Reacting to People Who Assume They are Automatically Right. DAY 385
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There is a person in my world whom I have perceived and reacted to as always thinking that they are right, that their perspective is obviously correct at all times, and that they are going as far as seeing other people’s point of view as ridiculous and stupid, whenever they don’t agree with them. I have been struggling for a long time when having discussions with this person because I perceive – and react to them as being absolutist in assuming that their statements/perspectives are automatically right, no matter their level of expertise or experience with the subject.
So I have been looking at my reactions towards this and asked myself why I react so much to this, because in reality, it is not like I have to care. It is not like something bad happens to me just because someone else makes an absolute statement. The interesting thing however is that it feels that way to me, especially when discussing subjects that are ‘close to my heart’ towards which I may experience myself being more vulnerable and more protective.
An example could be that I say to this person that when I have a child I will co-sleep with my child as I see it as a natural thing to do and then the other person saying something like “Don’t do that. That’s not going to work at all. That’s just some hippie bullshit. I never did that with my children and they are all fine.”
In that moment, I am absolutely clear on my perspective because often times it will be something I have investigated and researched over a lengthy period of time, or I will simply have a different life experience with the point causing me to see things differently from this person.
In looking deeper at the experience that comes up within me when I discuss with this person, it is a feeling of them forcing their ‘reality’ on me, because they are saying (or what I am hearing them say) is “THIS IS THE TRUTH, and whatever perspective you have, it is just dumb and silly and how stupid can you be for ever considering something like that?”
I see where the person is coming from in for example being older than me and therefore coming from a different generation which has affected them in seeing the world a certain way, but I also see myself as having expanded from that into a new world-view while still being aware of the old world view that they hold, but it is entirely impossible for me to share this with them. This is definitely a generational issue and many older people have this issue towards those who are younger, which in fact means that they miss out on a lot by holding onto an idea of knowing more by default.
My current strategy is to get as quickly out of these discussions as possible, because I do not see any practical or constructive point with them and it makes me extremely uncomfortable to engage in, even for five minutes. I can sit and listen passively virtually without reacting, unless I perceive the other person is being demeaning towards people with a different perspective, but I cannot engage without reacting.
So in looking at this, I can see that the reaction stems from childhood and from the experience of being treated poorly and without respect by adults. There would be this general agreement and assumption that, because you are a kid, your perspectives are automatically naïve and unworthy to consider, and obviously in some instances they would be naïve, which shouldn’t really be something to mock or ridicule something over in the first place, but in other instances, I might actually see common sense and the adult might for instance be in a possession of anger, jealousy or in a certain belief-system and STILL they would call me out to be the stupid one whose perspectives didn’t matter.
This I found so horribly unjust and unfair and it frustrated me to a degree where I experienced physical pain because of it and I grew to despise and hate adults and see them as being lying, manipulative and untrustworthy and I stopped asking those (“silly, stupid’) questions and share my perspectives on things, which is a shame.
It is the same experience I have today where I see someone older than me assuming an automatic perception of authority despite sometimes coming from an extremely limited worldview, or even giving themselves the prerogative to make assumptions (that I more experience as commandments) about my life and how I conduct certain things in my life, as though because they automatically know better, they also have a right to interfere with my life decisions.
So as with all reactions, I had to also look at the question: “Where am I doing this in my own life?” Because if I was not reacting I could simply let it slide and assign it to this person being stuck in a self-perception of being an authority, like there is no one that says that I have to be affected by this or allow it to influence me in any way. At best, I could even assist and support the person to see what they are doing and maybe even start transforming their way of communicating with others.
But because I am reacting so strongly, it is showing me that what I am experiencing is not about the other person, but in fact about me. It exists in me. And one side of that is what I mentioned about being reminded about the power dynamics I experienced with adults growing up. The other side is the fact that I equally allow myself to live this ‘self-proclaimed authority figure’ and do so in a way that I suppress it to myself, because I know that it is not actually cool to do, as I have experienced the consequences of it as a child myself.
So how I have seen myself do this is for example towards my partner or in moments of reacting in superiority to other people for whatever reason (like making up reasons of seniority or maturity or whatever) in specific moments, and I have even seen myself go as far as to the point of being ridiculing towards another person, exactly as I have experienced this person being towards me.
It is so interesting to look at it from this other person’s perspective, because obviously it is a dimension of superiority, because the justification of treating another person this way, comes from an idea of being ‘way up there’ beyond them, untouchable, out of their league basically and thus also looking way down on the other person and seeing them as less than, thereby within this fuzzy logic concluding that “my perspectives are automatically ‘right’ or ‘superior’ and their perspectives are automatically ‘wrong’ or ‘inferior’.
When I have experienced myself being in this state, there is this like ‘watertight’ quality to it, from the perspective of it being absolutist in nature, of simply assuming that you are automatically right without even as much as questioning the points.
As such, having discussions with people in this state is in fact completely pointless and it isn’t in fact even a real discussion, because in a discussion one is open to listening and taking the other person’s perspective into consideration.
And as such, I do agree with my strategy of simply not engaging in these discussions and to only do so from the perspective of sharing myself unconditionally and supporting the other to see what they are accepting and allowing.
To get to a point of being able to do that, I will here walk a self-forgiveness process to release myself from the energies of reaction that has come up within me.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to assume a state of believing that I am automatically and by default ‘more right’ in relation to another person that I then believe to be automatically ‘more wrong’ due to an idea about myself as being more experienced, more knowing or intelligent.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that it is physically impossible to ALWAYS and AUTOMATICALLY be right and that by assuming that this is so, not realize how much I miss out on that I could learn from other people and also how I compromise my relationship with them and compromise them by relating to them as though they are inferior and less than me.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not for a second question my authority within believing that I am right, because I have created an absolutist belief about who I am in relation to the other person based on comparison, elitism and the polarity of superiority and inferiority.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to give myself the prerogative to demean and ridicule another person based on the idea, belief and justification within me that I am superior to them and that they are wrong for being inferior and therefore I have a right and even an obligation to ‘educate’ them by teaching them what’s right, without realizing, caring about or considering how I am affecting them.
I forgive myself that I, as a child, accepted and allowed myself to feel desperate and frustrated and trapped within experiencing that I was being treated unjustly and unfairly by adults, that I couldn’t do anything about because they didn’t see me, but only saw an idea about me, related to an idea about themselves as being an adult, because there was a part of me that respected, honored and believed in their authority over me and therefore accepted that they were right.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to respect, honor and believe in others having authority or seniority over me as an automatic default position, which is basically a static idea that has nothing to do with reality and as such, this assumption that some can have automatic authority is flawed which is what I saw as a child but experienced myself unable to do anything about.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to experience that someone who assumes automatic authority over me by for example stating that their opinion about me or my life is automatically correct and that I am stupid for seeing it any other way, is taking something from me, and is threatening me, when in fact, since I am no longer a child and I have legal authority over myself (to a certain extent, but that’s another story), another’s opinion cannot affect or touch me unless I allow it to.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to abdicate authority and responsibility for myself, by accepting the premise that another’s opinion can affect me and dictate to me what I should and shouldn’t do simply because I am used to others having authority over me and since childhood have accepted that it is a reality and fact that others can and will have absolute authority over me, even know I know instinctually that it is not physically possible
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to experience bitterness and blame towards the person who exerted authority on me within blaming them for how their behavior makes me feel, when it is in fact a decision I have made on my own, to create and accept that experience as real, instead of realizing that their behavior is habitual, and that they equally as I, have learned to behave this way from adults in their childhood
When and as I see that I am accepting and allowing myself to react to another making an absolute statement within an opinion where I experience that feeling of being trapped and invaded upon, I stop and I breathe.
I realize that no one can exert authority on me in this context and that I don’t have to respond in any way to their opinion
I commit myself to push the point of seeing how I can support another to realize that they cannot make automatic assumptions about being right and to, if I see that I cannot support them, to simply walk away, not respond or just smile and nod as it is pointless to argue with someone who assumes that they are automatically right.
When and as I see that I, in conversations with another am making assumptions that I am automatically right, I stop and I breathe.
I realize that it is physically impossible for me to automatically be right and therefore that I can be missing out on so much by making this assumption, including creating consequences for another by treating them as inferior to me
I commit myself to humble myself and to remind myself of this whenever I experience myself as superior to another