The story below was shared by Ann Seal at a PBPeople Training meeting in response to our discussion about how empowering the Language of Safety is.  It also mirrored beautifully a chance conversation a Protective Behaviours trainer had in a library with a person who was feeling upset by the responses he got when trying to talk with people and described how they 'made him feel'.

Within the ownership element of The Language of Safety we describe how no one can make a person feel anything - the feeling is owned by the person which in this case is described by Buddha as 'the giver' and a person can choose to accept or decline the bad feelings*.

Thanks go to Trish for sharing her 'library experience' and Ann for making the link with the Buddha story.

*When reading or sharing this story please substitute "unsafe feelings" for "bad feelings" as in Protective Behaviours there are no such things as good or bad feelings as feelings are feelings. It helps however to acknowledge that some may feel less comfortable to experience or more difficult to manage.

A Buddha's Tale

A tale is told about the Buddha, Gautama (563-483BC), the Indian prince and spiritual leader whose teachings founded Buddhism. This short story illustrates that every one of us has the choice whether or not to take personal offence from another person's behaviour.

It is said that on an occasion when the Buddha was teaching a group of people, he found himself on the receiving end of a fierce outburst of abuse from a bystander, who was for some reason very angry.

The Buddha listened patiently while the stranger vented his rage, and then the Buddha said to the group and to the stranger, "If someone gives a gift to another person, who then chooses to decline it, tell me, who would then own the gift? The giver or the person who refuses to accept the gift?"

"The giver," said the group after a little thought. "Any fool can see that," added the angry stranger.

"Then it follows, does it not," said the Buddha, "Whenever a person tries to abuse us, or to unload their anger on us, we can each choose to decline or to accept the abuse; whether to make it ours or not. By our personal response to the abuse from another, we can choose who owns and keeps the bad (unsafe) feelings."