You Are Not Your Behavior (and neither is he/she)

I don’t remember where I first heard that, but when I did it started a powerful process of forgiveness and understanding that is still ongoing. At a certain point, when we are ready, we can finally see that the things we did that got us scolded, corrected, that bent others out of shape was not who we were and we ultimately were not being scolded, just our behavior, but neither us or the scolder could likely see that at the time. We can start looking objectively and releasing ourselves to the world from behind our common and habitual behaviors.

Our behavior so often meets others at their behavior. But because we run our lives without this distinction between our behavior and ourselves, we build narrow relationships, whole systems of punishment and ideas of identity that balance on this faulty evaluation.

People become related to and labeled as drug addicts, womanizers, criminals, self-centered, lazy, etc.. The person becomes synonymous with our mental or cognitive illnesses or issues as well. We are not very good at seeing the person behind the behavior, because we don’t want that behavior present in our lives, it makes us uncomfortable or threatens us. The best way to keep it out is to slap the label on and then fight the behavior or avoid it altogether. It’s also the best way to perpetuate the behavior, because that person’s sense of disconnection from others grows. For all of us who got the idea stuck in our heads that we were bad kids, do you remember how that label affected you? How it still might?

We defend our behavior as ourselves. Our parents did when we built up the umbrage to question them on their ways. Do you remember what it was like when you were in full swing of being critical of your parents? How right you were, how uncomfortable it was to see them keep doing or saying that thing? It may still drive you bananas. Their behavior was not them either. More often than not, their love for you met their fear for your safety and well being and that is just rarely a pretty place to come from and so largely misunderstood. The fear comes through most of all and we are impacted on a visceral level. We are either seduced or repulsed by each other’s fear. You have long-standing issues with them or other people in your life, but are you any more willing to disengage from your own behaviors and look objectively at whether they really work for you, your commitments and your relationships?

It’s a rare person who is willing to have their behavior questioned, rarer still to find someone willing to question their own without it being part of some old self-flagellation ritual (the bad kid). No one is really up for looking when it hits a place where the hurt that birthed these behaviors was so bad, so clear to the person either consciously or unconsciously (the hurt and the automatic behavior coming up without us even noticing it). The reaction, defending will always show up loudly and clearly. It takes powerful practice to keep going after self-defense kicks in and just look, without stopping from feeling made wrong or dominated.

See your heart open when you notice your pull to judge someone and you just allow that to pass and try to get present to the person. We’re judging all the time. You can try this on line for coffee, riding the subway, sitting down for a meeting, looking at photos of people you’ve heard of on magazines or the web, when your caller ID pops up and you know who’s calling. All of their behaviors that helped you form this judgment, all of the ways it worked or didn’t work with you and your reactions has us staying at this level of engagement with others, with ourselves. It scuttles the possibility of freedom from behaviors that reinforce pain, fear, disconnection, lack of intimacy, acts of violence. It keeps us chained to fear, to avoiding discomfort and to self-defense.

The stress benefits alone from not getting caught up in judgments and reactions is worth it. Try it and get back to me. It takes practice.

From love,
Gregg

Acclimation – A Powerhouse Relationship Skill

ford-marshburn-hadfield-google-hangoutOne of our greatest assets as human beings is our ability to acclimate. I was thinking about this and looked up an article about what it’s like to acclimate to gravity after months in space. Apparently, it’s no walk in the park.

Trusting your power to acclimate can make life drastically different. The thing is that when we’re talking about our lives and relationships, we need to be on purpose about using the power of acclimation.

Acclimating to feelings is a great place to start. Feelings unconsciously have us make decisions that may not serve us. If only we could acclimate to the feeling, we might take more decisive action towards our goals and interests.

I encourage you to practice acclimation on purpose. Look at an area of life where you could be more powerful, like asserting your leadership. If you understand that you will be acclimating to speaking up, for instance, over the next month, you can speak up as a practice and see how you are doing at making this a more normal part of your workday. As you acclimate, more of your power will come through and your fear will lessen.

You can do this with so many parts of life. Codependents who are looking for a change need to acclimate to not helping in ways that hurt them. If we want to wean ourselves from technology’s hold (or any addiction), we need to practice acclimation. Changing eating habits requires acclimation. All behaviors that we exhibit that we want to let go of, we need to acclimate to life without doing that thing (like cutting people off, half-listening, listening for forming your rebuttal, always voicing the most alarming possibility, pushing away from the unknown, etc.). When you remember that you have this power and practice it, you can broaden your horizons vastly.

Part of acclimation can include getting support. If you let people know what you are working on, they can hear you as a student and help you with feedback as you move from fear to comfort.

http://www.space.com/21290-space-station-astronauts-nasa-hangout.html

Men Are Obsolete. So What?

Hanna Rosin is making a name for herself by being the one to trumpet “The End of Men”. She’s telling anyone who will listen something we already know, something that doesn’t get us anywhere.

What I’m interested in and what I talk to men and women about is what now? What incredible opportunities does the end of outdated stereotypes, expectations and needs (to provide, protect, to act aggressive, to dominate) create for both men and women and the world.

I’m more interested in the Evolution of Men and how great that can be for women as partners, as colleagues, for all of us and how we can take best advantage of everyone’s potential to contribute. How about you?

http://ideas.time.com/2014/01/02/men-are-obsolete/