Zimmerman: What Happens When Self-Contact and Self-Management Are Lacking

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Two people meet – one of them is unable to manage his own impulses.

Caught up in his own unboundedness, he does not stop himself, and his grandiosity unfolds into an enactment that can not be taken back.

A wise person once told me that if one had to choose, it’s far better to be the victim of another’s injustice than to be the perpetrator.

Even though anyone who has lost a loved one unjustly knows that inconsolable pain, even though each of us who has experienced the victim side can choose to deeply ask, without self-punishment, “is there something I could have done differently,” the truth is that perpetrators have to live with what they’ve done.

So George Zimmerman will live for the rest of his life with the fact that when it mattered the most, he was incapable of self-contact, nor had he developed self-management.

Self-contact gives birth to empathy. With empathy, we step outside our own point of view and walk in the shoes of others. Self-management plants the seeds for maturity. This ability gives us the capacity to wait, to delay gratification, to act in ways that are far more likely to lead to satisfaction.

Together, they form a conversation of containment, rather than the chaos he chose to instigate by refusing to follow the boundaries made by those with greater expertise. Together, they say, “Oh, what is this situation, I recognize that I’m afraid and this affects my judgment. I do not have to handle this alone and I do not have to deal with this right now. I will listen and wait for support.”

Trayvon Martin’s parents encourage us in more promising directions, to have faith in the universal life force that holds us all, and yet to also take appropriate action, in the words of their attorney, to “make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else’s child.”

Although most of us do not create Zimmerman’s kind of destruction, don’t we all have something of him inside us, as well as something of Trayvon Martin? This could be a time for us to reflect on our own missed opportunities – the times we acted out of fear or panic or anger or some other flooding, and harmed ourselves and others; the times we were powerless to stop someone from actions that threatened us both.

As I consider this, I am emboldened to continue growing my own capacity for self-contact, and as best as I can in each day to manage myself in a way that is life-affirming.

If you choose to respond, please honor this intention.


write by JUAN MONTERROZA

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