It’s All a Matter of Choice

September 22, 2014 Post Comment Uncategorised
I met an old friend last week and, in the course of our
conversation, he told me he no longer drives because he ended up hating it. When
behind the wheel of a car, he would get too stressed out by other road users, so
he extricated himself from the equation.

It is a conversational thing, I know, yet have you
ever noticed when a person has described an event where they were “subjected
to” something in particular, or someone in particular. Of course the meaning
they wished to convey was that this “subjection” was perpetrated upon them and
was out of their control. Their patience and tolerance throughout this
“subjection” was sorely tried and tested. Other people may not have found this
quite such an irksome and taxing experience, yet – for the relater of this
happening at least – it was a decidedly aggravating burden to have to endure.
Of course this all boils down to cause and effect.
When we are “at effect”, then we are often
“subjected to” a whole range of things outside of us. This subjection feels
almost like subjugation, because we buy into being utterly convinced by the
undeniable reality of it all.
At some point along the timeline of this draining of
tolerance people will begin to object to what they are being subjected to.
“I object to that,” they might say. “It should be halted in order to allay my
objections.” Or, to put it in a much shorter form, “Just stop it will you?!”
In the very act of objecting we seem to lose our
grasp upon the almost yin and yang nature of the inside-out versus the
outside-in world. This is a world where we cannot embrace what is happening, we
can only brace ourselves against it – a world where we often end up feeling
powerless victims. It is a world where the thing we are objecting to being
subjected to is inversely proportional to our power to stop it, in the moment.
The more power we lose, the bigger the subjection
becomes and the greater our objection to it

Often, as a result of our mounting objection, we
might be driven to act. We might change our behaviour in a particular way so as
to convey our sense of objection.
Our behaviour becomes predicated on the level of
subjection we are affected by – or is it the level of effect we are subjected
to. Our decreasing sense of objectivity also reflects this, and we end up
getting the whole thing completely out of proportion.
Now the way I have described all of this might sound
like it was derived from a students’ lesson in English language, all about the
construction of a sentence. ­­­­­
However, there is another sentence running parallel
with the outer, verbal and semantic elements here. And this ‘other’ is a
sentence that we find our inner selves running in our own unique inner language
– the Language of our Self.
with Ourselves
We all have our own unique language, the language of
our identity, if you like.
As we grow and learn verbal language, we gain the
ability to express our inner sense of identity. We call it “I” – or we might
label it as our “Ego”. Yet, before we have even learned the means of
communicating one verbal word, we are already personalising our world, by using
and developing our own unique inner language. The older we get, we realise that
this too has a word – a particular label in verbal language. We call it our Personality,
or our Character.
Of course, we are who we are – aren’t we? 
Yet all
the while that inner language of Self is changing, adapting, bending, shaping,
growing. We might convince ourselves that, at some point early in our lives,
character-wise we are starting to become “set in stone” – yet this is not
entirely true. The nature of our nature is transient not permanent.

However, the supporting of this myth by our verbal language takes place far too
easily – and on a daily basis. 
“We are who we are” should really
morph into “We become who we become” – yet we get exceedingly adept at
setting our Selfs in stone. We hand over some of our power for change to the
power of the language we have learned to use. 
The meaning of every sentence we serve ourselves is
conveyed via our own unique inner language.
If we place our Self as being the subject of every sentence, then our
view of the World, our place in it, and our relationship with every part of it,
will be formed from having taken that perspective. We will feel subjected to
Life, from that perspective, can often collide with
our subjective sense of Self. We may feel the need to control those collisions
in order to make our lives run smoother. Our Worldview then comes into conflict
with the Worldviews of others and certain forces of nature – for we will not
always be able to control everything we want to control.
We are then told we are “learning about the way life
is the hard way,” and our sense of Self – expressed via our inner language –
changes, morphs, adapts, and consequently we also learn more about ourselves.
For us the formula is simple – the less we adapt and
learn, the longer the collisions and conflicts continue, and the harder Life
Now when we examine a particular sentence and remove
our Self from being the subject of
that sentence, then not only does the meaning of the sentence change for us –
but there is a chance that our entire perspective changes for other sentences as well. Our behaviours
are no longer predicated on the premise that we are the subject.
We are no longer subjected to the things the world
in general might throw at us, or serve up for us. We no longer take things so
much to heart; we no longer over-personalise things too much. Events, remarks,
opinions etc are like water to our “ducks
An esteemed colleague once described how he overcame
the sense of personal violation felt as a result of a burglary. A burglary is a
highly subjective experience, we would all agree – and can leave a damaging
psychological legacy, referentially supported by our natural tendency to place
ourselves as the subject of the act (or sentence).

By changing the perspective and placing the burglar as the subject, he already
felt different, By describing the act of burglary as being “a different
business model” to that of someone else entering the house for perhaps a more
legitimate purpose, yet another perspective was taken – this time of the
subject’s predicative behaviour. This perspective further dissociated his sense
of Self from the sentence! As a result he felt completely detached from being
“the victim.”

The choice of how much we “subjectify” events in our
World is entirely ours. When we deny this fact, we are investing some of our
identity in those events. We say they “matter” to us. We amplify our placing
ourselves as the subject with
emotion, as a convincer to ourselves that this is important to us – further
investing our identity.
So if we don’t
want to serve out the sentences we pass on ourselves, the simple rule of thumb is
to deconstruct the sentence and just check out who is the subject.
We might use the Four Cartesian Questions to help with this:

will happen if I am the Subject?
What won’t happen if I am the Subject?
What will happen if I am not the Subject?
What won’t happen if I am not the Subject?
And if you still hear that voice from within saying “Yes, but …” then consider whether or not it is just only about not being the Subject though isn’t it? For then there is never
the need to go down the route of having to object to anything.

That way, we can maintain the integrity of our identity.