I have a familiar dislike for whatever tastes of moralizing. And it is easy to understand why. Moralizing comes from a “should”. And instead of a more inclusive “we” which tends to diffuse the shoulds, it comes from an attitude of aiming it towards others and more or less excluding oneself.

We instinctively feel something is off there, whatever position we take towards the moralizing itself, and whether we recognize it in others or ourselves.

They shouldn’t moralize.

  1. True?
    • Yes. Feels true. It feels wrong when they do. I have stories of why it is wrong. Some others agree.
  2. Sure it is true?
    • No. I cannot know it is true. It is just an opinion. Human-made. From culture.
  3. What happens when I take that story as true?
    • I feel righteous. I know how it should be, they don’t.
    • I feel that they are doing it wrong. I see it in them. I experience separation. I am not interested in finding it here, in my own life.
    • I tell myself stories supporting the initial one:’
      • I tell myself they are moralizing because they don’t take an inclusive “we” approach, including themselves.
      • They are not using a very effective approach, since most people resist moralizing. They may feel bad about it, they may try to follow it, but they still resist it.
      • Advice comes up for them, instead of applying it to themselves, they apply it to others, and it feels wrong all around – for themselves and others.
    • I realize I am doing exactly what I see in them. I am moralizing towards them. I use a “should” towards them. I don’t apply the advice to myself, and instead apply it to them. And it feels wrong all around.
  4. Who would I be without it?
    • Still recognizing what’s happening, according to my stories about it. But without the “shoulds”. It is OK as is. Whatever advice comes up for me, is for me, and when I apply it here everything falls into place. I may still talk with them about it, if it seems appropriate and helpful. I may ask them about their strategy, and perhaps suggest that another strategy may be more helpful. They may be more receptive when we include ourselves. (Allowing the I/us vs. you/them view to fall away.) When I first apply my advice to myself, I can talk with them from another place, from a little more clarity and with that sense of “us” and “we”. If it seems appropriate, I can speak up, do my part, and whatever happens is fine.
  5. Turnarounds.
    • They should moralize.
      • Yes. Everything in them tells them it is what they should do. There are infinite causes, both immediate and from culture and the evolution of our species.
      • It helps me notice my beliefs about it. It is a mirror for myself, helping me recognize it here.
    • I shouldn’t moralize.
      • Yes. That is more true. I moralize when I have shoulds about them. In my mind, and sometimes out loud, I tell them what to do. And I do it without first applying the advice to myself. I am the one coming from an I vs them sense, instead of a more inclusive sense of us and we. I am doing exactly what I see in them. I am the one my advice is for. It feels good to see that. It feels like coming home. There is a sense of relief. Of release. (I am releasing them from the should. I am releasing the advice from being taken as a should. I am releasing myself from being caught up in it.)

They moralize. (And that is not right.)

  1. True?
    • Hm. Now I am not sure.
  2. Sure it is true?
    • No. Not at all.
  3. What happens when I take that story as true?
    • I feel they moralize. I see what they are saying and doing as moralizing. I see it through the filter of moralizing. At times, I may take everything they say and do as moralizing.
    • I feel it is wrong. I make them wrong. I see myself as right. And it feels off. There is discomfort. Something is not right. I feel it throughout myself that something is wrong.
  4. Who would I be without it?
    • Curious. Receptive. Interested in what is happening over there, and here. Interested in finding it in myself, using them as a mirror for myself. Interested in their strategy, its value and how it may back fire, and what strategy feels more right for me.
  5. Turnarounds.
    • They do not moralize.
      • I don’t know. It is just a label anyway. The dynamics are more interesting than any label.
      • They probably don’t experience it that way themselves. It may not be moralizing for them, so who am I to put that label on them?
    • I moralize.
      • Yes. I am the one moralizing. I put a “should” on them. I tell them, in my mind or out loud, how they should behave. I am the only one I can be certain is moralizing. I do what I tell myself they are doing.

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