lauantai 11. toukokuuta 2013

Day 230: Discussion on the word "responsibility"


so heavy!

I had a conversation with a friend and it turned interesting when I noticed we were talking about the same concept but with differing definitions where it started turning into a debate. I realized how important it is to make sure all are on the same level about words, the gravity of words and the nature of words as symbols that can be loaded in a multitude of ways.

The word we clashed with was “responsibility” (or “vastuu” in finnish). My friend connected this word extensively with negative connotations and told me that “there is no responsibility without guilt”. I explained my take on responsibility by saying that when there is a goal (here, to ensure a world that is best for all) then I have responsibility as defined by the goal – if I act in a way the consequences of which distance me from the goal then I am not carrying my responsibility. I also talked about individual responsibility (one's “ultimate” responsibility towards oneself) when he expressed that “no one has to take care of others”. I do not see carrying responsibility to be a “burden” or anything negative, because it is simply what is now necessary.

So when we actually got to the meta level and noticed we were having a debate because of this one word we got to discharging it. It was cool because he saw where his understanding of this word comes from and I realized that this is where some of my conversations with people may go wrong, that I'm simply misinterpreted. I also realized the importance of simplifying or breaking down complicated concepts so that they are comprehendible for everyone, although not “dumbing it down” and encouraging more complex cognitive understanding.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not take into consideration the differing interpretations people have of words and to thus explain the terms I am using and make sure I am on the same level of understanding with others.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to refuse to let go of “my way” of using words within a conversation to allow for the terms to be broken down and understood by all because I have believed and perceived that “my way” of using the words is “correct” and the others' is “incorrect”.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to override the other in the conversation when I realized what was causing conflict and wanted to share this so that the conflict would be solved, not allowing the other to finish their sentence and belittling them when they reacted to this.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to react to being interrupted within conversation with frustration, thinking “he never allows me to speak” and making myself restless and unable to listen to his words, accumulating this experience every time I got interrupted, and then exerting my frustration on the other (as described above) when I had the chance.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to react to being interrupted instead of stopping, breathing and realizing that this is nothing personal but just the other expressing themselves – living as who they are by interrupting my speech – and that this here is a chance for me to observe the other.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to disregard the gravity of words by not being aware of the vocabulary I use and the reactions it may stir in others, as I have not seen, realized or understood that communication is not about reveling in my self-expression but about exchanging information/understanding with others.

I commit myself to build awareness of my speech and vocabulary as I now see, realize and understand its gravity; and I commit myself to do this by paying attention to others and their reactions to my words within the realization that their reactions are not reactions towards me but towards their interpretations of the words I use.

When and as I get agitated within a conversation, I stop and I breathe. I allow myself to take a break to stabilize myself in breath within the realization that by forgetting to breathe I am allowing my participation in the conversation to “get out of hands” as I participate in my energetic reactions towards the other and engage in a “battle” to “win” the conversation instead of actually communicating. If necessary, I allow myself a break from the conversation by physically moving myself elsewhere for a moment. I return to the conversation once the energy has dissipated and my breath is stable.

When and as another interrupts me within a conversation and I react to this - I stop, I breathe and I remind myself that this is nothing personal but the other expressing him/herself. I breathe and let go of what I was speaking about in order to listen and hear what the other one says and to observe what it is he/she is now expressing. I then place this in context with what I was speaking of before I got interrupted and accordingly decide where to direct the conversation when it is my turn to speak.

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