Our world functions in a power-over paradigm. We confuse power with aggression and standing up for ourselves with stepping on others. World leaders, men, women, professional athletes, politicians and on and on, often move in power over others in an effort to get them to agree with their demands. Our world teaches us that yelling, intimidating and overall bullying others is okay if it serves our own needs. We snap at employees, tell our loved ones to shut up, shame our school children for mistakes, yell and scream at those we feel aren’t listening and bully those who struggle to stand their ground. We’re taught that sometimes the only way to be heard is to get BIG.
In the short run, this power-over paradigm often works. It succeeds in getting us what we want. People cower to our rage, they give in to our demands and many shrink to our intimidation. For the moment, we “win.” People back down, give us space and give in.
We forget to notice, however, what it feels like to the person on the other side. In that moment, we don’t really care that they gave in out of fear. We don’t care that people don’t like to be bullied, shut down or not listened to. We don’t stop to notice how our intensity or our rage silenced their voice. We only notice whether we got our way.