Practice This One Thing and Improve Your Relationships Now
I have written articles before on ways you can simplify your life (click here to check them out) but this one focuses on simplifying your life by improving all of your relationships. When you stop and think about it, when your relationships are complicated, life feels complicated. One of the reasons we’re put here on earth is to learn to relate to others and share time and space with billions of other human beings on the planet. We are social creatures that are here to relate to one another. Therefore, it makes sense that when you improve your relationships with others, life is a much more enjoyable ride.
As a human being, you have a strong instinct for survival. This instinct to survive is connected to the ancient parts of our brain located in the lower region called the reptilian/limbic brain. This is the oldest region of the brain designed to help us survive by signalling threat and danger from outside forces. When it gets activated by a “perceived” threat, it will instinctively do what’s necessary to survive. Thanks to the reptilian brain, the human species has been able to survive and evolve over thousands of years by avoiding or fighting various real threats (fight or flight).
In the modern world today, man’s survival is no longer steeped in life-threatening circumstances, yet our reptilian/limbic brains can still get fired up during everyday human interactions and react as if it’s very survival is threatened. Today, we are facing a neurological opportunity to nurture what is referred to as the “new brains” which includes the neocortex and pre-frontal cortex. You can heal the old reptilian/mammalian brains and create new neural connections – thereby engaging newer, higher, more evolved brain structures – the neocortex, the prefrontal cortex.
If we collectively begin to wake up and engage the higher brain structures, we will evolve into a species less pre-occupied with fighting, fleeing, feeding and fucking. Rather, our energy will be motivated by higher states of consciousness like selfless love, peace, and creativity. This article teaches a very basic practice that can help to engage the new brains, moving you (along with everyone else) along in this crucial evolutionary opportunity and process.
(*If knowing more about this opportunity inspires you, I encourage you to check out “Power Up Your Brain” by David Perlmutter & Alberto Villoldo.)
One very powerful, yet misguided tactic man uses in order to survive is its perceived “need” to be right. When you are in everyday interactions with a spouse, co-worker, mother-in-law, or stranger on the street, your reptilian/limbic brain’s survival instincts can get triggered if you don’t become consciously aware of what’s happening. The reactive forces of this region of the brain can hijack the more evolved new brains, having you believe that you won’t survive unless you can somehow prove that you are right. Of course, this happens within seconds and you are not consciously aware that this is your reptilian/mammalian brain triggered by the fear of extinction.
Considering these complexities of the brain, it’s no wonder you’ve been trying to prove your point over and over again. Don’t sweat it! We all have this brain mechanism – some more intensely than others. Becoming aware of it is the first step to learning how to evolve beyond it.
The egoic mind, which I believe to be connected to the reptilian/mammalian’s instinct for survival, is so identified with its incessant stream of thoughts and opinions, that it becomes possessed, so to speak. When you are ruled by the egoic mind, you lose your ability to tap into your true essence which is loving, open and neutral. This state of mind interrupts relationships and ignites deep suffering.
Eckhart Tolle reminds us about the egoic mind at work…
There is nothing that strengthens the ego more than being right. Being right is identification with a mental position – a perspective, an opinion, a judgement, a story. For you to be right, of course, you need someone else to be wrong, as so the ego loves to make wrong in order to be right.
Here are some questions to reflect on within yourself as you consider how to improve your relationships.
- Do you often find yourself arguing with others in an attempt to prove that you are right?
- Have you had relationships suffer or terminate due to disagreements or a strong need to be right?
- Do you often believe that you are “right” and others are “wrong”?
- Do you listen to others and hold space for their opinions, beliefs and perceptions, or are you busy thinking about how you’re going to prove your point.?
- Despite a desire for harmony, do you find yourself in constant conflict with others?
- D0 you resent others when they don’t agree with you?
- Do you expend time and energy trying to prove that you’re right? i.e. researching facts to support your position, writing emails explaining why you are “right”, or arguing with others on Facebook?
- Do your stress levels rise when you are perceived as “wrong?”
- Is your general state of peace and well-being (physical/mental/emotional) impacted by a pre-occupation with being right?
If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you might consider the following practice in order to improve your relationships and simplify your life.
Whether you believe it to be true or not, start a practice of saying, “You know, you may be right” when you find yourself beginning an argument with someone. You can say this out-loud to the other person, or quietly inside as a reminder to yourself that you value peace and harmony over being right.
If you have a spouse, lover, friend or family member that you find yourself in conflict with regularly, you might even invite them into this practice with you. If you’re doing this with a partner you can include an agreement to engage this practice at the beginning stages of a charged or heated discussion. You can agree to pause, breathe and say to one another, “You are right,” or “We’re both right.” However, do not have attachment to whether they’re inspired to participate with you or not. They may not be ready to let go of this habit just yet.
This is a practice that you get to start engaging within yourself if you want to improve your relationships and experience more harmonious, fulfilling ones. The more consistently you practice this, the more you engage the new brains. The more engaged the new brains become, the more you make contact with your higher consciousness… your true essence. More time feeling your true essence, means more peace, harmony and joy within all of your relationships.
Try it! You’ve got nothing to lose but the insidious grasp your egoic mind has over you and your relationships.
I would love to hear from you!
Let us know how this article impacted you in the comments below. Your experience and insights are invaluable to others. You never know who you might help by sharing.
P.S. If you or anyone you know is in the midst of painful and conflictual relationships, don’t hesitate to share this post by clicking your favorite “share” buttons below. It might be the exact shift in perception needed in order to move from pain to freedom.
P.S.S. I am always available to provide personal guidance if you’re feeling stuck in any area of your life. Click here to find out how I can help.
With all my love,