The Invitation Technique: How We Let Others Offend Us

The Invitation Technique: How We Let Others Offend Us

In the psychological field, the goal is for the patient to take the reins of his life and not let himself be overwhelmed by the emotions or external situations that he often faces. The idea is to foster the unconditional acceptance of oneself, of others and of life in general, so that the events and things that happen have the right influence, neither too much nor too little.

We don’t want conformist people. We like passionate people, with a desire to live to the fullest, who have goals, desires and hopes to achieve. This does not exclude being emotionally mature, knowing how to regulate one’s emotions, controlling one’s way of interpreting and perceiving the world, accepting defeat, failure or criticism as a normal aspect of life.

How many times have we been angry because someone said or did something “unfair” to us? How many times have we blamed others for our feelings? We all did it and we all got it wrong. Emotions are ours alone and when we are in a bad mood it is because we decide.

It is not others who offend us, we offend ourselves

Certainly no one likes to be pointed out to a flaw, an error or in general to be criticized. People prefer praise because they feel accepted and this approval is a source of great pleasure (it stimulates the brain reward circuit, so much so that the search for recognition can be addictive). Conversely, criticism or rejection can generate feelings of anxiety, depression, or even anger.

When we get a negative comment, the first thing we do is get defensive, try to justify ourselves, give explanations, or respond with resentful criticism. Why do we do this? Because we are offended, not by what the other person has said, but because we, through our inner dialogue, tell ourselves that the thought of that person is the only possible truth. We deny it to her, but within ourselves we confirm it.

We say that we “buy” the criticisms of the other, we believe in them, we make them our own and integrate them with our principles, letting them modify our schemes. We decide that all this happens and this decision leads us to be treated like puppets, influenced by the opinion of others.

Doesn’t it seem strange to you that the same thing doesn’t happen with positive comments or praise? We do not accept praise, good wishes or positive judgment in the same way. If, however, they tell us something negative, then we make it ours.

The invitation technique, do you agree?

The invitation technique is used during therapy to make the patient understand what we have said so far. Buddha said “if someone wants to give me a horse and I don’t accept it, what will become of the horse?”. It continues to belong to the person who wanted to give it as a gift. The same goes for criticism.

If there are people who want to waste their energy on us in a negative way, that’s their problem. Ours is to accept or reject their insults or offenses. If we do this, the responsibility is ours and it is useless to pretend to change the opinion of the other because he probably will not and then we will be wasting energy.

With the invitation technique, the therapist invites the patient to experience a concrete situation. For example, someone who feels like a failure, a bad person, physically ugly, etc., resorts to this technique when they confide in the therapist that they always receive negative comments or that there are people who make them feel this way.

The therapist offers him an envelope, by way of an invitation, where it says: “I, your / or (mom, sister, colleague, partner …) I invite you to feel (useless, guilty, despised, ugly, fat … ). Do you accept the invitation? ” The patient at this point must write that he does not accept to feel this way because he does not think that it defines his person, but that he understands the point of view of the other.

This acceptance frees us of the burden of wanting to please everyone, something we will never be able to do completely. The invitation technique should be practiced mentally as needed, whenever someone gives us a negative judgment or comment. Thus, with practice, we will be able to take less and less offense and also to use some criticism in our favor.

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