As you all know I am not a psychologist but I have had a lot of experiences and I have learned a few things about myself. The interesting thing is that the more I know myself, the more I see bits of myself in others; and the more I see bits of myself in others, the less I judge them.
My little dog Sunny interprets the world around him with his nose – everything and everyone is subjected to an exploratory sniff which is internalized and thereby “understood”. You can break bits of a treat off and hand them to him in succession, but even though they are all part of the same thing, he approaches each morsel as a “new” thing and sniffs it before gently taking it from me.
I would like my approach to the world around me to become the same.
How often do you encounter someone in your life and think “oh god not her again …” and leap to a hostile, bored, impatient, defensive mode of being thereby ensuring that your present encounter with that person will be as negative as it was the last time?
We all claim it is the other people in our lives that do not know how to change, but what if the truth is that we are the ones who are not allowing them to be different around us?
What would happen if we learned to approach each encounter with the people in our lives as “new” experiences?
Is it possible that some of them would surprise us by checking their emotional body armor at the door and behaving differently themselves?
Am I being too altruistic?
Perhaps – what I am suggesting is not for the faint of heart. You would have to be mature enough yourself (now there’s a scary thought) to decide to approach your human interactions with the long term players in your life with optimism and patience even when they do not initially appear to deserve it.
In short, you would have to be willing to recognize that the “childish” behavior you have been subjected to was learned – and that like it or not, you are most likely the one who taught this person to behave this way in front of you.
Scary thought isn’t it?
So what it really comes down to is this: do you want to look in the mirror every morning and see a childish intolerant person who cares more about scoring points and winning arguments than building meaningful human relationships, or do you want to see a person who has overcome their personal demons and encourages others to do the same?
What would happen if you gave the old dogs in your life a new sniff?