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5/20/12

Making Sense of Contradictions

We are complicated individuals filled with contradictions. Anthony Robbins says we have a core need for certainty and uncertainty. And they operate both at the same time!

Our certainty need wants everything to flow along in the same predictable, secure, and comfortable routine. Even if that consistency is a rut. Our uncertainty need craves risk, change, variety and challenges.

No wonder relationships are so complicated. It is difficult enough to come to terms with this yin/yang in us, let alone rectify it with spouse, parents, children, co-workers, etc.

But I believe it can be done. With work. And time. And maturity.

Absolute truth vs. truisms. There are some absolute truths. Absolute truth includes the law of gravity (at least within earth's atmosphere) and the rotation of the earth around the sun with a pattern of day/night and seasons. I suggest intangible absolute truth includes the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20), and that human wretchedness can be traced to the breaking of one or more of those laws.

There are truisms that apply to certain situations but not across the board to everything. This would include "Look before you leap” bookended by "He who hesitates is lost.” There is an element of truth in each. At times one needs to make a decision and go with it, while at other times deeper investigation is needed. What a conundrum.

Happiness is more internal than external. Ultimately happiness is a do-it-yourself job, but there are external contributors. Dr. William Glasser says that all human misery is the result of three things: 1) living under tyranny, 2) living in abject poverty, 3) debilitating sickness or 4) the inability to get along well with those people that are important to us. Although pain is inevitable; misery is optional.

Getting along well with those people that are important to us has a lot to do with locus of control. Namely, whose behavior can you control? The more we are in control of our own behavior - that includes thoughts thought and actions taken and emotions exuded - the less controlling we will be of others.

Conversely, the less we are in control of our own thoughts, actions and emotions; the more one will attempt to control others. This external control over others is attempted through complaining, blaming, guilting, criticizing, nagging, threatening and punishing.

Relationship building - and happiness - comes through supporting, encouraging, listening, accepting, trusting, respecting, forgiving and negotiating.

Here are other contradictions: Acceptance does not mean approval. Forgiveness does not mean things do not need to be settled and rectified. Listening does not mean refraining from speaking. Trusting does not mean being naive.

Bottom line is, each person is unique and special and sees things from differing points of view. They often take opposite routes to come to the same conclusion. The goal in the long run is for harmony.

P.S. Don’t forget to connect with me.

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