Each of us has an inner guidance system, a sort of GPS. Most of us know this on some level, yet we second guess ourselves. What if we misinterpret the information our GPS is giving us? What if we make the wrong turn? It turns out that those questions really don’t matter. Your inner GPS is capable of recalibrating and recalculating no matter what move you make. You can rely on that and worry less about getting it “right.”
Two steps forward, one step back may be a problematic strategy for running a marathon. But what if life is not a race, but a dance? And what if YOU get to choose which one it will be?
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
Have you ever felt like you were going with the flow, but the flow wasn’t serving up the insight, support, or momentum you need? You doubt your choice and wonder if it might not make more sense, just this once, to push the river. What’s likely is that you aren’t going with the flow at all, but that you are standing in the river. This is something to see, not fix. (And the mystery continues…)
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I woke up this morning in the midst of a dream, the phrase “I’m not showing up for work anymore” ringing in my head. In the dream, a raven-haired woman of a certain age had made that declaration, and I understood it to mean that the “work” she had been doing defined and constrained her in ways that had become intolerable. Her obdurate disengagement was a symptom of disenchantment with the world as she used to know it and as it used to know her. My role was to explain all this to a handsome, black, forty-something man who was certain that he’d neither perpetrated nor supported any policies or norms that would cause her to be diminished by her work. He just didn’t get it. This time it was not about equal rights, or at least not mostly.
I could relate (to her and to him, as a matter of fact). In the past year or two I’ve often felt like I didn’t want to show up for work. I felt dislocated, disengaged, distracted. I could feel the push and pull of an emerging theme that I sensed would shift my life and work, but most of the time I experienced this as a surfer caught in a rip. One minute I’d be counting the sets and waiting to catch my wave, the next I was being carried out to sea by a current with a mind of its own.
But wait! I’m a coach. I’m also 52, self-aware, well-read, thoroughly educated in body, mind, and emotion, and committed to spiritual development whether or not I know what that means. I have been around the block. Hell, I’ve been around a lot of blocks. I know how to reinvent myself. I know how to focus. I know how to align my life and work with my values. I know how to summon the body of commitment. I know how to assemble a support system. I have a PhD in change. How can I possibly be carried away by currents I don’t and can’t control? (And how will I explain it to my friends and clients?)
Apparently Life, unimpressed by my attainments (or possibly responding to them), decided to throw me yet one more developmental curve. This time, thank you very much, it came with some topspin: hormonally driven lapses in memory, concentration, energy, and mood along with the growing awareness that Time Is Short. (Note to self: Why “Time” as opposed to “Life”?) Work as I’d understood it had become a vast, arid land where I might wander for years without finding the nourishing spring of meaning and purpose.
Meaning. Purpose. Two words I often wished would be removed from the lexicon (how uncoachlike), yet there were no better ones to describe what was missing. My soul, whatever that is, was not only parched but jaded. It’s hard to drill for water when your belief in water and wells is shaky.
Am I being too elliptical? I don’t mean to be. So far I’ve written as precisely as I know how about what it is like to jump from the high dive of mature success into the bottomless sea of not-knowing. I didn’t know how to order my priorities. I didn’t even like the idea. I’d long since graduated to what you might call an organic relationship with priorities. The notion of imposing a less sophisticated method struck me as foolish. Not only was I not likely to stick with a formal structure (one of the symptoms of my passage is an ADD-like inability to follow instructions. If it has more than one step, it’s more than likely that I won’t get to step 2. Getting to step 3 is out of the question.).
As I was saying: imposing structure to tame the chaos was impracticable. Besides, I truly didn’t see the payoff. I’d been there, done that, and I had the Stephen Covey T-shirt. I mean no disrespect. The 7 Habits is solid, it’s just that I’d moved on and going back to what used to work before my more recent ways of making sense and making a contribution seemed, well, like going backwards.
In other words, I no longer wanted to show up for the old ways of working, but I didn’t yet know the new ways. I’ve been here before, too. I’ve experienced numerous “phase changes,” shifts that begin with disorientation, and then progress from darkness to chaos, from chaos to complexity, until finally a new simplicity emerges. I trust the sequence, and I’m willing to take the leap. What I find disconcerting, however, is how much time I spend under water, then groping toward the surface, discovering where (and who) the hell I am, and tuning in to the indicators within and without that will show me the new direction and the new mode of transport. Somehow I’ve expected that knowing (more or less) what is happening will equip me to make the transition with a degree of elegance.
But here’s the deal. I think it’s not just – or not always – a transition. Sometimes what I’ve experienced, and what I see others experience, is not just transition but transformation, and I do not use that word lightly. Sometimes, if we’ve been reasonably awake players in our Life Game, we get thrown into a bigger game for bigger stakes, and at first we haven’t the foggiest notion of what the new level of play is all about.
Dear God, this seems like such a ramble. I trust that I’ll be more articulate about this territory as time goes on. I trust that some of you who come across this blog will recognize in it something of what you are experiencing and will find some sustenance, some orienting generalizations, some sign posts for your own journeys. For now, it’s about writing what I can as best I can. It won’t get better without practice.
To be continued…