My Dilemma and Yours
This week, I write to my students, clients, and colleagues. If that’s not you, read on anyway. A takeaway or two is waiting. G
I admit it. At times, I blame my upsets on those experts in the fields of self-help, mental coaching, and psychology who propagate this dual misunderstanding (the outside-in misunderstanding):
- Something external—the past, the future, someone else, oneself, money, a ten-foot putt—can cause a person to feel a certain way (e.g., fearful or insecure).
- Coping techniques, tools, or behavioral changes can help a person overcome #1.
Neither is true. Thus, my dilemma: Although their methods are woefully inefficient, as they virtually ignore the psychological immune system that all human beings possess, I don’t deem it valuable to alienate or write off these experts. Those who dedicate their lives to helping others are a-okay with me. Every person is a beacon of truth.
So, then, how can I—or better yet, how can those of us who strictly teach the inside-out understanding—help more conventional experts see past years of outside-in training and methodology so they can better serve others? Clearly, an “us versus them” mentality is not productive. And, frankly, it’s occurring more and more as of late.
Well, here’s how the answer looks to me. It’s basic, and I hope it’s useful to you: We must practice what we preach. It’s you and I who must wake up to the fact that our feelings are not connected to this sometimes serious-looking dilemma. These experts, and the direction they point, are not responsible for our upsets.
Indeed, when this principle is crystal clear in my own mind, wisdom takes over and, in deliberations with these experts, I neither alienate nor back down. I get my point across without ruffling feathers. I might pose a “what if it actually works this way” type of question, subtly (yet resolutely) pointing in the opposite direction. Or I might simply hold my fire, refusing to stoop down and retaliate, amid one of their attacks. Either way, these examples are a far cry from those moments when, in a desperate effort to change the minds of others (or my own feelings), I attempt to one-up them. Then, I serve no one and get nowhere. And it’s me, not them, who obstructs the dissemination of the inside-out understanding that’s essential to the world’s well-being.
No one—not me, not you—can overcome an injustice and take it personally, or blame our feelings on it, at the same time. In fact, it’s never the uninformed who stall evolution. It’s those who think they have a clue and, far too often, look down on the innocent ignorance of others. Truth be told, I was once the most outside-in person on the planet. I thought I had it all figured out. I thought I was serving.
Remember: Every person alive is doing his or her best, what looks to be the right thing at that moment in time. Today, when I overlook this reminder—get outside-in about inside-out—I help move the needle of consciousness and love backward. When I wake up to it, I help move the needle forward. And, my friends, it works the same for you.