Tuesday, January 5, 2010

How to practice acceptance, not judgment.

Post 400 - Our judgments provide the biggest clues to finding out more about our Shadow. Whenever we feel ourselves over-reacting emotionally to a quality or a characteristic in someone else that pushes all of our buttons, we can be sure that we’re seeing a part of our own Shadow. “If you can spot it, you've got it.” We have to be willing to see the part we play in attracting certain relationship issues into our own lives. We can’t change anything we don’t know about. And we certainly can’t change other people. So if we become aware of our total self, the dark and the light, then we're able to make more conscious choices about how we behave.

Here are some new definitions to use when examining your Shadow:
• Truth - What is.
• Honesty - To be at one with what is.
• Belief - An interpretation of what is.
• Self-deceit - Believing distortions of what is.
• Intimacy = think of this as “into - me - see.”

Defensiveness comes from the fear of being hurt. When someone becomes defensive, we tend to react to their reactivity. Our response is usually to fight or to run away. What we fear triggers anger, and this is almost always a secondary emotion because we have to experience something else first. When someone is defensive, the real message is, “Be aware.” We can be right, or we can have a relationship. Most people would rather be right than have their life work properly. If they have a belief, they’ll do whatever it takes to prove that their belief is true.

The dilemma of holding our cards close to our chest is that we can’t see the cards. The best card we can have up our sleeve is no card at all. Vulnerability is the perfect protection. As Rollo May noted, "Freedom lies in the ability to pause and choose between stimulus and response."

When we won’t forgive, we must judge to justify our inability to forgive. Protecting ourselves with judgment means binding ourselves to illusions. Judgment is a protective strategy of erecting a physic protective barrier by making other people wrong. In that sense, anyone we hold a grudge towards effectively owns us. Forgiveness is not about saying, “Your behaviors are OK.” Rather, it involves acknowledging a lapse in our own consciousness.

Try operating from a base of acceptance instead of judgment. Start by thinking that people do what they do with a positive intention. Think, “You've forgotten yourself and that's your only fault.” Being competitive and proving people wrong doesn’t work very well in real life. Trying to have a 50/50 relationships doesn’t work well either because it’s always about score-keeping. If we give 100% of ourselves and the relationship ends up not working, we can leave without feeling that we're a victim. So the message in building a healthy relationship is to keep judgment out of it. If we accept our own humanness, we’re better able to help others. Small s is our ego-based self. The ego’s work is to make us less that we really are. Large S is our true self. A clear understanding of our true self that involves deep personal knowledge generates significant learning opportunities.

He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened. “We don't reach enlightenment by going into the bright places in our lives, but by going into the dark places,” according to Jung. As the Buddha said, “Enlightenment is not a change at all but merely a recognition.” Maturity is a willingness to take responsibility for our own emotional field and for managing the impact of the wake we leave behind us. It’s best to work to be ourselves, without apology, so we eventually reach a state where we can say to others, “I’d like your love and respect, but it’s not essential to my well being.” If we’re really doing the best we can do, making the best choices we know how to make, we'll see ourselves as innocent. We'll then become more loving and we'll treat ourselves with more respect. If we can’t give ourselves love and respect, we’ll do things we don't want to for others instead in an attempt to get their love and respect.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a fantastic blog entry. Exactly what I needed to read this morning. THANK YOU! "Whenever we feel ourselves over-reacting emotionally to a quality or a characteristic in someone else that pushes all of our buttons, we can be sure that we’re seeing a part of our own Shadow." Very, very true.