Paradigm-shifting can occur in an instant; one can see the shift instantaneously. Shifting an inner paradigm of how you are in the world takes a longer time and seems to be more incremental.
Being different is more challenging than seeing the shift.
Using a picture to show a paradigm shift can exemplify the first process.
Above is a figure/ground image that is marked in shadow and light.
The figure in the foreground is of a man playing the saxophone or smoking a large pipe; the image in the background is of a women’s face, the shadow defining her features, hair, and neck. Seeing both is a shifting between the figure and ground or two paradigms – once you are able to do this you instantaneously experience the paradigm shift.
When you internally experience a paradigm shift you can at times feel it instantaneously like the story told by Steven Covey in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, about a young man and his children on a train. The children are acting-out and an observer is annoyed by this. Then the observer discovers that the father is emotionally flat and not stopping the children from their effusive behavior because he wants them to have the opportunity to be like children as they had just left the funeral home and burying their mother, his wife. The observer upon hearing this has an internal paradigm shift from thinking the father is a bad father for not controlling his children to having empathy for the children, and the father, for their loss and seeing what a positive choice the father has made to not squash their behavior.
That shift occurs immediately but having a truly changed internal paradigm shift, and acting, perceiving and interacting in a more compassionate way, is a longer process that develops over-time in response to the immediate internal paradigm shift.
Covey refers to this as an inside-out process.
I perceive true or real and sustaining, therapeutic change as an inside-out process.
It is a function of being self-aware, knowing oneself and acting congruently with one’s internal perceptions, knowings, beliefs, and motivations.
This is self-awareness and personal responsibility in actions and interactions. Versus a lack of self-awareness and a style of blame or seeing the responsibility outside oneself.
I talk about this as Being the Change.
Covey talks about this as changing Have to Be.
If you want to have trust then be trustworthy … or if you want to have a happy marriage then be the kind of person who generates positive energy and sidesteps negative energy rather than empowering it (empowering the negative energy by focusing on and giving energy to it).
Being mindful in your evaluations and actions, and applying compassion and lovingkindness, will bring you to this process easily and thoroughly. By thoroughly I mean deeply; it will be meaningful and feel real, solid, and strengthening.
One of the primary ways to address this inside-out process is to change a sense of internal insecurity to a focus on developing a sense of internal confidence.
Insecurity engenders negativity and critical evaluation that excludes compassion.
Confidence engenders positivity, harmony, and critical evaluation that embraces compassion.
The first is disconnecting and the second is connecting or re-connecting.
Changing one’s internal paradigm for interaction from disconnecting (protecting of self, defensiveness) to connecting (knowing one’s self, and focusing on harmony, compassion, and love) is a characterological paradigm shift that will allow one to be, and view interactions from an inside-out perspective.
It’s the paradigm of being connected rather than being right. Arguing to be seen as right and the other wrong often creates adversity rather than connection.
When, in interaction, the internal paradigm is to be connected or sincere harmony – then one is drawn to seek first to understand as Covey describes it, and look for the connecting threads rather than looking for the places where one disconnects.
Successful and effective mediation and negotiation are based on this internal paradigm.
It is a function of mindfulness, and a willingness to be balanced in one’s evaluations and interactions. Incorporating not just one’s personal view of the situation but being willing to understand another’s perspective of the situation and incorporate the elements of both.
This style of interaction, this internal paradigmatic-based behavior, allows for connection and harmony.
Self-awareness, flexibility, mindfulness;
Confidence, and a lack of insecurity or need to be right;
As well as Congruence in actions and internal paradigms;
These all together determine inside-out change.
Be the Change you wish to see in your world; when you are being it you will see it in all your interactions and relationships.
See you tomorrow.