Archive for the 'defensiveness' Category

New Year’s resolution 2015

March 15, 2015

I didn’t think about New Year’s resolutions when the calendar turned this year because I was so busy with my mother and her affairs.  But now that she is gone and buried and her affairs are at a point where they take up less room, at least temporarily, on my plate, the question of what I want to work on this year came to my attention.

I decided I want to work on my defensiveness.  I know it gets in my way.  It gets in other people’s way, too, I think.

My next thought was a memory of Willy sitting in an office with someone who was supposed to help our family, about whom I had my doubts and suspicions.  And there he was, sitting on the couch in her office, leaning back and with his arms so undefensively crossed above his head, his torso exposed (beneath shirt, tie, and jacket), talking so genially.

I can’t say how effective his attitude was in that situation, and I know it was not self-consciously produced.  But he was offering no resistance, and that, I am pretty sure, can be a good thing in some situations in which I unhelpfully introduce my baggage of fear about what may come next.  The thing I want to try doing is staying in the actual moment and worrying less about where it will lead.  I don’t mean suspending my practical judgment and not making a photocopy of an important document before I send it out, but I think there is a point of balance that I have overshot; perhaps I have learned to overshoot it, but we can unlearn survival skills that got us through one situation that are now getting in our way.

So that’s, I think, going to be my approach, to try to stay in the moment, discern what I am called on to do without so much concern about what comes next, what sort of a limb I might be going out on or what trouble might ensue from the other end (will the office process my paperwork correctly and how can I, in how I prepare it, guard against it doing it incorrectly, for example) — I want to try to wait to see, to wait and see, and not get all tensed up about it.  I want to put my best foot forward instead of arranging it according to what I think may come next.

I got a sense of what that would feel like both when Willy died and when my mother died — it was as if I got a preview of how I could be, and I have to say, it felt great.  It wasn’t irresponsibility but something like allowing everything to take its appropriate place.  Having gotten that preview, I have to figure out a way, I think, of how to develop organically to get from where I am to that place — the sensation and attitude did not stick.

I think this may apply to personal relationships as well as to business contexts.

We’ll see.  At the very least, I am hoping that I feel lighter, that I feel less regret that I have contributed unnecessarily to the creation of vexed interactions with others.  I am pretty good at figuring out what I want to do in other ways so that I have least regret, but I think I have not yet addressed how my defensiveness can produce difficulties in that regard.

In some ways I think it’s a question of editing out that aspect in my presentation of myself to others — I doubt I will have no concerns about what will happen next — but in other ways I think it’s about “turning things over” more — I tend not to turn over my love life or my bureaucratic life enough, I think.  That would be about feeling less of the concern that produces the defensiveness in the first place.  If I give more space for the universe to work in those situations in my life, I am hoping I will feel greater peace, the sort of sensation I got a preview of when my loved ones died in my presence.