Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Making Them Understand

When I hear someone talk about making someone else understand something, I think it's a bit funny. I didn't always. In fact, I still do things out of a subconscious desire for other people to understand my way of thinking. But I realize that I can't. Sometimes it might be because people just aren't capable of it, that they simply aren't in a frame of mind that will allow them to see a different way of doing things. For me, it's more often the case that I'm unwilling to see someone's point of view. I am so convinced that I am right that I would rather try to convince someone to see things my way than listen to their perspective.

Luckily, this is not how I want to be. And the more I become aware of it, the more I can shift gears. I can listen to what someone is saying without believing that my own beliefs are threatened. Of course, this seems to be more of a challenge with people whose perspectives actually have an impact on the reality of my life, like my wife or boss or a musician who has commissioned a piece of music. Sometimes it is so logical to frame things as "either/or."

What I am realizing this week is that I have been holding off on steps forward in my vision for my life and creative pursuits because I am waiting for other people. I am waiting for their approval, for their understanding, for their acceptance... and I have been frustrated sometimes when I haven't gotten it. I've been believing that I can't move forward without making them understand what I'm doing and why. Not just understand it, but approve of it as well. What a brilliant excuse!

I can't actually make anyone understand or approve of my own vision or the actions I'll take to create it. And there is no requirement that I shift my beliefs or commitments just because someone has a different way of seeing things. I can be open to other ideas and possibilities without needing to defend myself. And I can live out my vision with integrity and purpose, trusting that those who want to see it and share in it, will.

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