One Day I Will Rule the World

World Domination, Babies and Middle Eastern Dance

February 19, 2011

And in this lies the need to be here together.

I’m in one of those weird spaces where I feel affectionate and forgiving about the whole world. Not sure how that came about, really.

Most of where I notice it is at work. There are projects that are coming together. Even though now is a really difficult time for it, my (almost newly formed, slightly transformed) team is starting to come together. And there are a lot of personal interactions that seem more positively charged this week.

If part of the change is in me, I wonder how much of a limb I’d be going out on to credit the yoga and the bits of meditation that I manage to fit in with the yoga. I am, I swear, as frazzled and spread-too-thin this week as I have been any other week. I am as sleep-deprived and exhausted this week as any other week. But I have more clarity, more grounding, more understanding, more confidence.

I think that often, as an introvert, I am really guarded in my interactions with people. It’s maybe not spiritually healthy, but it is entirely honest and appropriate for introverts to take care about what others might take from them or do to overpower them in social interactions. But as much as I would defend that as valid for introverts, that’s not the spirit with which I’ve been interacting just recently. I feel like this week in particular, I’ve frequently found myself in conversations with people, really seeing them and also much more vulnerable to them but not scared about it. When I would see someone do something that pushed someone else’s buttons, or even my own buttons, I would also have a lot of clarity about what motivated that action or speech. I would be able to mentally articulate, “that person is feeling threatened by this situation” or “that person needs very much to try to show us their intellectual worth right now, so much that they don’t see that their display is at someone else’s expense” or “that person is exhausted and caught between perfectly natural momentary irritability and fear that others will see them as fundamentally irritable if they give in to it.”

So that’s what I mean about affection for the world. My aunt used to say that she thought that the deeper you understand someone, the more affection you naturally end up having for them. I think there’s a lot of truth in that. Obviously you have more compassion for people that you care about. For example, you are more likely to interpret their actions in a positive light, to see how their negative or annoying actions stem from their histories, insecurities or other transient circumstances. Whatever it is, when you are feeling affectionate, you aren’t likely to ascribe those actions to some innate and permanent character flaw – not the way you can dismiss , for example, other drivers on the road as assholes and morons. So it stands to reason that if you have an understanding of someone else’s circumstances, you’re also more likely to see their negative actions compassionately.

Whether that begets affection or just mimics the compassion-effect of affection is kind of immaterial. But I do think that moments of understanding beget real affection, too. I notice in my family – that if Ian or I spontaneously get all, “OMG I heart you” it’s usually because one of us has just has just seen something that makes it clear how well we understand each other.

It is often not the positive aspects in the people we love that strengthen that affection – it’s just that moment of, “Oh that’s so them.”

Like how when Ethan does something to outsmart you and acts both humourous and smug about it, most of my family will go, “Hahahaa. Oh man. But hahahaha. I love that kid. But oh god what a kid.”

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