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02/04/2013

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This time we move on to look at the issue of responsibility. This is often confusing. If I
make a comment to someone - even though it was kindly and sincerely meant - and
they get upset or take offense, is their upset my responsibility?

Take the example of a father who needs to tell his son it is time to go to bed, and no, he
can't watch the rest of the film on TV, he needs to sleep and be up in time for school.
The boy is angry and resentful and reluctantly goes to bed, feeling little love for me
even though my action was based on my love and care for him.

There is a principle here: another's choices and creations (which includes their
emotional responses) are their responsibility, not yours or anybody else's. In the same
way that jealousy is less than love, since it resents the other's freedom to choose, to be
themselves. This might seem like a cold or hard-hearted view but really it is based on
love and respect for the other person's freedom.

So what is your responsibility? What if you do something wrong. Take this example: I
promise my son to go to the circus with him, but then I'm too busy and don't have time
to go, and he is understandably upset. For me, breaking my promise has been a wrong
action on my part, and I would be responsible for it.

The conventional wisdom is that I have caused my son's grief. In truth however, it is
my son who causes his grief, not me. But yes, it was still be a wrong action since I
promised to take him to the circus and didn't. I am responsible for doing what I think is
right, according to my ethical judgment. If I do something wrong according to my own
ethics, I am responsible for that. I decided my work was more important than keeping
my promise - in retrospect I may realize I made a mistake, apologize to my son and
learn from that experience. I am not responsible for my son's reactions though, that is
his determinism, his freedom, his life.

If you do something you think is right and someone gets upset about it, even if you
could have predicted that, the upset is nevertheless that person's responsibility. And if
you do something you know (or later realize) is wrong and another person is upset
about that, their upset is similarly their own responsibility.

Another example: if you were to withhold doing personal development because your
partner has said they do not want you to change in any way, perhaps because of their
personal fears and insecurities, that is your choice. But if you consider making a better
life for yourself is the ethical thing to do - for the benefit of yourself and ultimately for
others too - and you tell your partner that and she gets upset, it is your partner who is

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responsible for the upset - it is her interpretation of your actions that creates her own
upset, not your action in itself, which is a responsible action.

You can genuinely love someone whilst nevertheless doing something they don't like or
agree with. You do it because you feel it is the right thing to do, though you still
understand and have empathy for their different viewpoint (which causes their
emotional reaction) which they have created by their own choices and belief system.

If one only did things others can easily accept then the status quo would never progress.
That would truly be a trap. The solution here is better communication, leading to
increased understanding of each other's viewpoint, and therefore acceptance of the
differing personal realities.

There is a strong imprint in our culture to feel sad, guilty, etc. for painful emotions our
actions may cause to others. There's a general misconception that you are your
emotions. "I am angry" and "you make me angry". This is conditioning not truth. In
terms of cause and effect, it's a viewpoint at effect. Some say that to be happy, only do
what others can easily experience - it's the same lie.

The Church teaches "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you". I believe this IS
true, as if you are being ethical - acting from integrity, being true to your self - then it's
going to be OK for others to do the same to you. And if it isn't then you'd better re-
think whether you are indeed doing the right thing. It is one definition of a 'wrong'
action: that which you would not like another to do to you.

You are responsible for your choices, decisions and actions. For being true to your
judgment. For communicating with honesty and integrity, developing and maintaining
an open mind, and promoting understanding and empathy. For never compromising
your freedoms and rights nor trampling on another's. For always acting from the
primary motivation of love. That's all and quite enough.

Practical

Look at some experiences you have had and perhaps see them in a different light.
Times when somebody was upset and you felt it was your fault. Separate the right and
wrong actions you made from the interpretation the other made, based on which they
were upset. If you made a mistake, learn from that - if their interpretation was faulty,
realize that is their responsibility, their freedom.

Look at times when you were upset and you felt it was their fault. Realize that you
created your emotional reaction, and that their actions were based on their own

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understanding (or misunderstanding) of the situation. If they were mistaken, forgive
them.

The following article is about maintaining your integrity, in particular with respect to
agreements you make, and how important that is for successful relationships. It is from
the site www.no-problem-marriage-counseling.com

Trust in Relationships

We all yearn for relationships in which there is trust. We want to be able to depend on
others. We're looking for the ease, clarity and harmony that are inherent in trustful
relationships. But, is there any one of us who wasn't let down or betrayed by someone
who didn't live up to his or her agreements?

We all make agreements every day. Some seem small and insignificant: agreement
about a time to meet or a promise to run an errand. Others are seen as bigger and more
important: a formal contract or signing a loan. But all of them are important. Because
this is the way trust is earned. Your reputation is built upon your ability to make and
keep agreements.

The corner stone of every relationship is trust. And when we're not feeling safe in a
relationship - we do not give our 100%. Partners who keep their agreements or re-
negotiate when they can't are few. But then, so are successful couples.

If you do not keep your agreements within your marriage (or any relationship for that
matter) you make your partner responsible for you.

Let's say it was your turn to do the laundry. You didn't. Your partner has to do it instead
of you or has to become your "mother" and remind (nag) you so you would do it. This
means becoming responsible FOR you. That's what your parents did until you were
able to take responsibility for your own life.

However, in marriage, you are two grown ups that should be responsible TO each
other. This means each one of you takes responsibility for keeping your agreements and
stand up for your word.

Break an agreement once, and your partner might forget it. Break an agreement twice,
and your partner might forgive you. Break an agreement for the third time, and your
partner won't trust you again. Period.

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And when there is no trust in your relationship - you don't have a relationship. Yes,
your partner might still be there - physically. But he or she is not there anymore -
emotionally.

And one thing you have to remember - loosing trust can take a minute, building it back
may take years.

I discovered early on that those people who often break agreements always end as
being mediocre and having dead relationships. Most of them think that so-called small
agreements can be broken because they're not important.

Well, the consequence of breaking agreements is loss of trust and respect. No matter
how big or small those agreements are. And when you lose trust and respect,
"mediocre" becomes your second name.

Check yourself honestly. Do you believe that being late for a meeting you agreed with
your spouse won't hurt them or that your partner won't mind if you don't do the dishes
as agreed? Do you tell yourself that the consequences will be small and you can handle
them? Well, think again. Have a look at how your partner reacts to those broken
agreements.

The other side of the story is the partner that got hurt by the broken agreement. If you
are often on this side, ask yourself how come it happens to you so frequently? How do
you feel being hurt and disrespected? And why do you allow it? Are you afraid to rock
the boat? Do you think, "Oh, it's not such a big deal"? Do you find excuses to justify
the breaking of the agreement?

If you let others (even if it is your beloved partner) walk over you, and don't protest,
guess what... they will keep on walking all over you! It's that simple...

By the way, sometimes, your partner is not trying to hurt or disrespect you on purpose.
Sometimes, they're just not aware or sensitive enough to realize the impact they're
having. And if you don't tell them, or are not honest about how you feel when they
break the agreements with you, they'll probably never change.

My personal way of living is to make few agreements and keep the ones I make.
Frequently agreements are made too casually and usually with the aim of being liked,
avoiding criticism or delaying the confrontation about a problem hoping there will be
some miracle cure.

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Some of the agreements are written, some are spoken ("I'll be in charge of taking the
garbage out"), and some are unspoken ("When I speak, I am telling you the truth").
You might want to check how many agreements you have in your relationship, and
does it make sense to keep all of them as agreements.

Too often trust is broken because something like 'leaving the toilet seat up', or 'not
taking out the dog as promised'. Most marriages break in the end because of the
garbage and the toilet seat and not because of a single extramarital affair. It happens
when "enough is enough" and there's no way you can trust and respect anymore this
son-of-a-bitch that not so long ago was the love of your life...

To avoid getting there, find out what your survival agreements are. These are 2-3
essential agreements that if broken could cause either one of you to step out of the
relationship, right away. For some people it will be infidelity, for others substance
addiction, for others emotional or physical abuse, etc. Make sure both of you are aware
of and agree on these survival agreements and then... KEEP THEM!

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6. Reconnecting with the Past

To the extent that we put a barrier up against the past, we cannot be integrated.
Remembering things by its very nature puts attention on the past. The past may be
pleasant, nostalgic or painful to recall but it doesn't govern the present - though one
may feel it does!

Between you and your memories there may be a barrier created by suppressing the
memory of unwanted past experiences. This reduces your ability to enjoy your present
life. It denies you that resource of youthful energy, enthusiasm and wonder that
somehow got lost during the years. It got lost because the energy was subsumed in
creating the barrier of suppression, a barrier that became fixed and automatic, closing
down the mind/body connection. When you remove this barrier, you will find it much
easier to be in the here-and-now, and be pleasantly and joyfully aware in the present
moment. There is a very simple and powerful way to break through this barrier of
suppressed emotional charge between your conscious mind and and your memories and
accompanying feelings. You can regain your enthusiasm and wonder of life: you will
discover it is still there, you just have to reclaim it.

Recall Exercise

You simply give yourself the direction: "Recall Something" and as quickly as you can,
obtain a memory, then repeat the direction immediately. Any memory will do, whether
it is from one minute ago or from years ago. But don't dwell on a period or experience;
try to 'jump around', allowing whatever comes up to be OK before you quickly move
on. Intend, each time, to recall something different.

After a while you will run out of 'stock memories'. You may dry up and find it hard to
find a memory. You will then be aware of this barrier. You have billions if not trillions
of memories. You should find memories with ease at first. When recalling becomes
difficult you will know that something is going on! Your mind is being careful in case
you recall something it doesn't want you to. Keep going! Give the direction "Recall
something" and if no memory is found, simply repeat the direction again. Know your
unconscious mind is actually answering the question and finding a memory. You just
aren't aware of it.

Soon the memories will start to flow again - this is the breakthrough you're expecting.
Keep giving the direction and keep the memories coming as quickly as possible. Do not
dwell on any of them. The purpose of this exercise is to be able to freely recall the past,
not to relive the memories in depth. This seemingly simple procedure will take you a
long way in your development. When the going gets difficult, or if nothing seems to be
happening, persist with the exercise until the breakthrough occurs and you feel more
whole, at one with your mind, body and feelings.

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