Re: DSM: dancing

Alan Klein (
Mon, 22 Jan 2001 20:28:38 -0500


I'm going to stick to my position on this one and I'll try to explain it a
bit further.

I agree that impact is multi-dimensional. It is also stimulated by the input
I receive from a speaker. Once the input reaches me, however, what I do with
it is entirely my responsibility. I can take it seriously. I can laugh at
it. I can get angry. I can become bitter. I can get curious. Etc., etc.,
etc. All of this takes place inside of my brain, using my set of filters,
values, beliefs, cultural norms, and the like. To me, one of the most
nonsensical, though utterly common, comments we make is, "You made me feel
(fill in the blank)." You didn't "make" me feel anything...I created the
feeling myself. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said (paraphrased), "No one can
make you feel inferior without your full consent." The same goes for happy,
proud, mad, etc.

My father uses an exercise to illustrate this point: I once watched him work
with a group of staff members from a school I worked at. He had us visualize
the worst interaction we had had with a parent. We then divided it up into
acts, like a Shakespearean play. We ran it through act by act in our minds.
He encouraged us to get back into the feelings (usually awful) that this
incident engendered in us. Then he had us play with it. First we ran it
backwards, act by act. Then mixed up entirely. Then he had us color the
entire scene a "happy color" (whatever that was for us) and play it again in
our minds. Then, to top it off, he had us play calliope music (like you'd
hear at a circus) while we played the scene back. We were all smiling by
this time. He concluded by reminding us that the happy emotions we were
experiencing were not created by the situation...they were created by us. In
fact, the unhappy emotions we had originally experienced were created by us,
as well. The happy emotions were there for us whenever we wanted to access
them, since they existed inside of us and required only our minds to create


----- Original Message -----
> I agree that communication is (at least) a "two-sided street". But I don't
> agree that "The listener is totally responsible for my impact on
> is, after all, their construction." Good God! What a cop-out on your part!
> No, come on. Impact is also multi-dimensional: it is a combination of what
> you say, how you say it, the context, the listener's expectations and
> constructions. Many factors. As a listener I'm not having the whole
> responsibility dumped on me!

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Thu Mar 29 2001 - 11:16:25 EST