What we see in each other are always reflections of what we have activated within us. We constantly create narratives about each other that have more to do with our own limited experiences with each other and our interpretations of what we think we see or hear, rather than listening to those we wish to understand more. Unfortunately, we tend to hold these personal identifying definitions, these assumptions of our own imaginations against others we know and don’t know. The fears and worries about others are all in our imaginary futures that we create in each moment of our lives. Whether these definitions of others have merit or not, we tend to insist they are true, not because we have experienced it from who we are interacting with, but because we have created it in our imaginations and we are literally choosing to close our eyes and ears to the possibility of something else in others. I do not believe that anyone wishes to be judged by someone else’s limited ideas about who they are? The quickest but hardest solution is to free ourselves from the shackles of the opinions of others. But this is harder than it sounds to simply not care about what others think of us. We all grows up into a world that insists that we must care about the same things that the world does. We grow up being rewarded for conformity and for not using our own intuition and our own minds to understand the world as we see fit. But a better solution for me is to deeply listen, and to try to see the world that someone else is experiencing through their expression of it. After all, I can’t tell you how to define your authentic world. You have to do it. No matter how valid my experience in this life is for me, it will only really be authentic to me. Thus, only the person having the experience is allowed to define it and own it. Deep listening then becomes one of our most important windows into all conflict resolution. All conflict is just a difference in meaning that we ascribe to a topic, where one side is trying to force its understanding onto another person or group. This never works and only causes pain and suffering for those who do not agree. The caveat is that when you define it, you and only you can own it. You can’t force anyone else to understand or own it as their truth unless they willingly choose to. Listening to others is loving others. Even if we don’t experience the world the same, we can have compassion for anyone who is not having the best life experience. And through compassion, which comes from the root meaning “to suffer with you,” we can better help each other find the joy in their experience that they desire. We are love. We are joy. We are so very good.
Seeing Others, Defining Others