Watch where you point that thing! The problem of weaponized insight
A participant in the Come Alive and Do the Thing! Mastermind has a brilliant term for the use of a supposedly wise observation to critique or diminish another person: weaponized insight.
Don’t you love it?
At first it was thrilling to me just to have a term for this phenomenon, but as I sat with it, I started to see some important implications.
A weaponized insight is a weapon, not an insight
The moment an insight becomes weaponized, it stops being an insight and becomes a weapon.
This goes a long way to explaining what’s going on when we use our own insights against ourselves.
Insights and weapons are inherently different
An insight produces a shift in awareness. It tends to expand awareness, deepen connection, and elevate consciousness.
A weapon has the opposite effect. It shrinks awareness as the person against whom it is being used goes into fight or flight.
It breaks the connection between the one who wields the weapon and the one against whom it is wielded.
And it tends to lower one’s level of consciousness to the realms of competition and survival.
When we use insight to assess, judge, and berate ourselves, it stops being insight
Weaponized insights aren’t always wielded by others. Some of the most pernicious are the ones we wield against ourselves.
How often have you argued with yourself about why you aren’t using your hard-won insights or following your wisdom in some area of your life?
I don’t know about you, but that has confused the hell out of me. How can I be so incredibly smart (just saying) and so incredibly stuck at the same time?
It’s because I’m confusing self flagellation with insight.
There is nothing insightful about any attack on your inherent okayness
Any so-called insight that calls into question your inherent okayness has been weaponized.
Since there is nothing wrong with you, any insight wrapped in the message that there is, is false.
Something that points at how you are (presumably) broken takes you in the wrong direction–but only entirely.
Put down the weapon first
I used to try to pry the insight apart from the weapon. My logic went something like this.
If I could only get the message of the insight, the weaponized message would not longer apply or hurt.
That didn’t work.
The weapon didn’t stop being a weapon until I simply put it down, even at the risk of dropping a seemingly good insight.
I began to see that wholeness is key
As I dropped my weaponized insights, I began to see the vital importance of beginning with the premise that every human being is created whole and deserving.
I saw how our relentless compulsions to judge, evaluate, and improve ourselves actually block access to deeper impulses toward goodness and creativity.
And I saw how authentic insight points us toward our underlying wholeness and connects us to those deeper impulses.
Here’s to freedom
Weaponized insights wound and diminish.
Authentic insight heals and expands. It can sting, but the sting is bracing and enlivening.
That distinction is liberating. Play with it. Take it for a test drive. And let me know what you discover.
Have a wonderful, wonder-filled week, and please share your thoughts and questions in the comments on my blog.
Images by Pixabay.com
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Last week at a coaching conference one of the speakers held forth about her wildly successful book on the formation of habits, habits that, in her view, lead to success.
Among other things, she proposed a model to explain why some people do what’s good for them and some people don’t (and some people do it some of the time but not other times). She went on to name some of the 21 (!) strategies that she had codified for forming habits that lead to success.
Her suggestion for a useful exercise was for us to sort ourselves into groups according to her model and come up with mottoes for our “types.”
Can you see how instead of pointing us inward toward the source of our moment to moment experience, she was pointing us outward, toward her model? Not only that, she was asking us to invest our creative energy and attention into developing her model, dressing it up with mottoes.
The world is overflowing with models and life hacks that don’t work.
You are a human being, a creature with infinite potential, not a robot who could benefit from an operating system upgrade.
Instead of looking outside for models of success, look inside toward the source that inspires and catalyzes human beings of all sorts to do extraordinary things.
Have you noticed that sometimes you just feel alive? Really alive?
And have you noticed that when you come alive, life works?
And have you noticed that sometimes coming alive happens regardless of your circumstances? It can happen when you have bills to pay (and no money in the bank). It can happen when you or the people you love are sick.
That’s because coming alive has absolutely nothing to do with your circumstances. It happens before and underneath them.
Coming alive is the realization of what you already are, not a new accomplishment.
It’s what the mystics and sages are pointing to when they tell us that all is well and all manner of things be well.
And when you are in touch with the underlying okayness, when you let that okayness unfold and reveal your true aliveness, life just works.
An invitation to “The Art of Living”
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Photo credit: Pixabay.com
Not surprisingly, scarcity thinking came up during the Wealth Makeover calls last week. One common concern was how to meet financial setbacks without going into scarcity thinking.
During the calls we talked about the essential wholeness and wellbeing that is our factory default as human beings. How we are each an expression of and participant in the dance of creation, part of the formless energy or intelligence out of which everything arises and to which everything returns.
We talked about how the experience of scarcity or abundance is a function of thought, not circumstances. Consider how easy it is to be elated about getting a new client only to be deflated moments later by comparing yourself to someone else in your field.
Or how a funk about not being able to afford to travel more can give way to a wave of gratitude as you contemplate something you love about your home.
If you reflect for just a minute on your own experience, you can readily see that what seems like more than enough money in one moment can seem woefully inadequate in the next and vice versa as your thinking about your circumstances changes.
We live in the feeling of our thinking, not our circumstances.
At first blush it might seem that a smart approach to being happy and prosperous would be to manage your thinking. Think happy thoughts, have a happy life. Think prosperous thoughts, have a prosperous business.
In other words, just say no to scarcity thinking.
But it doesn’t work that way. (Besides, when you think about it, it’s kind of superstitious, don’t you think?)
It’s said that we have upwards of 80,000 thoughts a day. We notice and track only a tiny fraction of those. It’s simply not possible to manipulate your thinking to create the experiences you want.
Fortunately it’s also unnecessary.
You don’t have to fear scarcity thinking precisely because it is just thinking. And thinking can’t damage the wellbeing that is your factory default. At most it can only obscure it temporarily.
When you see that all that is going on when you’re afraid, angry, or insecure is that you’re experiencing your thinking, you can relax a bit, even though the experience may be quite intense.
When you remember that you are the thinker, you don’t need to fear the content of your thinking.
When you don’t fear or struggle with the content of your thinking, your mind is free and open to new thought, including the insight, wisdom, and common sense to live peacefully and well.
And that’s why you don’t need to fear scarcity thinking.
Photoy by Images of Money