Getting to know those you dislike

 

This is another one of the things that parents, in the best case, tell their children.

If I enter a room or a group I’ll spend some time in, my mind tends to quickly sort people into “like” and “dislike” – at least as an initial map.

I have made it a practice to get to know those I have put in the “dislike” category. To get to know them a bit as humans and some of their back story.

It helps me to see them as humans rather than cardboard cutouts. It humanizes them in my mind. I may end up liking them or not, but that’s secondary.

And, of course, they are “me over there”. This is just me as this human being getting to know me as that human over there. And it reflects how I approach and relate to parts of myself and my own experience I dislike. Do I agree with the initial dislike and try to avoid it? Or do I know it’s worth getting to know it?

So if my mind tells itself “I don’t like that person” that’s a signal to get to know that person, at least a bit.

Note: This happend in the most recent Vortex Healing course I attended. My mind immediately disliked a person there, and just by circumstances I ended up talking with her for a while, seeing her as a real human being, and finding sympathy for her. She is still not someone I would actively pursue a friendship with but my experience of her has changed.

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Bear Grylls: Breaking Point

 

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I have enjoyed watching some episodes of Bear Grylls’ Breaking Point, where he takes people with phobias into the wilderness, and helps them overcome their fears.

What he is doing is very similar to behavioral or exposure therapy. He does it quite well and with kindness. And it does seem to work. (He says he is inviting them to do what he would do if he had those fears.)

What’s not shown, although it’s implied, is that these people are ready. They have voluntarily applied to be part of the TV series. They have been selected out of hundreds of applicants. Some of them have gone through years of therapy. They are ready. What Bear Grylls is doing with them is the finishing touches.

He is having them go out and actually do what they are afraid of. He has them face their fears, and do it anyway. And that’s a hugely important component.

Also, after they come home, I assume most of them will have to overcome their fears again and again, on a daily basis. As that becomes a new habit, it does become easier. And the fears may even go away completely.

For some, it’s easy to take refuge in therapy, inquiry, analysis or similar mind work. We can feel that it’s enough. That we are done. Or that it’s safer to explore things in the mind than actually go out and doing it. I know that for myself.

What’s the remedy? To actually do it. And that can be much easier if we enlist support from someone who can help us – with some skill and kindness – to actually do it.

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