A student writes,
Hi Sophie, I think I take trivial and superficial things too seriously. How can I let go of these immaterial incidents or people and focus on important things that truly matter to me?
this was my answer
“This is the sign of two things: 1. your map of reality isn’t very similar to reality. 2. you have too much importance attached to nice words about you… i.e. you want to be defined by words not by your actions.
“It is the main reason I read the book Feelings, to find out if there is a way for people to give up being attached to these “marker feelings” and be addicted to them.
“Some is normal, but if it is just getting offended, then it is useless.
“What you have never done is you have never listened to what people are saying as feedback. You have never gotten that you are weak at meeting other people’s expectations of you. Why? Because of your upbringing, you have an inflated sense of yourself. Inflated because it is only hot air. Not real value… without you being able to meet other people’s expectations.
“Now, how to listen to feedback? First say: what if it is true? what would be true about it? what expectation do I not meet? what is the expectation of me to do, say, look, think?
“Can I do it? Is it immoral? Unethical?
“Meeting other people’s expectation is important because without it your self cannot develop. And also, without meeting other people’s expectations, you will never be able to fulfill your need for a group, or need for procreation.
“And you haven’t. And you won’t. Not in Singapore, not in China, not anywhere… because instead of learning to meet other people’s expectations of you, you get offended, defensive, hateful, weepy, or angry.
“You can learn a lot of it from books, but you need to practice it with real people.
“This doesn’t mean becoming a yes-person… that would be stupid. You can always choose. But you need to look at the feedback, appreciate it, validate it, and choose.”
But after I hit “submit post”, I realized that a whole lot of people need to learn about this… maybe all of the people who are looking at my site… Because my site is mostly attracting this type of people… So if you are here, this is for you.
You feel different. You feel alone. You have a hard time fitting in.
So let me teach you a little bit about yourself, and about the importance, to you, to fit in, to meet other people’s expectation of you.
There are five hardware-type needs, the needs even animals have.
- the need for energy supply,
- the need for safety,
- the need for a group,
- the need to procreate,
- and the need for information.
And some software-type needs that use words aka symbols. Three of them:
- meeting others’ expectation of you, and
- meeting your own expectation of yourself
Students of mine who emigrated into another country, mostly to the United States or Canada, suffer from, how they say it, “not fitting in.”
And if they don’t fit in with their own family either, we have an even bigger problem.
Fitting in is a very important ability in satisfying the need for a group, for safety, and to procreate.
Learning the software type need: meeting others expectations of you is a very important step. Being able to use the feedback from others as guidance.
It’s not easy.
The world is divided to you and them… and you are different.
- Different because you have a different religion, come from a vastly different culture, value system.
- or you have different colors
- or you have had something happen to you
- or you are vastly smarter or stupider than “them”.
- or maybe you have a different sexual orientation…
You walk to a different drummer… in some way.
And by the time you would be intelligent enough, you already have the damage done to your “I” and you are stuck.
But it is still a matter of intelligence, it is still a matter of being clear, astute, and adaptable enough.
I am writing this article for you, the ones that feel left out, and for myself.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
The missing distinction, the missing capacity, the missing way of being (how) is humility.
Humility means: being able to change what you think, being able to change what you do, because you don’t need to be right about how you think or what you do.
When humility is present, you can get out of your own head, out of your hurt feelings, and question the assumptions you have… and thus control your idiosyncratic behavior.
Oh, you didn’t know you have an idiosyncratic behavior?
I am most familiar with how Jews are that is idiosyncratic. They are loud, they are too smart, they do weird things, dress weirdly, or don’t take showers.
The weird factor Tai talks in one of his steps is always correlated with self-esteem. Self-esteem is a measure that is violated by, or is out of sync with how the world sees you.
Because you are not intelligent enough, not astute enough to see that the issue is some behavioral quirk, you think the attack is against you, your essence. And you get weird.
Einstein is said to have smelled bad.
I can relate. You don’t know why they treat you bad, so you give them a reason.
Like my mother used to say: don’t cry or I’ll give you a reason to cry.
So, here you are an adult. You clearly don’t fit it, you clearly don’t see you can advance in a society as such, you are miserable, alone, and it doesn’t look good.
You react to every little slight… not with correction but with anger or hurt.
You, maybe, fantasize of moving away to a place where you can be yourself. Free to be. Free to be yourself.
Here is the bad news: you don’t have a “yourself”. It got stuck in “I am different”.
So unless you release that stuckness (plunger and the drain, remember?) the self cannot develop. The authentic Self.
The Self that is going to be independent of feedback, of strokes, or attack… The Real Self.
The Real Self that is needed for the good life, wealth, health, love and happiness.
When you are my student, I guide you.
If you have humility active, you’ll hear me. If not: you won’t.
I can’t see you in your life, but I can see how you interact with the material, with me, and thank god for the distinction: “How you do anything is how you do everything”, I can be certain that your how is the same everywhere…
If you have humility active, you’ll do the looking to find that same how in other areas of life. The areas I can’t see, because I have never met you.
Sometimes I get lucky and we talk on skype and I see you. I see how you don’t pay any attention to me. How you are distracted. How you go into your own head. How you only care about what you want to say, what you want to know, not what I say.
Or how you drink your water. Or how you can’t stay put. Or how you are lazy, stuck in your ways.
I see a lot of weirdness. And sadly, until today I had little access to help you get rid of your weirdness.
Your weirdness is a reaction to the differences… and they got stuck. They don’t serve you. They make fulfilling even the hardware-type needs.
You will see that it’s yours. And once it is yours, you can start designing different ways of being that are more socially acceptable. You will see that you don’t have to give up uniqueness, only the weirdness.
The part of your behavior that is a reaction to not being, not feeling accepted.
How long will it take? I don’t know.
I am going through the same process.
A few weeks ago I was called an eager beaver. A typical Jewish weird behavior. “Designed” to fit in, aimed at being helpful. Not normal, not acceptable, misdirected.
This is the first behavior I am working at.
It feels weird to just be normal, allow people to do what they do, and not interfere… (eager beaver makes other people’s behavior wrong in the contrast.) Be like everybody else, at least on the outside. Every fiber of my being wants to pull me back to “eager”, but I can see that it doesn’t work. Not for them, therefore not for me.
When you do the five questions exercise, if your friends believed you that you would not get angry if they told what they really think, your weirdness will be expressed clearly in one of the answers.
You will consider it a non-issue… unless you have Humility the capacity turned on.
If you get a chance to work with me you’ll be able to work with it faster.
Some of my free workshops are really helpful… The What’s the Truth About you especially.
Now that I see what I want to work with, I’ll schedule it again.
Everyone is weird a little… I am most interested in people who have a difficult time knowing who they are. The theory is that they got stuck in the “need to meet others’ expectation” and it was not successful.
My goal is to help you through that.
The ultimate purpose if to help you get to the level of the need to self-realization, self-actualization.
By the way: self is not a bunch of words. 1 Self is a sense of who you are. Self is part of the vertical plane, the Creative Plane.
The only place from which you can grow.
PS: I wrote this article 30 months ago. Since then I discovered that if I listen to my students every week, I can start weeding out the weird.
This opportunity, for pennies on the dollar, is the Playground. Pennies on the dollar…
Get into the Playground