January 25

30-Days of Silence Day 9

Boy, the days are flying by!

I’m thinking about the insightful quote of Abraham Lincoln’s, “I do not like that man. I must get to know him better.”

When we fall out of love with our mate or a family member, or fall out of like with a friend or a colleague, is it that after knowing them, we decide that they just don’t cut the mustard anymore?  I’m sure there are legitimate cases of this, where in essence,  we grow apart.

This said…

Here’s what I’m contemplating, I wonder how often it’s the case that we get hurt by someone, and in an effort to protect oneself or punish the the “perpetrator”, we stop getting to know the the person, stop discovering them, stop looking “over there”, and so the relationship becomes stunted.

When we get hurt by someone we care for, and we don’t talk about it, the hurt festers like an untended open wound.  Yes?  If there’s another incident, the wound gets reopened.  Eventually it feels like just about everything the person does hurts…and we have all kinds of evidence to prove that the person is hurtful and/or uncaring.  But who knows what could have occurred if both had had the courage to talk it out from the beginning.

If you care for someone, and pain is occurring, it seems to me that that’s when those who are really dedicated get in and do the work.

I was once in a relationship with a man, and about ten months into it, I found out something about him that was really (really) hard to deal with. I knew something was off, and had broken things off with him a couple times within the ten months.  But each time we split, he came back and things got better.  And things had gotten much better.  Well when the real issue finally came to light, I broke things off with him “for good”.

To make a very long story more bite-sized, because I loved him, I realized that I could either stay apart from him, lick my wounds, and probably be embittered by what happened, or try something else.  It occurred to me that I didn’t know him completely.  Now granted it was because he didn’t reveal himself to me, but the fact remained.  There was a part of him that was a good and deep man, and I knew that part and loved it.  There was a part of him I didn’t know and wasn’t sure I could love.  And there was a part of him I knew and didn’t love.  I understood this part, I had empathy for it, but I didn’t love it.

So what I chose to do was put myself back into the relationship (after much consideration and conversation) to 1) Heal the infraction that had occurred so that we could both be free, and 2) Get to know all of him to see if it was possible create a better relationship.

We ended up staying together for several years. During that time, I did “get to know him better”.  Though eventually it became clear that there were  insurmountable differences between us and we parted ways.  I was in fact able to heal my heart easier than if I had been left to do all the heavy lifting on my own.  And both of us definitely ended up in better shape and at more peace.

Not an obvious segue, but it still fits…

Recently I had a discussion with someone about feeling “judged” by them, and how that does the opposite of creating an environment of emotional safety in which to communicate more easily.  The person responded by insisted that “we all judge”.  Although it wasn’t exactly a valid justification, I resonated with her.  I certainly notice myself judging from time to time.

Not that I’m above anyone, because I know I’m not, but I will say that part of my daily practice is to notice when and about what I judge people, and then do my best to disengage from it — turn it around to see a different and more generous point of view.  (I started this practice about some time ago.)  I find the most peace (inner and outward) when I free myself from judgement — when I practice empathy and do my best to see another’s side of things.  I actually really dig it when I can do it.

This got me thinking about me being out “in the world” doing my work.
Someone is inevitably going to have an issue with me, or what I say, or what I do, or that I’m wrong, or what I look like, or how I eat potatoes. Lol!  I trust myself, my intentions, and my dedication to my personal development.  I know who I am, so I’m not worried there.  But there’s a part of me that does care about what people think, or that they approve, or that they like me.  Of course I have no control over any of this, but it is fodder for the aspect of me that is still growing in confidence, and so a bit tender.

I went into one of my writing meditations with this question, and here’s an excerpt of what I got:

Here are three things that will help you overcome your propensity to care too much about what others think and feel about you.

1) The first is to understand that you have no control of what anyone thinks of you…ever. The most you can do is be truthful and true to yourself. People will form their opinions (judgements) about you. Realize that their opinions are derived from what “they” see, and how it is processed through their elaborate personality matrix — their needs, their preferences, their prejudices, their resentments, their unfulfilled needs, their longings, their pain, etc. etc. etc. 

If you can look with us, you will see that an opinion is formed through much information coming from inside and outside resources, combined with pressure. So no opinion is pure. Or rather no opinion is derived from a pure place. When you understand this, you will understand that all opinion, yours and others, is purely opinion and often conjecture, and therefore to be taken with a grain of salt. 

2) …Does judgement serve you in terms of getting what you want? Or does it serve to create fissures between you and others. A certain amount of judgement is useful to ascertain what is appropriate for you, we would more appropriately call this discernment. Discernment is often confused with judgement. The difference, of course, comes from one’s intention.  Is the intention to create an environment that is constructive and expansive? Or is the intention to create an environment of exclusion and the illusion of superiority.  Understanding these differences with help you to unravel the emotional response and turmoil you have around being judged and judging. 

3) …All beings are equal. This is not to say that there aren’t some who have more to learn than others. But you will find that everywhere. There is always more to learn. Always more to see. Always more to develop, until you are done manifesting on the earth plane.  So you see, coming back to you and your intention, desire and volition, if your intention is to love and to seek truth, this [working with the fear of being judged] is merely a step towards greater and greater understanding. It is not a large obstacle, unless you see it as such.

Mmmmm…deep breath…