Getting Real was the first self help book we read at the MPC, and more important than the reading, was the experience we got from it. Creating an effective culture for learning is a very complex task, especially at the microlevel we’re doing it. Every person counts, every interaction between two people, even if it’s as small as just an interchange of goodbyes, changes the culture we’re creating.
Susan Campbell’s advice proves to be most valuable when it is not just one isolated reader applying the advice to his life, but when a group of people get together with the purpose of understanding themselves.
And if we are to understand ourselves, the truth is our best bet for getting there. However, the truth is often very good at hiding herself. We hardly ever experience what is if we haven’t trained ourselves to do so, because our minds are deceived by the adherence of feelings, expectations, judgements, and believes on what should be happening. Our insecurities and our assumptions about the world often cloud our judgement. Learning to see what is, is a big step forward towards understanding and communicating better with others.
Not to say our emotions aren’t part of the truth, they’re indeed a very important part, but if we can separate and communicate effectively both the reality outside of us, and the reality within us, chances are we will be much more well understood. Being able to verbally separate what actually happened, and how that made us feel, I’ve experienced is the best tool for solving conflict.
Susan Campbell presents a dichotomy between controlling and relating. When we interact with others we find ourselves often trying to shape the situation to our expectations and how we believe things should be going, or trying to impose our thoughts on others, mostly because of two reasons, because it is safer for us and we avoid much stress if things go as we have planned, and because we believe we are right.
But how many times are we really right? Not just about us, but about what is best for others. How can we know what’s best for them if we don’t try to relate and understand them first? By letting ourselves be open to the possibilities of each moment, we can learn to let go of the stress caused by our expectations.
Getting real is about letting go of the fear of being honest with ourselves and of our need to control the outcome of each situation. It’s OK not to know what’s going to happen, it’s okay if other’s don’t do exactly what you expect, they probably know what’s better for themselves. It’s OK to go back and revise an earlier statement, to express mixed emotions.
And above all, getting real is about having the courage to be honest, to tell others how you really feel, to assert what you want and what you don’t. Not for the sake of other’s, but for yourself, because reaching a consistency between your thoughts, your words and your actions, is the key to living a successful fulfilling life.
12 questions to think a little bit more about what it means to get real:
- Susan Campbell refers to experiencing what is as to “whatever is actually going on in the present moment”, do you think this can be applied to the past as well?
- Transparency, how necessary is it? I mean, whatever happened to misterious?
- How can we know when to control and when to relate?
- What about feedback from people I don’t appreciate?
- How to know when I should voice my ‘wants’?
- How can we become better at recognising projections?
- Does such a thing as double revising an earlier statement exist? Would you do it?
- How can we hold difference when other people don’t even start to?
- Should we try to voice our mixed emotions even when we can’t quite put them into words?
- Do you think meditation is a good start towards appreciating silence?
- How can we get real in an ‘unreal’ society?
- Would you rather get real and not get things done, or control and get right? (In a company perhaps)