Posted by: silverback | 2015/01/05

evolve.

I’m not the same person I was yesterday. None of us are. I’d like to promote a bold idea: let’s let each other evolve. Let’s encourage it, celebrate it, believe enough in the potential of each other to leave the past behind us.

We all know difficult people. We all have relationships with a huge range of personalities. Some we judge instantly, others we judge based on our experiences over time. Some people we love, others we hate. Oftentimes, those feelings around a particular person are based on something that doesn’t exist any more. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that almost ALL of our daily relationships with whomever – boss, co-workers, friends, lovers, spouses – are based not on who that person is in the present moment, but in who we’ve come to imagine them to be.

judge

As I said, I’m NOT the same person I was yesterday, last month, last year. I make mistakes daily. I learn from those mistakes and adjust my behavior, my thought processes around my actions. I learn new things daily. If you tell me that something I do bothers you, my general response is to take that into consideration in our interactions from that moment on. I seek to empathize with you, and I change for the improvement of our relationship, so long as it’s reasonable to me that my actions could be causing you discomfort. So long as easing your discomfort isn’t directly causing me harm. It’s not in my nature to dismiss your feelings, because I have them too.

So many of our actions are unconscious – we don’t even know we’re doing it. Many of our learned behaviors are distilled from fears and prejudices that were instilled in us before we were even old enough to understand and discern. We just accepted, adopted, and believed those things from that point on. Many years later, we meet with enough contradicting evidence to begin parsing through those old belief systems and discarding the ones that no longer serve us, if we’re lucky and/or aware enough. But so often, we lapse and relapse again and again, until the new thoughts are powerful enough to supplant the old systems. When I judge you based on your unconscious speech and actions, then I’m making judgments against a person who’s not really you. Wouldn’t you rather have the opportunity to be understood as you actually are? The person you believe yourself to be?

By the same token, I’d like to be more aware of those things I say and do unconsciously. You owe it to our relationship to be honest with me, to communicate your needs. I’d like for each of us to agree to extend the benefit of doubt. Generously. Charitably. Radically. Speak to me with love. Ask me what I mean. Don’t make assumptions about who I am based on the outside of me. Try to be willing to forgive me yesterday, and extend to me this day.

I’d like to reset daily. Pretend you’ve never met me. Take a moment each day to view your relationships anew, and make the decision to allow the people in your life a fresh start, as if yesterday never happened.

There’s also this idea that we manifest our own realities. If I’m expecting you to behave in a certain way, to say and do certain things based on the person I’ve judged you to be, then I’m not really giving you a chance to be who you are – I’m instead either gratified or disappointed, in a self-righteous way, by the way you’ve responded to my expectations. Once you’ve done what I expected, even if it’s not what I want you to do, then I get to maintain my certainty about my perception of you. If you happen to surprise me, I often chalk it up as a fluke, because it’s difficult to release others from our preconceived notions.

I believe change is the only constant. There’s always the underlying debate about whether or not people can actually change. I think we all change. Some of us have radical shifts based on a eureka moment, while others of us simply mellow with age. Sometimes we slip back into a person we once were, when surrounded by a certain group of people, such as our families or high school friends. Other times, we relate to another with such a certainty that we force him or her into the box we believe they should be in. When one person in the relationship is unyielding in this way, it makes it very difficult for the person actively trying to make a change. We talk of this in terms of “pressing buttons,” or “triggering.” If I’m trying to amend my relationship with you, but your demeanor remains constant towards me – if there’s no avenue for me to relate to you in a different way, then we’ll remain trapped in the same ruts we’ve always trodden.

I resolve today to live in the present. I resolve to give radical benefit of doubt to all the people in my life, to speak impeccably, and to suspend my assumptions about who I believe them to be.

Grant me the same, and watch me evolve.

 

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