Being curious in a judgemental world
I get myself into trouble sometimes with this because my intention is to never judge, it is only to love and explore. Even when someone is being THE WORST, when I am done ranting, I know that I am the same. That I perceive them to be THE WORST because I don't like the part of myself that is reflecting itself back to me in them. But I KNOW. I have the awareness and I explore it on my own time. Something I have learned is that we will ALWAYS judge, it is one of our tools toward enlightenment because we can use it to become more loving. Without judgment, we really can't explore our depths. When judgment becomes a negative thing is when you continue to do it without doing the work along with it. But anyway, sometimes I say things that people interpret as being pretty negative and I come off looking like a real jerk, when my intention is: "that is interesting. I wonder how this shows up for me." I am looking for an open dialogue, to be challenged and accepted.
I remember last summer I was in the car with my mom and my girlfriend, and I asked my girlfriend if she thought I was reactive. (Earlier in the day, I had said on the phone to someone "I am not reactive" and my brother and his girlfriend laughed and said that I was extremely reactive). So in the car I was pondering this. I haven't spent much time with my family in the past decade (I live 3,000 miles away from them) and while I was very emotional and reactive in high school, I don't consider myself to be that way anymore. I wondered if I had changed, or if I never really was and only reacted to my dad (we had a very stressful relationship for quite some time) OR if I still was and just didn't know that.
Anyway. Before my girlfriend had the opportunity to answer my mom freaks out and says "Will you drop it? I know why you are asking this." When in truth, she had no idea why I was asking. She was reacting like I was the same person I was when I left home, when I have changed so much. My girlfriend told me that she didn't consider me to be reactive, and I agreed. That part had changed.
In this space, my intention was to take a look at myself in a non-judgemental way. An exploration of perception vs. reality, self-awareness vs. other's awareness. How our history colors our present. My mom's history of me colored what she thought I was doing in the present. And my intent to not judge myself got me into trouble.
There was another instance with my brother where I had made an observation of my father: "it is interesting how dad's preoccupation with protecting his family in the future disconnects him from them in the present." I was stupid enough to think my intention was clear here (I used the word "interesting" for Christ sake)...but it wasn't. And he got upset. I was hoping to be challenged in a non-judgemental way. In which case I would arrive to the conclusion that I do the same thing and have blocked people out when I have been working on IR, for example). I arrived to that connection on my own, but I yearn for the conversations because I can't make every connection myself.
I consider everyone to be my teacher. The people who get under my skin the most, are my ultimate gurus. I explore myself through them, and anything I acknowledge about them, I acknowledge about myself. One thing I am learning is that when we change, we expect other people to see us accurately. When (especially if there is a long history), that is difficult to do. The only thing we can do is make sure our words match our intention and keep bringing unconditional love to the situation. I often expect people to understand exactly what I mean, because I often understand what people mean without them having to say much. But if I want to be truly heard, I can't assume people know whats in my head and heart. I have to make it known.