7 Ways to Practice Non Engagement

by Liz Jansen 

As a rider, you know there’s no point engaging in a confrontation with another vehicle on the road. You’re going to lose. The same is true in life. Allow your self to engage in another’s drama or battles, and you lose.

To practice non-engagement is to deliberately choose not to take place in conflict. Conflict arises out of fear and is a response to protecting our Self. Our true adversary in life is our wounded self, not another person. Others are there to teach us the lessons we need to learn to move forward on our path.

non engagementRather than getting drawn into a protracted fight and dumping your energy down a black hole, practice non-engagement and redirect it towards something constructive.

  1. Focus on what’s important. Do things really need to be done the way you’ve always done them? Really? Take the high road and consider what’s important. If necessary, negotiate on those things.
  1. Give up the need to be right. You may, with absolute certainty, have the right of way in an intersection. Yet if a car decides to turn pull out in front of you, it’s ludicrous to stand your ground and move forward. When engaging with others at home or work, look for the common ground and ways to connect, rather than having to prove yourself right.
  1. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. The next time you’re tempted to engage in a confrontation, take a deep breath and ground yourself. Picture yourself in the other person’s shoes and look at the situation from his eyes. Try to understand where he’s coming from, then work on solving the problem and creating a win-win solution
  1. Be uncompromising. While you may have to be flexible and negotiate, be completely uncompromising on matters of integrity and the things you believe in. This means being crystal clear on your values and not getting mired down in uncertainty.
  1. Mind your thoughts. Listening to the tape that tells you you’re unappreciated and misunderstood, will lead you to subconsciously look for situations that prove this to be right. Rather than perpetuating a victim mentality, don’t take things personally. You don’t know the intentions behind another’s behavior. Focus instead on resolving the conflict within yourself.
  1. Remain in control. You control your choices. Don’t put yourself in a position where you’re backed into a corner and have no choice. Don’t back someone else into that same corner.
  1. Look in the mirror. Qualities you admire in others are qualities you possess. Qualities in others that push your buttons are also found in you. Just as you must love yourself first before you can love another, so too must you solve the conflict within yourself rather than getting drawn into someone else’s drama.

The next time you’re tempted to engage in dysfunctional conflict, choose instead to practice non engagement. Look for the lesson in the situation. Step beyond fear and bring love and beauty to every encounter.


In The Four Insights, Dr. Alberto Villoldo draws from indigenous cultures to identify the practices that allow us to change our perception of the events that happen to us, remove the association with cause and effect and learn to live in harmony with our world. One of these is the practice of non engagement.

Reprinted from December 2013


photo credit: ginnerobot via photopin cc

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Author, writer, and student Liz Jansen combines her artistic mediums to create stories that inspire readers to embark on their own journey of self-discovery.