The hardest thing to do is to stay true to yourself in the face of adversity or in the face of another’s desire for you to leave your truth and follow theirs.
One is challenged to deal with this when engaging in group dynamics. It is a function of most aspects of life, blending projects and collaborating in complicated, multilevel ventures in business or social interaction such as bringing together families in marriage or partnering in business. This is the challenge to remain true to yourself while incorporating another’s perspective when negotiating between individual and group needs as well as negotiating integration of ideas, theories, and groups.
Knowing your truth is helpful when evaluating how to integrate with another. And because not always what the other says is what the other wants, listening to the whole of another’s message and resisting the need to just swallow whole the other’s position is important. It is necessary to pause and be mindful in these encounters. Then you can hold to your truth while being flexible with the other.
I have a facility for languages. Not just formal languages like French and Italian, but also personal languages of individuals and groups. It is important to understand what it is that underlies the language of others – what has meaning and how the words contain idents of what matters to people. The style and quality in which people speak gives clues to what it reveals and conceals.
This is a natural talent, it is second nature to my being. I can blend in easily and enjoy the experience of seeing through different paradigms, which is a fantastic asset in my life’s work. It gives me the freedom to experience life from a variety of spaces or perspectives. I learn a lot by trying on these various styles and viewing from the inside out.
Anyone can step into another’s world, his language and the paradigms that underlie his style of speaking.
In America you can get the culture of various parts of the country through language. The south, midwest, west, and east have specific qualities hidden within their word choice and sentence structure, even what is or isn’t said. The facial gestures, and impressions that assist the verbal language are highly specialized and carry specific meanings. This can be traced to religious, cultural and personal heritage and experiences. Additionally, there are unique patterns within families, working groups, and educational backgrounds.
Part of what makes us feel comfortable with another is this similarity or familiarity among and within groups – often first felt and understood through verbal and non-verbal language.
This whole repertoire of behavior and language has its own manipulative force. There is an underlying push to agree and align, corroborate and connect, underlying the most normal and natural of group dynamics.
I am one of those people, who when talking with another whose speech pattern is interesting and distinctive, may begin to speak in the same way or take on a funny gesture which strikes me as having character. Having this natural facility is like being a chameleon. I find that my ease at being a chameleon is problematic when holding to my truth. The balancing agent to this is to have a strong and secure sense of who I am at my core. This allows me to have the capacity and freedom to enter another’s world, even try on some of the more fun or fascinating characteristics, and still remain true to my authentic self.
Holding to your truth is an interesting process of being connected with an even hand-strength: too strong and you are inflexible, not strong enough and you can get lost. Being overly flexible leads to instantaneous understanding and connection but when overly expressed it can dilute authentic purpose or self.
I find the best ting to do is to remain in a mindful state, an open, observing, interested curiosity. The use of a mantra or phrase which allows you to tether yourself to your authentic self so you don’t lose your way can be very efficient. This allows you to explore with others their world without losing your own center.
It’s like a safety rope that frees you to explore and negotiate with a fullness that can be exhilarating.
See your tomorrow.
August 17, 2011 at 6:34 am
I have that same tendency to pick up another person’s manner of speaking or accent, even though I can’t “do accents” worth a darn.
I wonder if you find yourself becoming a rather different person from hour to hour as you spend the time with different patients. I do. Weirds me out a little sometimes.
September 11, 2011 at 10:05 pm
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