Is this you?
You recognize that conflict in your relationships often comes from a lack of clarity about when you are crossing someone’s boundaries and when you are just speaking up for yourself. You sometimes get confused about being “nice” versus truly respecting differences and the other person’s autonomy. You don’t want to inauthentically “play nice.” You would like to trust that you can express yourself authentically and honestly, while truly respecting boundaries and maintaining self-responsibility.
Or, perhaps you recognize that you take on the other person’s emotions. You find yourself compelled to try to make them feel better. Or you find that you can’t maintain your good mood when they come home in a bad mood.
If any of this rings true, you will benefit from greater clarity and practice with healthy differentiation.
What is it all about?
When you have a strong sense of healthy differentiation, you can access a new sense of both autonomy and intimacy in your relationships. When you are not afraid of losing yourself in or being controlled by another, you can allow yourself to feel deeply connected and affected, while standing strong in your own sense of self.
With healthy differentiation, your relationships transform from something you are beholden to into something that supports you in new adventures of discovery and learning in the world.
There are many ways to cultivate a sense of healthy differentiation. One important way is being able to stand clearly in the values that guide your life. When you are grounded in your values, you can make effective decisions for yourself and engage in effective collaboration with others. Healthy differentiation also involves learning to tolerate disharmony, embrace differences, self-soothe, offer compassion, and set boundaries.
At the most basic level, to differentiate, means deciding what you identify with, what you call “me.” Differentiation could also be described as being who you are in the presence of who they are. If you are someone who thinks you are more connected to yourself and happier when you are not in a significant relationship, you may have developed your individuality, but likely have difficulty with differentiation.
From the process-oriented framework of MCD, identity is something that is fluid and directed by universal needs and what most deeply serves life. From this perspective, an identity phrase could be something like this: “I am an ever-changing flow of dynamic aliveness.” Identity phrases that include active verbs align with this process orientation. For example, “I am someone who is dedicated to compassion,” rather than, “I am compassionate.”
From a process orientation, differentiation is an active, ongoing process of connecting to and honoring your own experience and sharing that experience when doing so will support collaboration to meet needs. Specifically you are able to identify your needs and preferences in any given situation and speak up for them when necessary. You regularly and explicitly clarify boundaries. You are able to manage the reactivity and discomfort that comes from either risking greater intimacy or potential separation. This last point shows up, perhaps, most often in intimate relationships.
How it Works
For each class we will begin with five minutes of guided meditation. I will present a particular concept and skill. Then you will practice the skill in a short structured exercise. You will hear questions and comments from previous participants both clarifying the material and debriefing exercises.
You will follow along with the video (60-90 minutes) and your handout. Some exercises you can do on your own and some are best done with another person.
As you take the course you can ask questions via email: email@example.com
While you are taking the course, you can also book a discounted session with an MCD Companion for one-on-one live support.
Thank you so much for your participation and dedicating your time and energy to this important work. We look forward to connecting.
About Mindful Compassionate Dialogue
Mindful Compassionate Dialogue (MCD) naturally supports you in creating the relationships you want by integrating the wisdom and skills of three powerful modalities: Hakomi, Nonviolent Communication (NVC), and mindfulness.
Each modality contributes something unique to the process. Hakomi offers clarity about reactivity and healing. NVC provides a method for achieving self-responsibility, skillful communication, and agency. And mindfulness adds the stable attention and clear focus needed to continuously refine your understanding and skills.
MCD is a system meant to provide access to agency, compassion, mindfulness, and wisdom. Personal transformation is achieved through practice with the12 Relationship Competencies and Nine Foundations, which arise from a central, life-serving intention.
Welcome! Download and Print this Handout for the Course
Getting the Most Out of Your Pre-Recorded Course
Healthy Differentiation: Mindful Compassionate Dialogue Relationship Competency 12