Dear Why Team member,
I hope you enjoyed your long weekend taking a break from your labor while recognizing the benefits of labor.
We humans can withstand and even embrace a great deal of difficulty in pursuit of our goals, but can come to under appreciate the importance of recovery and restoration. No doubt during the pandemic many have experienced the physical and mental benefits of shutting down in a way they never experienced before. A recent statistic revealed that over 40% of Americans are considering career changes. You could say that many have experienced a truth of no return; no ability to go back to what was previously identified as normal.
So, is this a good thing?
Carl Yung said we come to consciousness through pain.
Hardly a day goes by now that I don’t think about this wisdom.
Who wants to live unconsciously?
While no one l know ever actively asks for character building experiences, isn’t it from adversity that we come to know ourselves in ways only the adversity could reveal? Nietzsche said that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Have you not grown through YOUR challenges? Sure, it’s smart to learn from trials others have experienced and we don’t have to stick our hand in the fire to know the fire burns but, it’s our own perseverance to overcome bumps in the road that truly shapes us. I know there is so much today in which to contend – but, as you’ll hear next week, change the “oh bother” to “no-bother” and maybe it will be more helpful to observe how all is waking us up to new insights about ourself.
Notice whether you are responding or reacting. Reaction is largely from our habitual unconscious state of mind; responding requires higher consciousness, awareness and is less defensive.
The human ego thrives on finding people it can judge as wrong to strengthen its self-righteous identity; even though we were not born with judgement, judgement is born from living.
So how much of our behavior is born from our need to find others wrong in order for us to feel more right? Isn’t it true that a strong self confidence in one’s own views would lead to less reactivity? It is interesting to observe those who need others to believe as they do to feel okay with what they themselves believe.
The birth of my interest in human behavior likely came out of my parents’ divorce when I was eleven years old. The question I have had ever since has been,
“Why do people do what they do?”.
This “why” question alone has brought me many insights over the years. In recent years, however, I noticed a shift, one I would like to chalk up to maturity - a more powerful “why” question has emerged:
“Why do I do what I do?”
Asking such, should not make one feel self-centered in a negative way. Many times, our actions influence why others do what they do, hence, rather than pointing our finger at them and questioning their actions, let’s look at the fingers pointing at us and analyze our reasons for our behavior.
There is no doubt that we humans can be emotionally triggered by other humans. The question is, what to do about it? If we depend on others not to trigger us, we become co-dependent: dependent on an external state to achieve an internal state. This seems to be the path many have chosen to prepare the road for the child, not the child for the road. And while we can debate the “why’s” of this, the bigger question and likely the more empowering question is:
How am I showing up and why?
Am I emotionally reacting or intellectually responding?
Engaging our intellect may at times seem cold, but when emotions are hot, maybe some cooling is in order.
How may we best prepare ourselves for the road with less dependency on the road being prepared for us?
By owning more our own triggers and using them to learn more about ourselves. As I have said to my kids for years: “Who is responsible for your behavior?” And as much as they want to point a finger, deep down they know the importance of owning their choices if they are ever to grow and mature into full independent beneficial members of society.
This is a fairly hot topic and an opportunity for us to notice how we respond to it - or react to it.
Which is you?
Notice how reaction tends to shut down discussion while responding fuels discussion and hopefully a deeper understanding.
Learning how to disagree on ideas while still seeing the human being behind the ideas may be one of our greatest callings today.
This week, pulling from Gandhi’s wisdom, let us labor more on how we may birth more of what we want to see in the world- reacting less and responding more.
Make it a great week!