making me angry is he didn’t listen to me. I know about this, and he didn’t listening to me! Maybe you can relate to this kind of anger.

Now, I’m not a guy who wants to go through my life angry. And I knew I could have a fight with him about it afterwards and I would win, because I know a lot more about this than he did. I knew I could crush him.

But I also knew I wanted to extend grace to other people. I didn’t want to just crush him. I didn’t want to just “win.” I actually wanted to have a loving connection. I wanted the world to get better because of the light that I bring. You may relate to that, too.

So while this process was going on I started to say to myself, “Okay. How do I extend grace to him?”

I figured that a good place to start might be feeling what it feels like to be him. So let myself get my best sense of what it felt like to be him. Let’s see… He might be thinking, “I’m going in to lead this and I’ve never done it before. I’m scared, it seems like a lot.” I really tried to step away from my anger for a moment and really feel what was it like to be him in that situation.

And as I really felt into it, I made a discovery. “Wow,” I thought. “He really wants it to go well. And he didn’t want a whole lot of extraneous messages that would take him off the few things he knew that he could do. He didn’t listen to my great ideas because he really wanted it to go well.”

I started seeing how many things that annoyed me about this guy came from the fact that he really wanted things to go well. He really wanted things to go well. So much so, sometimes he could be over-controlling about it … but man, you couldn’t deny that he wanted things to go well.

I really saw his heart. I saw, “Wow. You know, my heart has a piece like that too. In fact, the part I have that’s like him is the part that wanted to tell him how to do the process in the first place. I really wanted to make him do better by giving him all my feedback so things would go well.”

I started feeling, “Wow, we’re really alike.” And I started opening to a sense of mercy for the part of me that really wants things to go well — and for that part of him. I really opening to love. I started to see that it’s so wonderful that I want things to go well, it’s so wonderful he wants that, too.

And then the process ended and we were on a break, and I talked to him. There had been some conflict-y energy between us before, so I knew I wanted to clear it up.

I went up to him and said, “Look, I really love about you how much you want things to go well. I really see it in you. You really want things to go well. I do too. And I really see that in you.” He was like, “Yeah, that is true about me. Thank you for seeing it.” And the whole conflict just evaporated.

I went through a specific process to get that to happen. I’m going to run through it for you now. Because people say to me and say things like, “I want to be more merciful to other people. I want to be more compassionate. I want to be more loving. Help me figure out how to do that in my head.” Or, “There’s this person who’s making me crazy and I want to extend grace–what, exactly, do I say to extend grace?” But it’s not a process up in your head. It’s a process in your heart.

So let’s talk about the heart-process that I went through, so you can do it on your own.

Step 1: Step one is to get your best sense of what it’s like to be that person, and to get your best sense of what that person wants. It’s when you get your best sense of what’s going on for them.

Key Question: What are they feeling, and what are they longing for?

My friend was actually feeling afraid that the process he was leading wasn’t going to go well, and he was longing for things to go well.

Step 2: Once I got in touch with that, there’s step two, which is find that part of yourself. Where is that part in me? It’s saying, “Yeah, I have a part like that. I have a part that really wants things to go well.”

Key Question: What part of me is like that? 

Step 3: So after you find that part of yourself, step three: Love that part of yourself.

Key Question: What’s my experience when I love that part of myself?

Now, a lot of times people want to skip this part. They say, “Maybe I can avoid loving that part of me but I can just go love it in the other person.”

But really, this is where the growth comes. This is how this person is a mirror for you — when you say, “Wow, that part is in me, and I’m going to love that part, and see the good in it, and see the beautiful intention in it, and see the heart of it.”

And as you fill up with love in that part of you, you’ll automatically start loving that part in them. Then, when it comes time to talk to them, you don’t have to go from a preplanned script of what you’re going to say — you can just speak, if it’s even necessary, from that love.

And as you speak from that love, or exist from that love, or live from that love, things are just going to get better.

So there it is, a very quick tip: How to extend grace to other people. I hope you’ll try this out. Let me know what you think, how it works for you, in the comments section of the blog.