Self-centeredness is at the core of the consciousness that we currently live from. Seeing the truth of this requires a great deal of inner honesty, and without that honesty, it is impossible to change.
It took me a long time to see that truth, but it doesn’t really matter how long it takes, just that we, in fact, see it. You, as parents, can give your children a head start.
In order to really help this world and to truly learn to communicate with others, we have to work on being present when we interact with them. We have to be completely honest with ourselves and see that most of the time nothing in us wants to listen to others. We simply want to say what we want to say, we want to prove ourselves right, and we want others to listen to us. Self-centeredness.
How can being present with others help?
Well let me first say that if we aren’t present when interacting with others, our past “goes before us” to make the straight places crooked. The backpack of past negative and positive interactions with others always leads the way and therefore taints the moment.
When the moment is tainted with the past, there is no way to properly walk in another’s shoes – to understand where they are coming from and the pain that they are in, in that moment. We simply can’t “see” them. We can’t feel them. If we can’t see them or feel them, then we can’t be “with” them to walk together and understand them.
Now…there is a fine line between walking in another’s shoes and enabling them. The fine line is that when we are present, there is an awareness and ability to feel and understand the other person as being no different than ourselves, and this involves no wrong emotion.
In enabling, there is a certain sensation of self, wrong emotions that are elicited in oneself because we fully identify and immerse ourselves in their story.
In being present, we “see and feel” others without identifying. We walk in their shoes with understanding.
Everyone has their battles in life, and nobody is excluded from that.
What if we can remember in every interaction with others that everyone struggles. What may appear as a “well put together” human being, doesn’t mean that they don’t have battles, doesn’t mean they don’t struggle. They do. Appearances deceive.
What if we were able to “taste” every negative inward thought before we dealt it out? Would we like the taste of it for ourselves? We certainly wouldn’t, but something in us definitely prefers to dish it out before actually tasting it first.
That is the self-centered part of us that we most often live from.
Have you ever considered what it might be like for others to experience you? To be in their shoes experiencing you? Like your children for instance. It entails a great deal of honesty to see that we aren’t as wonderful as we believe ourselves to be. And that’s what we need to see.
Because we all live from the same consciousness. We all struggle. We all act from self-centeredness and we can’t “rise above” that self-centeredness until we see how it runs through the core of our every action and creates the unnecessary suffering in our lives.
Help your child understand that no matter how the “tough façade” may appear, everyone struggles. When people are struggling, they are in pain. When they are in pain, as Guy Finley puts it, “it’s pain that picks the fight.” It’s pain that says the mean thing. It’s pain that wants to harm others, blame others, resent others.
It’s one pain that we all share.
The greatest “selfless” thing that we can do for another is to lay down our own share of pain for them when we are with them. Meaning, when the harsh word or action is directed at us, instead of returning pain with pain, we instead walk in their shoes with the understanding that they are struggling in that moment as we often do ourselves.
We choose to allow that shared pain that wants to keep battling through human consciousness, to die through our suffering of it. We don’t return pain for pain.
It’s the meaning of laying down your life for another. It’s the meaning of walking in another’s shoes. We then come to find through that suffering of ourselves, that we really weren’t walking in another’s shoes at all, but simply coming into relationship with ourselves, with the one Life that we all share a part in.
Exercise for the Week: Find a moment in your day wherein you typically would respond “in kind”, return pain with pain, and work to, instead, suffer yourself rightly. Suffering yourself rightly has nothing to do with restraining yourself, suppressing emotions, or switching your attention to something else. Suffering yourself is standing and fully receiving the pain that was triggered in the moment.