Day 20: Do I Really Want to Control You?...on the 30-Day Journey to Enlightenment

Miss a day, or just joining: TABLE OF CONTENTS
“He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
Day 20 Activities:
1) Mantra meditation
2) Minimum 30 minutes of calorie burning
3) Write down everything you eat and sketch your Balance Chart
4) Continue to remain aware of your speech patterns
5) Cut Cords
6) Disconnect
7) Add to your toolkit: Practice compassion, by letting go of control

If only everyone thought and felt what we wanted them to! Wouldn't that make life easier? Well maybe easier, but not necessarily more fulfilling.

Here are some suggestions to prevent people from getting defensive when we are communicating our perspectives:

We cannot control anyone else's behavior. I'll repeat that because it's so convenient to forget.
We cannot control any other person's behavior. Really.

Even when it seems like someone else is acting irrationally or being inconsiderate, they are behaving from their reality and based on the feelings they are experiencing. As much as we may want and try to convince them "rationally" to understand our reality, they only have their own reality.

This is not to say we shouldn't share our realities and perspectives of how people's behavior impacts us. However, it is impossible to alter another person's reality.
Our feelings are incapable of lying. And everyone else's feelings are incapable of lying. Feelings are it or not.
So as frustrating as this can be, it is our yoga practice of compassion that enables us not to get caught up in a reactive tornado in response to another person's seemingly irrational behavior (remember, they are experiencing feelings that are real to them).

To dismiss or discount another's feelings is counterproductive and almost always agitates a situation. It is our compassion, that allows us understand that the person causing us discomfort is probably experiencing something troubling themselves.

How do we have compassion for someone who is causing us angst?

Stop. Take a breath. Listen to the other person. Listen a little more carefully. Then either let it go, or communicate your experience, without judgment. (Tips on how to communicate without judgment)

If the other person is hurting or angry, they may not be able to hear your reality until their emotions are less heightened. So if this is the case, consider just listening for the moment and talking at a later point.

When some people are angry/scared/anxious they will not be able to process anything you say until they are in a less exited state.

So give them a chance to cycle through their emotions, even if you don't understand their reality. This sort of compassion can be effective, not only to show you are supportive, but also to help ensure that YOUR perspective is heard (even if it's not at the exact time that you want it to be heard).

In short:

  • We ALL have feelings
  • Our feelings never lie
  • We ALL have DIFFERENT realities
  • It is impossible to change anyone else's reality.
  • All that we can do to influence another person is to share OUR reality and communicate OUR feelings
Why is this important?

It can save us a lot of futile judging and attempts at convincing our spouses, kids, co-workers to feel the way we think they "should".

Speak from YOUR reality, talk about YOUR experience, communicate YOUR feelings....don't tell anyone else what you want them to think or feel...rather, focus on their behavior and how it makes YOU feel. No one can argue with what you are feeling.

What would our relations be like if we all saw the world from the same reality? Would it really be better, or just smoother?


Nannette said...

I am from SC and my heart was heavy with sadness over Joe Wilson's shameful name calling to our President. And they speak of our youth!!! This is a grown, educated man. You say give them a chance to cycle through their emotions, even if you don't understand their reality. I don't believe anyone should be expected to understand such disrespect. You say that this sort of compassion can be effective, not only to show you are supportive? Only evil and darkness would be supportive of a man such as this. My love and my compassion went out a hundred fold to our President, who had to stand before millions and be publicly slandered!! After much prayer and meditation, I came to realize that Joe Wilson's hatred was revealed for all to see and in the end our Presidents greatest opponents were the ones who ended up with the understanding had compassion. But not for Joe Wilson. In a kinder world your practice would be beautiful....