Archive for September 20th, 2009

What people say can give you useful information, as can what they do. But to get that information you need to be paying attention – you need to be present. This means you have to be in ‘observer’ mode, rather than in a world of your own imaginings when you are with them.

When a member of your family, a friend, a partner, a lover or a colleague tells you: “I am not good in the mornings”, they are probably genuinely trying to tell you that their behaviour in the mornings is unpredictable and possibly some way short of how they would like to be. It is code for “Please don’t get upset if I snap or appear grouchy and thoughtless – it’s not personal, I just take a little time to get into the day and into my more social role around people”. For many years when I worked in an office as one of a team, we had a deal whereby we would ‘issue bad mood alerts’ on this basis – to oil the machinery of which we were parts so that there was a chance there would be less uncomfortable friction. It is worth listening to what people say, and taking it in, if it can help us to avoid pain and upset.

With this in mind, there are other situations where we would also do well to listen to what people say: when they are self-critical, for example. Choose not to believe them at your peril! The information they are imparting to you is invaluable for your well-being in relation to them. So the next time a person says, “I’m a real bitch!” or “I’m an insensitive bastard!”, don’t disbelieve them and don’t ignore what they’ve told you – or at least do allow for the fact that they may be being totally sincere.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have them in your life, but in the same way as it is wise to go into financial investments with your eyes open, it is sound to approach emotional investments with a similar awareness and desire for self-protection.

Let reality in as soon as you can, because you’ll invariably always have to let it in eventually.

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