Tuesday, November 24, 2009


"The moment of greatest integrity is when we realize we've made a mistake." -- R. Buckminster Fuller

I make a lot of mistakes when visiting family: I assume I know everyone's agendas, I assume I know why they do what they do, I assume it's going to be difficult.

I am learning to -- and this week commit to -- hear people as they wish to be heard, see them as they wish to be seen, and experience them as they wish to be experienced. I intend to let others define themselves.

I'll let you know how it goes. How about you? Do you make assumptions about your relatives based on years of experience that may be outdated?

Happy Thanksgiving.


  1. I lasted about 3 of the 5 days before I began to judge people as I judge them rather than as they'd like to be seen. I must continue to work on this. While I'd like to believe that my assessment is far more clear-eyed than others', I know that is not true. In reality, people are a mix of their beliefs about themselves and the self they project to the world and their true selves which are evidenced by their actions. It's the assessment of the actions where I seem to get stuck.

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  3. I will admit that when it comes to family, I do have preconcieved notions of what everyone's agendas are, and assume that everyone is generally static over the years. While I don't necessarily believe that actions define a person in entirety, they reflect a large portion of character. The difference becomes the "why?" If I feel I am unfairly judging someone, I will ask myself what is it about their character that generates the action? Sometimes I find these actions come as a pre-condition response, and may not have much weight to them. Yet, even in doing this, it is difficult to proceed without making some assumption on the part of observer.

    Perhaps the best approach is to change your own reaction. The other person is doing much of the same judgment of you as you are of them. So, if your reaction or response is different from what they expect of you, then the dynamic changes.