There is a problem with the way the world works right now. People do not treat others as equals. Regardless of race, age, creed, color, or sex, people have found a way to escape from treating humans with common decency. As we walk through our lives, we are disrespected at least once a day, and probably more than that. We are brought up in a world where winners are just that, they are winners, and because they win, we are supposed to revere and envy them. We are in constant competition, rarely is anything settled without a clear winner, and this is how we live.
We are the true essence of a Dominator Model in this sense. But we do not draw the line there. We can extend it out to personal relationships to. The line can be extrapolated because we, an editorial “we” mind you, treat our personal relationships in much the same manner. Arguments rarely end in compromise, and when it does it is not what comes naturally. So this is the life we have set up and in order to shift the paradigm we must first discover what is wrong and move on. We must attack the issues that keep us closer to Cro-Magnon man than evolved individuals. And that is what my intention is for today’s radio program.
One of the main concerns when talking about compromise is the fact that things end without one being over another; we are talking about ending things, in dominator language, in a tie. But we cannot look at this as being bad; we must look at this as being a win. This is what we are talking about, a complete paradigm shift which lends no glory to the dominator, or androcratic society. One of the keys to making this shift occur is to first recognize what is on the other side of the androcratic model, which is the partnership or Gylanic model. The Gylanic model is based on the idea of mutual well being, and for a society such as ours that has always pleasured male over female, straight over gay, etc this is a hard concept for us to grasp. Tearing these historical walls that have been built for us is the birth of a new paradigm. And there are many ways to get to this idea, I will focus on a few that will get us started, and hopefully it will snowball, over a period of time of course, but hopefully it will pick up steam and lead us into a society that places emphasis on every individual who resides in the realm of partnership.
Effective listening: This is one of the main concerns when shifting from androcratic to Gylanic models. Over time our conversational skills have excelled while or listening skills have fallen by the way side. We have seen great leaders, and great icons of pop-culture speak without listening, and it is not just something that the trained specimen can see, it is painfully obvious. In order to start us on our way this is the first baby step that must be taken. Emphasis needs to, once again, be placed on communication. Interruptions are just that, they interrupt that which somebody is trying to say, so we must understand that cutting somebody off from speaking is a facet of the Dominator Model.
Listen to those that you speak with, and let them know that you are listening. Showing that you are listening is not the most difficult of tasks, it is quite simple really. Here are some things that one can do to show that he/she is listening: eye contact, a simple nodding of the head when it is appropriate, not interrupting, are just a few things that could improve a conversation dramatically. It is amazing what you hear when you actually listen without having to speak at the same time. Too, this helps to create a comfortable environment, in which exchange is welcome. After a conversation and this is the true test, tell the person that you are speaking with what you just heard them say. It may be difficult at first, to be able to listen and not speak, and then to be able to reiterate what you had just heard, but it helps to strengthen a relationship.
“True Listening, total concentration on the other, is always a manifestation of love. An essential part of true listening is the discipline of bracketing, the temporary giving up or setting of one’s own prejudges, frames of references and desires so as to experience as far as possible the speaker’s world from the inside, stepping inside his or her shoes. This unification of speaker and listener is actually an extension and enlargement of ourselves and new knowledge is always gained from this. Moreover since true listening involves bracketing, a setting aside of self, it also temporarily involves a total acceptance of the other.”
– A Road Less Traveled
Scott, Peck [emphasis mine]
Now we will be moving listening, from just an aspect of everyday life, to the inclusion within interpersonal relationships. This is obviously a necessity in relationships, as is so stated by Peck, but true listening is not asking anything that is “easy”. It is work. In many relationships one party is always subverted under another party, and for this reason a successful relationship is hard to find. We must not think along the lines of mimesis either, because to find power through ones subversion of power, is once again striding to find a winner.
We must drop the idea of “the last word” or the idea that there must be a “winner.” Arguments can be settled within the parameters of effective communication. As Peck says it is an act of love, listening is an act of true love, and with the absence of true listening, true love in turn takes on another meaning. We are talking about moving from north to south here; we must learn that compromise is winning, and that there is not a single winner and a single loser. Listening is part of communicating, and in order to be successful, as is with anything else, we must be able to communicate. In summation being able to listen effectively is the first step in the long line of steps of communication, which must be taken in effort to escape the life of the Androcratic model.
I know that Rome was not built in a day, and that I am not going to change our society in one conversation about how to change, but I do want to focus on one aspect that will start us on the path of partnership, and that aspect I am focusing on is the aspect of communication. So I will not get into “bedroom” subject matter. The next aspect of communication that is important is called leveling. Virginia Satir says, “What the leveling response does is make it possible for you to live as a whole person … real, in touch with your head, your heart, your feelings, and your body.”
Leveling is a system in which we speak our minds but not at anybody’s expense. We speak without thinking that we might make a mistake, or we might be criticized, or impose on somebody. All leveling is is “responding to real people in real situations that permit you to agree because you really do” (Satir, Virginia). She uses The Matrix as one example. In the Matrix people are hungry for the directness that is offered by Morpheus, but not many are willing to except it. It is the reality that is stated through our own constructed reality. The “I” statement is the best way to begin the leveling process.
I feel . . . . (an emotion or feeling, not a belief)
Because . . . . (feelings come out of YOU and your various
Experiences in your life; explain the basis of your feelings rather than blaming or “psychologizing” the other person or yourself)
And What I’d
To do or see
Happen now is . .(how both of you can take into account one
another’s needs, and work toward an acceptable solution for/with each other)
It is the idea of taking responsibility rather than placing blame. It is very effective.
The final idea that I will discuss today is the idea of being a mindful learning. We are students of life, we are constantly learning based on what occurs in our lives. We must actually learn what we go through though. We must take the time and be energized in our lives in order to learn from mistakes that we have made, and hold on to the things that we do well. I suggest that we mindfully improve the way we learn so that we can create our own understanding of the process that will help live our quality of life. Become interested in your own live and it will create interest in others. Focus on the other person and listen to his/her stories and life experiences and communicate in an effective manner that will allow for a steady relationship.