Simplicity is an inherent part of how we arrived here. My daughter did particularly well in a test she sat and as a proud, beaming mother, I asked what she’d like to do as a treat. She said she’d like to eat at a particular place that she likes. This was one of the most simple, uncomplicated of places that she could have chosen. When I smiled lovingly at such innocence, she wondered if she had said something wrong and hastily inquired, ” well…. where else is it possible to go?”
It made me wonder how we add layer on layer to our own simplicity, depending upon others’ preferences or our idea of their preferences. The need to seek approval sometimes becomes more natural than being our natural selves! (c’mon admit it- the more likes on our Facebook posts, the better our day is!) Being influenced by others and learning from our environment, is a normal of way of socializing into the world but we must be careful not to move so far from our original selves that we don’t even realize it.
Do you find yourself choosing to do things or holding views that might be more acceptable to someone else? Are you holding ideas of what life should be like depending upon someone else’s ideas or what you think their ideas are? Have you noticed how in subtle ways, your idea of what others think affects your mood? In such a digital, networked life, peer pressure goes beyond classrooms and teens.
On the other hand, have you while in conversation with someone, caught yourself making up your mind while they are still at mid sentence? Or even worse, have you made up your mind when there is nothing to make up your mind about?! It’s like two people conversing but the message having to jump hurdles and run through filters, before it lands in the other person’s space, rarely reaching untouched as it was meant. No wonder there is so much conversation, yet people crave to be truly heard!
The need to approve and be approved of, is a double-edged sword. Poor quality listening is what we often sow and reap. How do we drop our judgement and deepen our listening? I’d say it begins at home; a good place to start would be to stop judging and second guessing ourselves:
- Drop the need to be right, correct, an expert, perfect or the best all the time.
- Keep connected to your own self: taking time out for a hobby or an activity you love is a great way to do this.
- A wise person once said that we become the average of the people we hang out with. Are you with those who see you as you are? Take time out to be with such people.
- Pause. Quieten down the mind a bit in order to be present with the person in front of you, without their words having to do cross-country!
And as children show us, simplicity is fine. We are served best without too many layers!
photo credit: stockvault.net (waterdropsonwindow)