Day 308: Changing yourself from Defensive to Teachable
Are you teachable? Are you living in real-time?
Or are you defined by the past?
Do you have an experience of by default being compelled to explain yourself, defend yourself, and point out the flaws in the 'other' person's point of view, perspective, input, suggestion, when YOUR point of view, perspective input, suggestions, or way of doing things is questioned?
Do you experience 'being questioned', or 'called out', or 'corrected', as a negative thing?
When another questions your starting-point, your way of doing things, your way of seeing things, your behavior, do you by default tend to experience them as being 'opposed' to you, and within that, you being 'opposed' to them?
When someone questions you, do you resist considering what they're saying?
When you look at your relationships, can you identify moments that escalated into reactive conflicts because of any of the experiences above?
These kinds of experiences are tricky because once you allow the reaction and start participating in it, it quickly changes the nature of a discussion into argument and conflict, with 'one vs. the other', and the moment suddenly has this momentum, where it feels like the only option is to continue, until you 'resolve' the the situation, as by defined by this 'need' for the other to 'understand', and 'get', and 'accept', what YOU are saying, YOUR point of view, YOUR perspective, YOUR input.
The very signature of such experiences is that of being right, that of 'knowing best', and to stop, you have to be willing to act in spite of everything that you FEEL in that moment. Because that's only way to stop the MOMENTum of the reaction. You have to be willing to embrace not knowing what to do, what to say, how to act, in stopping speaking, stopping participating in the moment. You have to be willing to embrace not having control over how another sees you or may perceive you. You have to be willing to give up your self-image of 'knowing what you're talking about', and step into the unknown. You have to be willing to give up the feeling that you need to 'protect and defend' your point of view. You have to be willing to give up the feeling of being 'misunderstood'.
What I've found effective is to, in that moment when and as any such reaction comes up in me during a discussion - at the entry point of the moment - I apply one simple decision, which is that of changing my default stance in the moment, from that of 'knowing' to that of - learning. Deciding to be teachable, so to speak.
And within this it's interesting because, when you've defined yourself according to what you know, or how you do something or see something or understand something, what you're really saying within defining yourself according to 'what you know, see, and understand' as your point of view, is that this is ALL I know -- because the definition itself is based on the past - knowledge as the PAST. And so, this does not leave the space to be able to consider new information unconditionally and - be able to change your view and understanding of things.
So, some questions to ask yourself would be:
Are you willing to embrace being wrong?
Are you willing to embrace not knowing best?
Are you willing to embrace admitting you are reacting?
Are you willing to embrace admitting you were dishonest?
Are you willing to embrace however another may end up seeing you in a moment?
Are you willing to embrace not being understood?
Are you willing to embrace admitting another is right?
Are you willing to embrace that another may see something in you that you didn't see?
Are you willing to embrace that your way of doing something may not be effective?
Are you willing to embrace considering whatever another tells you, without judgment?
Are you willing to embrace giving up your self image?
Are you willing to embrace admitting you're in a point of Ego?
Are you willing to embrace admitting you didn't have all the information before?
Are you willing to embrace giving up the desire to have an outcome go 'your way'?
Are you willing to embrace changing in any given moment?
I've discovered that when you are able to embrace these things in a moment of discussion with another, you start to experience a self expansion that you did not conceive of. How can you expand and change, when your default is that of 'knowing' and 'telling', rather than 'learning', and 'considering'? And, within being able to learn, and change, and consider, and give yourself up in any given moment, what opens up is being able to genuinely share things you see, because you're not speaking to try and control the outcome to keep surviving as your point of view as self definition, but you are instead speaking as yourself.
So, you can even print out the above questions, and keep them with you in your pocket, so that as soon as you see yourself starting to react to another in a discussion, you can take out your questions and look at them and check yourself, and make the decision to change who you are in that moment.
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