Friday, April 19, 2013

Give Them A Break

From April 11, 2013:

Give Them a Break

I've often said that if I treated other people the way I treat myself sometimes I wouldn't have any friends. Most of us would readily, though not proudly, admit just how much we beat ourselves up through negative self-talk. The "I'm so stupid" comments we say or think might seem meaningless, but over the long haul it does affect us. Imagine if we talked to others the same way we talked to ourselves.

So while being kinder to ourselves should be on the top of our "To Do" lists, there are others who could benefit from a gentler approach as well. They would be our spouses, partners, family members, close friends or co-workers - the people with whom we are in contact the most.

Familiarity can breed more than contempt.  It can foster judgments and assumptions that may or may not be valid. It may be true that our partner's actions are predictable, but trusting that assumption could cause us to miss out on opportunities for a deeper understanding of the person.

In The Creative Process and the Individual, Thomas Troward wrote, "Relying on the maxim that Principle is not bound by Precedent we should not limit our expectations of the future." Just because someone has always reacted in a particular way doesn't mean it has to continue. It may. But it just as well may not. One surefire way to guaranty the same outcome occurs is to set it up that way in our own mind and accompany those thoughts with snarky comments in our out loud voices. I don't recommend that tactic.

Being open to another person giving up a habit or expressing themselves differently doesn't mean we are trying to change them. But assuming they will continue down the same path they have in the past will re-enforce behavior that annoys us, that we simply don't like, or encourage the continuance of a habit or practice that could be life-threatening. It's like trying to teach a pig to sing. It doesn't work and it annoys the pig.

The trick is to let go of our assumptions without any expectation of the result. In other words, if we release our judgmental expectations and the person still behaves badly, we accept the situation and move on. We don't say "I just knew it," we simply accept it. Peace of mind, however, comes from knowing that acceptance does not mean approval.

That's all I have on these thoughts for now. It probably seems a bit unfinished compared to my other posts. There's a reason for that:  It IS unfinished. Take the thoughts into your own consciousness and find your own conclusion. I'd love to hear what you come up with!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

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