Of The Black Sheep

Let’s kickstart this blog with a personal experience. A confession of sorts.

WHY I LISTEN AND ACCEPT CORRECTION

“When you judge another,you do not
define them.You define yourself.”
~Wayne Dyer

I have a tendency to want to show off
what I know,and in the worst
cases,correct other people.Instead of
listening and connecting I unconsciously try to sell to others an image of myself that I wish to project.Some part of me believes that if people are impressed with me then they’ll like me and be interested in my
knowledge and point of view.

In this way I fall into the trap of constructing the false self.This is the person I wish for others to see,a
person without vulnerabilities, incorrect knowledge, or who makes
mistakes. A thing that is more of a
product than a person.Many of us
fashion these false selves not only as an idealized version of ourselves,but also to keep other people’s judgments of us at bay. Before we realize what has
happened,we have made our skills and knowledge into weapons that we
wield on others while all the while we hide our true selves behind shield.Without planning to,we have declared war.

The constructed,false self is a one-way gate.Like a character in a stage play,the false self puts sights and sounds out to the audience while all the while it stands behind the fourth wall of separation from the observers.The audience sees the character,but the character doesn’t see the audience.

I have someone in my life who deals
with a fairly severe mental depression.Through most of my life I have tried to help her by showing her what was “wrong” with her health and actions. I wanted to use my logic and knowledge to set her perceptions straight.I didn’t realize it at the time but I was mostly lecturing her. I did not listen and understand her point of view,but instead stayed behind my shield and wielded my weapons of logic at her.I thought I was being a good influence.

Constructive influence,though,flows through positive human connections.When we judge others we severe those
connections and directly destroy our
chances of influencing others with our best information and ideas.But real,positive influence travels in both directions. Discovering wisdom works
best as a collaboration formed through the conduit of relationships.There is give and take and neither person needs to be “the right one. “When we give others space to make
mistakes,to have different skills and
expertise than our own then we also
give ourselves space for the same
things.No one of us is an expert at everything,but when we come together we close the gaps into a
working whole.

A few years ago,while preparing for a
volunteer program at a local
broadcasting unit,I took some training
in listening.I learned that it’s more
valuable to reflect back what people
say,and to show understanding of
them without judgment.I learned that
if I showed understanding of the
other person’s feelings and
thoughts,that alone would ease their
burden and do worlds of good.I learned that acceptance and understanding aren’t necessarily the
same things as approval and
agreement.We needn’t be afraid that we are compromising our own views or knowledge when we simply choose to understand another’s.In fact, the openness of understanding can strengthen our own point of view.We must receive what we wish to give and give what we wish to receive.If we want to be listened to,then we must listen to
others.If we want to be valued for what we know then we must value
others for what they know.And if we
want to be forgiven and loved,then
we must forgive and love others.

Lately I’ve been applying my new
listening skills in conversations with
my mentally depressed loved one.I
allow myself to relate to difficult things
she experiences and have even tried
to be brave enough to be honest when I see a bit of myself in her,when
I see the same passions,fears,and
mistakes.The funny thing is that by
backing off I’ve gained more of her
trust.By not pretending to have all the
answers for her I’ve strengthened our
bond. Now I only give her my opinion
if she asks for it.Sometimes this comes after a long spell of silence,when we are simply being together.And I’m honest enough to tell her when I don’t have a clue how to answer her question.And you know,I’ve learned a whole lot from her,too.

LET SINCERITY BE UPON SINCERITY.

Hypocrisy is a bitter fruit that solemnly
hurts to bits the sweetness of our
tongues.

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CONFESSIONS OF A BLACK SHEEP: Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place. Let's share our experiences