‘just my thoughts man – right or wrong…just what I was feeling at the time’ – Jay Z
We cannot really judge one another, or blame one another for our thoughts and opinions. It is honestly best to forgive someone for ideas you disagree with. Best to appreciate their perspective. Taking this approach broadens your own perspective, and allows you to employ a broader scope…a wider lens.
I once heard a line related to this, and it’s surfaced often when thinking about others…and our differences. It basically says that ‘you would do exactly what any other person does…behave in the same exact manner…had you been born to their parents, in the place they were raised, and brought up the same way’. I’m not sure where I heard this. Maybe it just came to me. Actually, I’ll just go ahead and claim it as mine right now! However simple it may be, it has provided me with a moral integrity in which I believe we’re all on the same level playing field.
Here is a healthy practice for you to try: think of a child living in a very different situation and place than what you have…preferably a child in a different culture, different socio-economic situation…something almost ‘opposite’ of you. Then consider the fact that this child could have been you! What if you were born there? Had to walk in those shoes? In that climate? This consideration has helped me develop a better understanding of others, and has led to less judgement. It’s allowed me to listen more effectively. It’s let me submit to others, and forgive, and appreciate.
This can sound like a weak position. Always submitting to others, and forgiving when people hurt me, or bring adversity to my life? Won’t that just lead to people steam rolling over me and using me as a doormat? No. Believe it or not, giving up control and judgement has given me a stronger sense of who I am. Instead of wasting so much energy on trying to control others, and situations, to no avail…I maintain a positive mindset, and often frame a response in my mind with the phrase ‘Is that so?’ This provides a position where almost nothing can knock me off course, regardless of the strength of the tides. I acknowledge the potential storm. I maintain the secure and reliable mast, and calmly set the main sail. Then I begin wayfinding through the tempest. I feel like Maui…with Moana at my side!
I’ve already blogged some about being aware of our own thoughts, and the benefits of thinking positive. Here is a post related to that. This awareness will help to clean up your rubble if you have some, and strengthen your position and security without the need of a wall. What’s the best way to find that awareness? Start meditating. And start being mindful of your thoughts and reactions to different subjects. It takes practice like anything else. But with a little training, you’ll find yourself on a journey filled with happiness and contentment. Your shoulder may soften with the chip removed, allowing others a better landing to lean on.
One final thought that I think of often is ‘how do i make other people feel?’ At the end of our short time in this place, this question may be central to how successful our time was actually invested. This is of course difficult to know, as we can’t totally understand how others feel about us. And it’s less about what others ‘think’ of us…more about the kindness, support, generosity, and acceptance that we provide…hopefully leading to a comfort and security felt by the people around us. I believe a good, healthy self check-in is to ask yourself ‘how am I making other people feel?’
You feel me?
Music: Here is an oldie but a goodie from The Lumineers. The band leader’s wife told him he was like the Dead Sea…that she’ll never sink when he’s with her…and he wrote a song including this sentiment. How romantic.