(Continued from Part 1.)
Lately, I seem to have been entering into more and more conversations and communications that have serious consequences or can lead to serious outcomes. And because of this, I seem to be wanting to focus more attention on ways of communicating.
Many of us, I think, base our communicational style, especially in negotiation, on the use of forcefulness. The manner in which we often may deal with opposition is, in Werner Erhard’s words, to resist, resent and revenge.
Many of us may find that we attempt to “get our way” by applying pressure. We may try to force the outcome. We may dangle rewards before the other person or issue warnings and threats of penalties for non-compliance, so to speak. We may engage in a tug of war, wishing to prevail over the other rather than reach a mutually-satisfying agreement.
If we don’t like what we’re hearing, we may resist by denying affirmation, regard, or respect. We may withhold good-quality attention, criticize, be dismissive, etc. We may imply that the other person is crazy, unwise or ungrounded. We may seek advantage and use various ploys to get it.
If someone else uses these tactics against us, we may generate resentment and feel aggrieved, abused, hard done by, etc. Typically we call this a “victim” mentality. We store up this resentment as muscular tension in the body (“holding patterns”) and as vasanas in the mind, that are triggered at the right moment and “justify” our acting self-righteously and punitively.
We may “get even” with the person who “crossed us.” We “teach them a lesson.” We “show them what’s what” or “who’s who.” We get our own back, show them a thing or two, or exact our pound of flesh. We all know the justifications we use for getting even with someone we think has harmed us.
Looking at myself for a moment, I see that this communicational system simply doesn’t work for me any more. It never did, but that I didn’t see. And what’s even more interesting is that there are no more big boys and girls that I can turn to to provide solutions. I’ve reached the age where I am a big boy, so to speak.
Nor is there time any more to learn. I have to actualize the learnings I myself have already gleaned over a lifetime. The time for action is here. The time for learning, at least for me, is to a greater or lesser degree gone. At least for doing things like reading books and attending workshops.
So there’s this moment of truth happening for me in which I sense that I need to bring forward all that I’ve learned over a lifetime’s coursework. And I need to do it now.
There’s a little whimpering that happens when I see this, a little bit of wistfulness, a sigh, and then I hitch up my trousers and get back to work.
(Continued in Part 3.)