Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I love my Ego: Leaving space for the other person to be right.

Want to know if you are ego attached, or if you are open? Try this one out the next time you talk to someone. Especially someone who you are pretty sure that you have more knowledge than in a given subject.

Practice leaving space for the other person to be right. My massage teacher, Aubrey taught me this. I was astounded when she said it to me, it had never even occurred to me that even if I have good information, or the ability to go to the heart of the matter, that there might be a more effective way to have my information received.
Can you leave space for this guy to be right?

As I practice this more and more, I realize that its not only an effective way to have my information received, but often, as I'm actively working on leaving space for the other person to be right, I spend valuable time understanding their point of view, and why they've come to hold the beliefs that they have.

Whether they are beliefs about energy, their body, God, how a ski turns, or what to eat, it is not my job to prescribe for them what I believe works better, it is my job to hold space for their current belief, and, if invited, share my own alternative or complimentary point
of view.

If I am secure enough in my person, I can stand there and allow that what you believe is important to you. Even if I "know" that categorically you are WRONG, it still might be important for you to believe that you are right. This is also an excellent opportunity to consider that my opinion, which I am pretty sure is right, might not be 1. accurate, 2. fully informed, 3. take other points of view inter consideration, 4. correct, 5. fully formed... you get my point here...

This lady is pretty sure that she is right. Does she leave space for the other guy to be right sometimes?
Look at skiing for example. The student may feel very strongly that traversing across the hill is a safe way to negotiate terrain that is too steep for them. You, as a teacher, may know that traversing across the hill is unsafe because its unpredictable to other skiers, and because you may gain speed as you traverse, with little control, especially if you are defensively in the back seat while you are doing it.

Telling your student that they are wrong, that they shouldn't traverse, taking away what they believe will keep them safe, may shut them down to you. If you take away the one tool that they have, you may lose your ability to give them another, more effective tool.

What if you told your student, another way to control your speed is to turn up the hill, or link turns with less traverse in them. If you need to, by all means, traverse. But do your best to try this new thing as well, you may find that it makes you feel, with practice, even more control.

The guy on the right is pretty good at being sure he's right, but leaving space for you to be right, too.
Now, the student is allowed to believe what they know "works", even though you know something else will work better. You are honoring their belief system while adding something from your own. You hold space for them to be right, while you present more options.

If you need to, you can look at it this way: if this belief is currently working for them, from their understanding, they ARE right. They have something which makes sense, which they can rely on, which works. Honoring THAT piece as truth allows you to relax a little. Yes, they are right. Yes, you may also be right. Now, we have the opportunity for growth and learning on both sides. A conduit is open.

Can you do this while having a discussion on religion? Can you listen to the other person and leave space for them to be right while honoring your own concepts and ideas? If you can, if you can practice this, you are practicing tolerance, and suddenly, you are listening from a non-judgmental place.

This guy is pretty sure he's right. Does he leave space for the other guy to be right sometimes?
The bonus benefit to you in this place? You become a student! You become a patient, open learner, capable of leaving space for the other person to be right. You practice separating from or restraining your ego, you practice hearing the other person, you practice looking from their point of view even when yours doesn't match, or is diametrically opposed. You practice tolerance. Patience.

And the result is, the student you are teaching will hear you sooner, deeper, faster. The student that you become is open to more knowledge than ever before, and therefore has a depth from which to draw in the future. Communication is open, and NOW, the teaching can begin.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was searching the net a couple months ago, to see if Rick V. had written anything online about Stivots. Only thing I found was your site, but it had a Rick tip, that was very cool, so I signed up for this blog.
I'm a level II snowmass instructor, but I took this year off, partly because I'm going to Pune to study for a month in June.
I mention this, because I am trying to improve as a ski instructor, get a higher cert soon, and find the blend with yoga is huge boost for my skiing, but also, philosophically, unavoidable.
Just about all the material I am studying for yoga cert. is about ego, mind, teaching, etc...
I found yoga from skiing, but skiing itself, I've learned, was probably most meditative experience so far.
I thought your recent blogs on ego, might lead you to find some interesting light on the subject found in Patanjali's sutras.
Good luck on your endeavor...Sw