Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sunday Sitar - is Back!

A popular spiritual leader recently stated that we should put the following into practice if we are going to heal have healthy relationships. "State the facts, speak the truth."  This statement resonated with me [I swear every day] since I heard her articulate this.  The problem is we have Jack Nicholson's voice in our heads thanks to brilliant cinema; YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

Facts most are okay with, truth is something that makes us vulnerable thus uncomfortable.  Ladies and gents, it's nothing to fear and you CAN handle it, you're just out of practice.  But before you begin spewing truth all over the place have these things in your arsenal, in your heart: A smile, A filter [big or small it doesn't matter], Love [any amount of this will do].

I am clear that no one will ever admit truth about anything to themselves much less to me.  Wouldn't it be easier if we just state how we really feel vs. what we say to people.  An elementary example of this, take ANY social situation.  You walk into a room and someone approaches you to say "hello" your reply with the typical pleasantries "Hi, how are you?" Now if that person begins to tell you how they really are you might either be in tears at the end of their diatribe or you want to stab them or yourself [no them] in the eye with a butter knife. That is because people don't care about YOU they care about THEMSELVES. Trust me this isn't some masked cynicism about humanity, it's true.  Think about it.  What would you do at a social event if you asked someone how they were and their response was "well actually I'm in foreclosure and just got downsized at work" OR "I'm getting a divorce" OR "My son/daughter just made the swim team blah, blah, blah" and everyone's worst nightmare "I checked myself back into psycho therapy because..." You fear that you'll get stuck in one spot for an hour listening to a person suck up all the energy surrounding you droning on about their life when all you were doing was being polite giving them enough of a soundbite to jump into what you want to say.  Listening to a person is just too much work.  Getting involved with someone is too much of a commitment, even if the term of the commitment is that time you've given to them to actually answer your inauthentic question.

I don't mind revealing that I hate the man woman separation dynamic at house parties [women talking in the kitchen and men outside smoking cigars, drinking or sitting around the TV].  Even worse are the coupled off parties. The reason I hate the first scenario is because it seems like I'm expected to be interested in the kitchen conversation when all I'm doing is floating until I want to stick.  Usually stick worthy conversations happen at the tail of the party when the it's late, the host is cleaning up, people are liquored up, children are sleepy and I'm exhausted.  And you know if you were to leave then you'll never receive [or have the chance to share] the nuggets being orated in the moment. Missed opportunity to bond and to see if you want to make any particular bonding more one on one the chance to form a friendship. The reason I hate the second scenario is because in my observation many couples don't know how long to circulate so they keep finding comfort in each other.  My cartoon thought bubble reads "why am I here?"

Can you imagine what a social event would be like if everyone avoided each other?  That would be one quite room or a room filled with folks dancing to boring music choices.  LOL, I see an SNL sketch in the future.  It would be hysterical!

Fact: Social events are opportunities to BE SOCIAL.
Fact: It won't kill you to get to know someone by listening to them.
Fact: If you are social just to be seen [to satisfy your ego], or to gossip, or to stir up a little trouble it will backfire on your life, karmically.  Don't be messy!
Fact: Social events are fun.

Truth: Some people are social to avoid loneliness so if you sense that throw them a bone.
Truth: Some people like hosting social events to have people around to satisfy something in them so have the decency to attend if you are invited.  To quote my father "well, I was invited so I figured that I'd dust off my suit and go."
Truth: Nothing will be lost by practicing the art of listening and speaking to strangers.  In fact you have no idea how you will impact someone; even the kids, be nice to people's children. So smile and circle around the room, interject yourself into as many conversations before choosing a brand new person with which to spend time.
Truth: Conversations are not interrogations. Nor are they chances for you to just talk about yourself. If you don't know how to be soft and interesting follow these steps in this order. Smile, speak [use your filter here], listen, share [use your filter here], repeat.   You see it's like dancing: 1-2-3-4, smile, 2-3-4, speak, 3-4, listen, 4-share, repeat.  Smile, speak, listen, share. Over and over until you find your rhythm.  Everyone has a rhythm just like everyone has a butt hole personality.

Now, for the more advanced I'll toss in another step.  Smile, know your audience, speak, listen, share.  To master this there is a lot of shutting up during this dance listen more than speak.  That way you cut your learning curve way down.

(Small digression about filters) - When you use filters the other person's experience of you is one like this: they feel safe/comforted.

Fact/Truth: YOU are important and so is EVERYONE ELSE.  We must treat each other with care. Just like any field of study practice makes perfect.  We are social beings; we are made that way.

(Photos courtesy of Google)

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