Learning to Communicate

For as long as I remember, I have been this person judged and admonished for being rude and arrogant. I have been direct in my communication to the point of aggressiveness. I suppose I lived all of my childhood with such deceit and farce of a “happy family and childhood” while hiding behind it being such a complete two-faced lie that my life was, I became extremely direct and truthful in my communication. There was no filter between how I felt and what I said, I didn’t care how my words affected the person in front of me. In my view if they couldn’t swallow the bitter pill of truth I shoved at them, it was their problem. After all, my life was about swallowing the bitter pill of life everyday.

Further, the lack of emotionally healthy people who had time or capacity to teach me emotional self-regulation and communication made it worse. I was little and picked on by many, the only defence were my sharp words and there was no way I was going to let go of them. I had a habit of launching physical assault in a fashion befitting my little-ness – I would just quickly hit the bigger family member of my generation with both my hands before they could grab both my wrists with one hand and immobilise me and render me completely helpless. This stopped one day when my aunt complained vehemently about this behaviour to my mother. From what I recall, she shamed my mother and scolded her for being incapable of “controlling” my bad behaviour.

My mother in her fiery temper tied my hands with a rope while scolding me and slapping me, asking me if I would ever do it again. After that day I was rendered completely defenceless and helpless. I developed an even more fiery anger and deep resentment and powerlessness over my ability to look out for myself.

Anyhow, I digress. This was why words came in handy until I ended up in a job I really liked and found out that everyone disliked my guts and arrogance. That people could not deal with my aggressive attitude and arrogance.

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Changing My Work Environment

My vow for kosen-rufu continues to provide me with a reliable steering wheel to determine the best direction for my life. - Ananda Gautami https://mynewhumanrevolution.wordpress.com

Last Sunday I went to the SGI General Director’s lecture. He spoke about his work situation, how last year he found himself in an increasingly toxic work environment with rampant bullying and back-stabbing. He started to pray to somehow be able to use his beliefs, abilities and values to contribute at work in the best way, somehow, whether it was this job or another one.

Earlier this week I went to a new group meeting. A new member, a young woman, was asking questions about how she wants to grow in her career and finds that she’s stagnated in her current job in what she can learn and where she can go. She had been praying to find a new job but hadn’t found it yet, how should she pray about it.

Her words and attitude reminded me of my old self – that saw a ladder to be climbed and how I had a path in my mind and if my life or my career didn’t match that path, I was somehow not doing my best or failing.

No, I didn’t burst her bubble. I tried to relate from my own experience. I saw she was stuck in the mindset of what the job is giving her rather than what she is contributing.

This conversation flowed into a self-reflection for me. I realised that I had not been praying about my job situation. When I asked myself whether I was able to contribute from my best self and whether I was expanding my contribution in the best way, or had I become complacent and was going along with the status quo? Funnily enough all of this coincided with events at work.

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Rescuing vs Supporting

As I was reading this post on the difference between rescuing and supporting this morning, I began to reflect on my journey to learning this valuable distinction.

When I first I got exposed to this concept, I took it to an extreme interpretation. I took it to mean that I must look after myself before I do anything for others. Or by helping them in a way they haven’t asked for, I’m rescuing them and taking away their opportunity to grow while spreading myself too thin.

Through my Buddhist practice embedded with life challenges over the last few years, I’ve learnt that this learning is a lifelong journey of the eternal truth of life. It is about how I always learn to find the “Middle Way”.

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Choosing what I want for my life

About six months ago, I read the Gosho and it’s study lecture – “Happiness in This World”, available freely here.

It took many times of reading it on hopeless days when I was suffering so much and in tears, not knowing how to transform my situation – alone, injured, in love with a man who didn’t have courage to be with me, living with a flatmate who wouldn’t even say hello or make eye contact with me, working in an office space having no natural light, feeling cut off from light, literally. There would be days I would go to the office and read the print of this page a few times before I could even get myself to do any work or be around people.

This morning while chanting in alliance with my friend in Melbourne brought me closer to the truth of this teaching.

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