Many of us have perceptions of ourselves that don’t match what others think, feel or notice. Culturally, we put on a polite and happy face to make people (and ourselves) feel comfortable and at ease in each other’s company – whether it’s in a work, social, or romantic interaction.
How often have you wished to be a fly on the wall so you could hear how others describe you in any of these capacities?
With the underlying desire to both impress and be accepted OR to hide and detach, we unconsciously give others impressions that can either achieve or dissuade all of the above.
When people get to hear how the world actually experiences them without the cherry on top, the impact can be profound. The practice of Circling allows us to receive feedback from unbiased strangers, using conscious communication that requires ownership of personal experience.
Recently, during a weekend intensive, a man was sharing his frustration about the social dynamic in his workplace. He described how he dreaded interacting with his peers and said something to the effect of ‘they’re all self-absorbed jerks that could care less about me or what I bring to the table.’
One of the women in the Circle responded, ‘that’s interesting because I was feeling like you were thinking the same thing about us.’
Other people in the group then revealed that they were imagining the same thing. The man was shocked by this response and was eager to ask what had the group simultaneously respond to him in the same way.
Ultimately he discovered that his history and the insecurities that he had developed over time, had him judging and coming to conclusions about others before ever being ‘seen.’
In the practice of Circling, being ‘seen’ translates to being understood, appreciated, or acknowledged for one's true self, process, or unique gifts … that which lies below the surface.
Unraveling these perceptions in a communal space, that could just as easily represent the places and spaces in our day-to-day lives, offers invaluable insight.
Circling certainly isn’t for the faint hearted but it can help one understand why they’re attracting or NOT attracting what they desire most in life -- the woman/man, the job, opportunity, or simply the connection we ALL long to feel with others.
Circling facilitates freedom from constrictions of past experiences and interpretations around conflict, decisions, or stories. Individuals can then find support and passion to design their future and their role -- giving them the power to reformulate and harness a vision for their lives.
This practice also reveals that all of us are going through an internal process that pretty much mirrors everyone else’s. Realizing this can give us permission to relax into our own skin vs. being in a constant state of internal analysis – judging, desiring, or trying to control the outcome of each interaction.
This opens up a whole new space for presence, connection, and attention to the things that nourish us in any interaction.
For me, this feels like freedom. And what I love even more is that there are no rules or requirements to the practice of Circling, other than to share and receive your own truth.