As noted before, we are not rational, but rationalizing creatures. Pretty much everything we do in our lives makes sense to us within some sort of internal logic.*
So here’s the thing.
If someone is exhibiting behaviour that you do not understand, it is because you are missing a part of their context.
If you are exhibiting unproductive behaviour, and can’t seem to reign it in, it is because you are missing a part of your context.
Said another way, in both cases there is context that is hidden from your view.
When confronted by this, it is most helpful to respond to a person’s – including your own – ineffective behaviour with curiosity, rather than judgement.
There are always barriers. We all have them. They all arise inside of our own, personal, context.** And those barriers hem us in, keeping us being and acting within their narrow confines.
Recognizing those barriers – and viewing them as legitimate – is often the first step to breaking lazy or unproductive behaviour patterns.
With others, you can listen, extend empathy, and, without blame or shame, seek to speak and engage constructively.
With yourself, you can work to unconceal what’s there, discover your hidden stories, and, without blame or shame, transform them.
And, altogether, grant great realms of freedom and choice.
* Logic that can, of course, be quite easily, and often most definitively is, twisted or incoherent or be full of blind spots and even hypocrisy. Cognitive dissonance is powerfully obfuscating indeed. Still, at least on a superficial “answer off the cuff” level, it really does makes sense to us. It feels right and fine.
** Even though, for the most part, we didn’t consciously and deliberately choose or design many of our contexts…
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