SAYINGS RELATED TO THREE WORDS TO EXPLORE
If you continuously compete with others,
You become bitter, but if you continuously
Compete with yourself, you become better.
Your mind is your greatest friend
If you master it,
But your mind is your greatest enemy
If it masters you.
The master is seated in the heart, your obedient servant is in your head.
FIRST WORD - COMPETITION/COMPARING
EITHER/OR is played out in (Word 1. competition/comparing) in communication by those who have an agenda to win some advantage or other over others.
The other(s) are seen by the competitor as the losers or in some way ‘less than’. It’s a cheapskate way of elevating the self that
doesn’t stand up to a truth test. To take from another does not in reality make you a winner. This is done by making comparisons that are not
in realty comparable. Each persons life is unique, each moment subtly different, resources and situation, also different. In short you have to
ignore much of the reality in the bigger picture to make these favourable to ‘the self ‘ comparisons. Such a game requires manipulation of the truth, maybe the moving of boundaries, perspective and context to make it appear true. There are no winners in the competition and only one competitor, the other didn’t agree to the game. Competition has a place and fits when in an upfront agreement when all parties know it’s a game. Comparing fits best with things at a visual level, ie identifying a spoon from a fork for the functional purpose of consuming soup.
It also fits when choosing what you want for yourself. This unfavourable way of winning may be used to cover the comparers misdemeanours . During our growing years we learn from those around us, and very likely we have all tried a trick or two, our culture is steeped in blame and games. I sense an upsurge in the desire for truth and fairness. THE SECOND WORD is to follow.
SECOND WORD - EXPECTATION
We have this tendency to use past experience of others and to fix expectation on them, that they will behave/meet those expectations
now and in the future. This may be driven by our need to know, to predict a meeting/event/outcome. Fear often underlies the need for predictability, of which there are many. Fear our needs won’t be met, fear of not being in control, fear of not being authentic, not being straight or fair in how we meet our needs. Interestingly, our reaction is often disappointment and anger towards the other, harsh judgement and disgust in the ‘others’ inability to satisfy our expectations. These expectations are not always shared with the other, sort of unspoken, the other becomes aware of their supposed failure when a sudden reaction occurs. Fixed beliefs (very generalised) don’t take into account the other persons very different and unique life, circumstances, varying resources in the bigger picture of an ever changing reality. Such a view is destined to disappointment since it depends on being able to control a much bigger field of reality, on playing destructive games that amount to twisting truths, controlling, judging and oppressing others to pull it off. This may succeed when the ‘other’ feels the threat of punishment,
in effect blackmailed. The ‘other’ may have to sacrifice their own responsibilities and needs to meet these expectations. Because we believe and invent rules to feel safe in our predictions to get our needs met, does not mean they work or stand true in reality. The safest place to be is in the here and now and see/weigh what is in front of you inside the bigger picture. We are not fixed entities, reality is not fixed, resources fluctuate. Questions need to be asked, intentions/agendas need to be transparent before we can assess something is possible to expect, don’t we just love to believe we can mind read, that’s another dangerous belief. The reality we may have to face is ‘we are often the cause of our own disappointments’, nothing lost if we learn from it and can pay our consequences. We are fortunate if that is possible.
THE THIRD WORD to follow soon.
THIRD WORD- ASSUMPTION
Assumption has a tendency to be driven by our own needs. Needs such as ‘getting’ someone to agree, say yes to doing what you want.
The chances of it working may be coming from your past experience of the person and/or your past experience of having power to control them. Underlying the above are your rules and beliefs (unspoken) ‘I always say yes and so you should’. Assumption may also be tied to expectation. Sometimes the intention in our assumptions may be to hurt another, put them down to elevate ourselves by manipulating or twisting what they have said, ‘so you think . . .’ - not at all what was said. Another example is to take things out of context to win a need to be right or make out the other is bad, in this we are now in a competition as well as imposing assumption. This is cheating to defend a fragile self.
The good news is that the culture and conditioning of our environment has given us these masks (false self). If we want to blame someone for this, we may have to go back a long way in history or just accept we have all played a part in perpetuating it. Now we know it’s false, we can change it. If we believe there is not a better, real, straight and true self, we will cling for dear life to the only one we have. That’s a sad life, struggling, defending and guarding what is not real for fear there is no real self. The truth/real self shall set you free to live as you were meant to, at peace, content, creative and loving.
When does assumption live authentically? When we can’t access the fullness of information and have to make a decision, when you ask a question to find out what another needs, for example for dinner and don’t get an answer. Declare openly, ‘I can’t get the information I need and will have to assume and hope it’s a good guess’. The second example is a game played by someone too lazy or controlling, lazy being often someone young or immature. Often abuse is played out using food, ie making it impossible for the other to get it right for them, wasting the others efforts and resources as a way of diminishing and weakening them (cruel controlling), food often thrown in the bin, not right, not good enough. Being openly honest, the choice is an assumption is authentic use of assumption, it’s not a guarantee it will satisfy those who demand or expect mind reading.
WATCH for these three words playing out in your communication, stop to check your intention, ask yourself ‘what am I wanting from this’?
If you don’t like the way you are trying to get the need met, change it, be first open with yourself, then you can be open with others. Fear not what you find, it got there by conditioning, it’s not the real you. It’s an indirect attempt to get needs met, no one encouraged openly asking.
I welcome feedback from anyone who has tested self/others, through awareness and reflection regarding how the above three words have played out in communication. Please share any feelings and effects you have experienced as a result by email to [email protected], your personal information will be kept confidential. Your views are important to understanding the effects these forms of communication have on peoples lives. Your generous sharing may influence and change the way we communicate and relate to each other to a more open, honest and caring way. I look forward to hearing from you.
We are going to need all our personal resources, and dig deep into our untapped potential to recover from the challenges we are facing.
Brexit and Covid19 have coincided, creating a tipping point. It seems both a wake up and shake up, calling us to see the bigger picture,
learn from our own experience and each other. We have been globally pooling resources and helping each other in a way never before.
EITHER/OR thinking separates us from each other, the truth and the bigger picture, it’s a con game that never wins in the long term.
Are we ready for a quantum leap in the way we perceive ourselves and others? Can we contemplate AND? All lives matter, at last the
world has come together to cry out for justice, honesty and fairness (this is what I mean by AND, not EITHER/OR). My hope is that the
money pot used to get us through Covid19 is the ARMS pot and that we can’t afford anymore wars, and I am sure we have felt enormous gratitude in those times of threat to our safety when our Forces have risked their lives to protect us. The Forces have played a great and honourable role during this pandemic. I do believe there are enough disasters to keep the Forces most honourably occupied, and do recognise and feel gratitude for keeping us safe from real threats. There has been a long history of continuous war at great cost to innocent lives, and the lives of soldiers, leaving many people with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Many have been left unsupported. This pandemic has also killed and traumatised people across the globe. My hope is that this has been a time of reassessment and realisation that all lives matter, that we need each other, and can co-creatively create a better world in the future.
I hope to write more about the above two kinds of thinking and the difference it can make to our resources and outcomes.
A long time has passed since I last posted something on my blog. We are in unprecedented times and challenged in so many ways in the face of the Coronavirus. Uncertainty, living in the unknown, often powerless to sometimes deal with the simple and basic needs of daily life. This must be the biggest wake up call for many of us who have enjoyed living in a war free country, not to mention the luxury of having the NHS and good sanitation conditions. Many families have suffered the loss of someone dear to them in a most unexpected and sudden way. Being cut off from seeing or being able to give comfort, not able to say goodbye is traumatic. The number of people lost, the number left behind and deeply affected by such loss is enormous. The ripple effect across the whole nation is mirrored across the globe. More than ever in our history the message is ‘we are in this together’, the planet Earth is our home, look after it, and each other, with love and respect for all life.
We cannot afford to be complacent or to ever forget how close we have come to devouring the hand that feeds. I hope we can come through this with renewed gratitude, and find a universal sense of purpose for the well being of all life and the planet that sustains us. That’s it, I have fallen off the orange box.
The news this morning, Anita Astly from a care home where people have died from Coronavirus, speaking of the sadness and devastation
for those who have lost someone. Anita pointed out, these people are not a statistic, they had played a great part in the lives of their families,
friends and communities, and had meaningful relationships with their caregivers. These caregivers are lowly paid, are giving their all to those they care for, the loss also weighs on them, they are in very difficult shoes to the end of life. For families, not being able to be a support or say goodbye must be an anxious void for both sides, unable to reach each other.
2014 - 2019
A couple of weeks ago it was announced on the news that serious attention needs to be paid to the effects of emotional abuse, especially on the young. I recognise the enduring and damaging effects, especially the pain caused by it. The loss of our capacity to engage with others, to feel alive, to have influence and be creative in life, to trust our own sense of situations are just a few of the possible losses. Given where we are on the road to emotional intelligence, turning round from the damaging stiff upper lip emotionally constipated(a client's view of it)place our culture has been in for some centuries,it is not going to be achieved by quick fix short courses. I am wondering how the government will approach this long ignored issue and imagine there will be many conflicting views regarding the blurry boundary between occasionally inappropriate and consistently abusive. Watch this space.
A week ago today the shocking news of Ann McGraths death at Corpus Christie College in Leeds was reported not only nationally, also on World News. This alerts us all to take very seriously the need for the development of emotional intelligence which informs choices, enables resilience and moral values. It is necessary to the development of positive relationships, self-esteem and confidence among other qualities that contribute to a healthy and satisfying life. The Government more recently rolled out free parenting classes and I wonder how many about to be parents/parents out there have chosen to take advantage of this opportunity. I believe we are living in a fast moving world where our children are exposed to many other influences beyond parents awareness or control. There are no doubt many accumulative factors that have contributed to young people committing acts of extreme violence. Old styles of discipline often operated on the principle of 'shame' will threaten enough to control behaviour. Sometimes that may be felt by the child as injustice especially when the child had no voice. Put humiliation and injustice together repeatedly then it is likely to damage the child/young persons core sense of being and bring a violent re-action. The chances of that being triggered by any small comment or facial expression are great and the danger of an innocent person/persons becoming the victim of accumulated wrath are great. We are slowly becoming a more open and self-aware culture and I do believe Emotional Intelligence and relationship skills would give future generations the awareness and tools to more fully reach their potential. The dilemma as I see it is that if the adults don't engage in the journey there is likely to be a clash of worlds.
I have believed for many years now that skills are of little use without self/other awareness. Education needs to bring this awareness to children starting at play school and by the time children go into their secondary stage of schooling they will be more fully alive at all levels to apply the skills education attempts to bring to them.
One essential skill absent in education today is communication in human relations. This is essential to every intervention they make and especially in building good relationships, being influential to change and making the most of resources available.
Without emotional intelligence we cannot process our feelings which enable us to find our way beyond a problem. The outcome is a lack of resilience and the capacity to face adversity.
Anger is largely helplessness, helpless to be heard, to be understood, to get our needs met, to defend ourselves from injustice or abuse. Anger can turn from a defence to revenge very quickly once a chronic pattern has set in and then it may proceed to attack as the norm. The pattern and its triggers needs to come into our awareness before we can apply ways of short circuiting it. Simply punishing or saying 'don't do that again' will contribute nothing to changing it and in most cases will generate more anger. This is not to say a person does not need to face natural consequences for their actions. Talking through what has happened will help to bring the bigger picture into view and help meaning and understanding of 'the game' that has played out. This enables self/other awareness, shows those concerned that a more direct and honest approach is more likely to get you heard and your needs met. Rule by fear is the misuse of power and not an honest way to get a result, and not setting a good example to young people. If we adults cheat we are not in a good place to gain respect or influence young people. Where do we go from here?
When are we going to stop sweeping up the mess and start laying the foundations for healthier lives in the future? It reminds me of the Mickey Mouse cartoon when he released a spell that set the water flowing, eternally sweeping it away not knowing how to stop the flow. I am sure this provides a lot of jobs sweeping up, time we turned the tap off. I do see that we are more politically pliable when less aware of ourselves and therefore of other's potential to control or manipulate us. However, it may be time to see the benefits of greater human potential and resources outweigh the benefits of keeping us in the dark. We seem to have hit a position where jobs providing services to mop up or attempt to control the damage are more in demand and in the least danger of redundancy than jobs that will sustain our growth for the future. I am seeing funds go to services that are extremely costly through the system for little benefit. This government has made an attempt to clean some of this waste up, however, may need to get real about laying more sturdy foundations for the young people of the future. That's it on the orange box for today.
The news over the past week has been about the government looking at emotional and psychological abuse becoming a criminal offence. No doubt this will be complex to implement and necessitates a considerable amount of new training for various agencies within and connected to the system. And then we have heard the shocking news around Rotherham council/Police and the Crime Commissioner about the sexual abuse/trafficking of children. This concerns the whole of Yorkshire and no doubt the rest of the country.
We keep hearing 'we are learning' but not what the learning is. There has been a lot of focus on what should happen to various people and agencies regarding their failure to respond/follow up complaints/alerts to abuse taking place which seems like a distraction from what is being done now. I would have liked to have heard what the Labour Party thinks should have happened and will implement in the future rather than making a show of dismissing the blot on their copy book as if that cleans it all under the carpet where it came from. We have a long way to go to fully understand how we have arrived in this dangerous and dysfunctional place let alone find our way beyond it, work at it we must.
As with the Jimmy Saville cases, we must not be afraid of people in powerful places or threats of loss of jobs etc. and act when the safety and well being of a child or vulnerable person is at stake.
I have been away for a couple of months catching up with people on the other side of the world. I sense the world is moving at great speed and in some ways merging in a greater common ground of shared values and understanding. This would seem a contrary view in the light of the number of recent terrorist attacks and other civil and border disputes going on in the world. This kind of violence does not seem different at the root than where I began this blog only perhaps in long history and perceived degree of injustice. As with an individual who has committed a serious act of violence, there are collective influences that contribute to the individual becoming violent. As with the many young people sexually abused in our country, there are not only those in the system involved in such abuse, there are also many colluders. We are collectively under great threat at the same time as playing a collective part in where we have arrived. Maybe we are on the tipping point, which way it turns depends on the outcome/agenda we seek. Revenge seems like an escalating vicious circle and often not in line with balanced justice. We hear on the news 'one side' lost 5 lives, the other bombed the hell out of a whole community. All those lives are as important but sometimes it looks like 'not so' and more about who has the bigger stick. Do we need to stand more solidly in our sense of fairness even when it means speaking against our own system,our own friends and family at times. I don't deny it takes courage.
The news over the past week regarding the many cover ups by the Metropolitan Police Dept. to hide the truth about paedophiles in prominent positions of public trust. I can't imagine the torture these children/young people have gone through along with betrayal upon betrayal, no protection, nowhere to feel safe. We are now hearing steps are being taken to provide a safe and independent source to disclose knowledge of such abuse. How will we make it safe for victims to report their abuse. The system seems riddled with corruption and moral depravation. We may think we have done our bit by reporting to the 'Right' authorities, however, all too often we get fobbed off with 'we will take it from here'. I think we now have to see evidence of action and appropriately kept in the loop to a safe outcome.
A year has past since my last posting, I guess I have been dumbstruck by the chaos in the world and wondering how the people whose lives have been torn apart are going to find safe ground to rebuild their lives. My work is one to one and small groups, a drip in the ocean of change. Collectively if each person makes a small difference a tipping point will come, hope for the future is sometimes all we have to motivate change for the better, let's not lose it. I am contracted to work for The Centre For Crisis Psychology supporting people who have experienced trauma, and in my experience I have found that those who receive appropriate and timely support come through stronger, more resilient to the challenges life throws and most important are confident in their inner sense of what they need/can do to effect positive change. Out of chaos often comes a new order or paradigm more fitting to now and the future. Inner/outer chaos can be extremely uncomfortable with feelings of loss of control, fear and uncertainty. Chaos happens when something new disrupts the old order we have rightly or wrongly felt safe and comfortable with. We have become accustomed to feeling safe in predictability, we like to make plans and 'know' what is to come. Funny thing is it gives a sense of order to the extent that we come to believe if the plan gets disrupted by something
we have no control/right to control or did not consider then 'it shouldn't have happened'. The dangerous place to be is anywhere but the present whilst moving in the world, we won't see it coming, too hooked into the tunnel vision of the plan. Imagine you are walking to work, thinking about the day ahead or pondering yesterday, you won't see what's around you, the car out of control about to mount the pavement.
Conversely, if you are in the moment, aware of your environment, you will have a wider angle lense and those vital seconds to act and save your life or another's. Being in the moment gives more choices than the plan. I see a plan as an attempt to speculate the future which may or may not happen and very often something better emerges on the way.
News today - A greater responsibility for those in Government Services regarding knife crime, Teachers, Nurses, Police and charity workers will be responsible for reporting knife crime/possession of/risk of knife crime. It will become a crime not to report knowledge of the risk or event involving knife crime. Does this suggest such knowledge has been withheld! This raises the question ‘which situations would be fear provoking or otherwise difficult to disclose’? I imagine knowing the person
Contemplating the changes we have had to make through the recession, in the challenge of globalisation and now Brexit.
These have not been times of plenty and pose a massive challenge for change for those generations who have known a world of endless material supplies, who have not experienced or learned how to cut their cloth according to their means as those of the post war generation.
A long time since my last blog, it seems like a long lull for us all in the slow process of negotiating Brexit. Uncertainty is not an easy position and yet it has the potential to take us to living in the here and now, to accept the reality of the moment and find choices from a real position, not dwell in where we wish it was. A lot of energy is wasted worrying about the future that is ever harder to predict. We tend to get stuck in
trying to come up with solutions to counter our fears of past experiences rather than deal with the present reality. As we have all no doubt found, something else entirely different happens and we are no more armed than if we never contemplated the future. The future is changed by each action in the moment, we have to be poised in the moment and take the journey step by step to reach a conclusion. Hooked into tunnel visioned goals will block the bigger picture out and then we fail to see better options/other avenues that the moment of changing reality shows us. The world is faster moving than ever before, we are in a far safer position being aware of now. Being seated in now with a quiet mind, being able to be poised and centred will allow us to hear both internal/external information, see the bigger picture and make well informed choices towards positive outcomes. Some persistence is required, not easy to begin with, however, not as difficult as climbing up hill all the time with a heavy load. The difficulty getting started is in letting go of the way we have operated (old patterns of thinking and behaving), in effect repeating what we have known to know something else new. Other ideas that get in the way of letting go are the need to know an outcome or answers before we will engage. That in a sense is predestination, which excludes all other possibilities and does not necessarily get the outcome we were aiming for. Certain beliefs such as ‘unless scientifically tested then it’s not to be trusted’, you could say scepticism. Science as we know it, is not yet capable of descerning all truths or possibilities, however, it does not stop amazing moments of discovery in the simple course of life. Not much new came out of repeating what we already know. Why not make use of all the instruments in the human orchestra. Personal, Relational, Team/Family Development is a service I offer through a co-creative approach.