“You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce.” – Tony Gaskins

No matter what kind of person you are, life affords you many opportunities to learn from how you treat others and yourself. The information presented here is intended to be some fodder for contemplation.

A mindful approach:

Ellen Langer defines the practice of mindfulness as:

  • The process of actively noticing new things.
  • Relinquishing preconceived mindsets.
  • Then acting on the new observations.

We have a whole section on Mindfulness, where you can learn all about this life-changing technique.

Adopting a mindful approach can allow a creation of new categories or a re-categorizing of the key beliefs one uses to view the world. This can allow a playfulness to live in how we notice our reactions to seeming external events. This process may inspire one to re-examine how clinging to past experiences and categories/labels may not actually be very protective at all.

Another aspect of mindfulness is the openness to new information. Consider a relationship between a worker and their manager. Perhaps the manager senses that although the employees tasks are going well, misunderstandings are multiplying. The manager notices that the employee is categorizing him as rigid. Attuned to subtleties, he feels a lack of approval. Realizing that he and the employee are very different, but that he may see his style as inappropriate rather than different, he explains his behavior from his own point of view, saying how hard he tries to be consistent and predictable. The worker accepts the manager’s depiction of his behavior, now realizing the value of a success partner he can depend upon, instead of seeing these same qualities as rigid. The employee was able to make this switch because he, too, was open to cues, to another point of view. In the strongest relationships, this sets up a continuous feedback loop that keeps the partnership, collaboration, or team in balance, like an aircraft.

Once we become mindfully aware of views other than our own, we start to realize that there are as many different views as there are different observers. Such awareness is potentially liberating. For instance, imagine that someone has just told you that you are rude. You thought you were being frank. If there is only one perspective, you can’t both be right. But with an awareness of many perspectives, you could accept that you are both simply sharing your observations and concentrate on whether your remarks had the effect that you actually wanted to produce. If we cling to our own point of view, we may be blind to our impact on others; if we are too vulnerable to other people’s definitions of our behavior, we may feel undermined, for observers are typically less flattering of us than we are of ourselves. It is easy to see that any single gesture, remark, or act between people can have at least two interpretations: reactive vs. creative, spontaneous versus impulsive; consistent versus rigid; softhearted versus weak; intense versus overemotional; and so on.

This mindful approach can allow one to see into possible sources of inner conflict that leads one to treating others poorly or allowing oneself to be treated poorly.

“A perfect relationship, I think, is one that delivers the lessons we have chosen to learn. Likely it won’t always meet our definition of “bliss.” Likely it will include the toughest, most difficult lessons two people can teach other, lessons they would never abide from any other soul. But we humans are brilliant at choosing, with unerring precision, exactly the partners we need to learn what we must.” – Richard Bach author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull


-The invisible line we draw around us that defines to others who we are and how we want to be treated.

Our relationships are colored by both the subtle and gross attitudes, behaviors and spoken messages we give to others. If we are uncomfortable in our present relationships, looking into how we see ourselves can reveal the real problem.

  1. Recognizing that the way that others treat us is a reflection of how we are treating ourselves.
  2. Do you tell yourself that you are stupid when you make a mistake?
  3. Do you degrade yourself for the way you perform a certain task?
  4. Are you discontent with yourself in some way?

The way you see people is the way you will treat them. The way they see you is the way they will treat you.

So what roles, what qualities and what meaning do others in your life bring to you?
Do they determine the meaning, value and connectedness you experience?
Without the people you value in your life, what would your life be like?

The ‘5×5’ Rule

From James Altucher:

“You are the average of:
•The 5 people you spend the most time with
•The 5 foods you eat the most
•The 5 content sources you consume most
•The 5 habits you do most consistently
•The 5 ideas you pursue most”

You teach people how to treat you with how you treat you.

  1. If you don’t have healthy boundaries, if you don’t take good care of yourself, you in some ways have become prey to those who are seeking something from others. These energy drainers see you as an open source.
  2. Like goes to Like – What matters to you? Integrity, honor and kindness. Look for these qualities in others, seek out communities which are aligned with what you value.
  3. Embrace conflict as a means to understanding. Find out how people, communities and leaders you are interested in resolve conflict.
  4. Live in what you love. Surround yourself with the music, art, authors and resources that feed your passion and spark. Share the joy of what you love. The results you have no power to control.
  5. Don’t let society or others determine what gives you meaning. Find this meaning for yourself, and share it with those who will appreciate it.
  6. There are no guarantees that others will treat you the way you want to be treated. Patience, humor and clean communication can help you navigate the relationships that seem lost at sea.
    1. Car accident? Unlikely you influenced the other driver to hit you.
    2. People who have never met/interacted with you and they initiate an action/interaction — little to no teaching has likely occurred yet.

The “I Want” vs. the “I Am”

There are generally two kinds of relationships: the I Want’s and the I Am’s.

“I Want” Relationships – Centered around win-lose, push-pull.

“I Am” Relationships – Both partners are aligned with the same ultimate goal. You are always aligned no matter what you do. You don’t have to worry whether the other forgives you. You are both aligned. It is not about record-keeping and score-keeping. If you are both aligned in the same direction, you are automatically aligned. You are both aligned with forgiveness and supporting each other’s growth. It’s not win-lose – if you win, you just lost. To serve each other’s highest purpose – that gets you out of power struggles. You can be short-tempered and strained, but that doesn’t change your goals!

Take a look at the feelings below. How does one’s alignment with these affect how one experiences oneself and others? One is not better than the other, it is merely a different experience.

Denial / Wounded Consciousness

Shame – Life view is miserable. Prime emotion is humiliation. The wish to be invisible. Cruelty to oneself and others, paranoia, delusions, psychosis.

Guilt – Life view is evil. Primary emotion is blame. The endless victim. Projection and denial are prevalent in one’s experience.

Apathy- Life view is hopeless. Primary emotion is despair. Despair, hopelessness, one’s world and future look bleak.  Ones tends to be a drain on resources.

Grief – Life view is tragic. Primary emotion is regret. Ones sees sadness everywhere. There is a sense of constant loss and sadness. Regret and despondency prevail.

Fear – Life view is frightening. Primary emotion is anxiety. The world is hazardous and threatening. Insecurity results in the use of manipulation, jealousy, inhibition and authoritarianism.

Desire – Life view is disappointing. Primary emotion is craving. One sees value in “things” outside of oneself. Addiction, money, prestige and power run one’s life.

Anger – Life view is antagonistic. Primary emotion is hate. Desire leads on to frustration which in turn leads to anger. Volatility, danger, irritation and explosiveness.

Pride – Life view is demanding. Primary emotion is scorn. The basis for religious wars, political terrorism and zealotry.

Adult Consciousness

Courage – Life view is feasible. Primary emotion is affirmation. Curiosity, exploration, accomplishment, fortitude and determination. Life is seen as exciting, challenging, and stimulating.

Neutrality – Life view is satisfactory. Primary emotion is trust. An inner confidence blooms. There is no longer much interest in conflict, competition, or guilt. The attitude is non-judgmentalism.

Willingness- Life view is hopeful. Primary emotion is optimism. This view brings commitment to participate, open-mindedness, a genuine friendliness and helpful nature. Willing to face inner issues, self-correcting.

Acceptance – Life view is harmonious. Primary emotion is forgiveness. Taking responsibility for oneself, flexible and inclusive.

Reason – Life view is meaningful. Primary emotion is understanding. This view is marked by intellectualism and reason, as emotional states have been transcended. One is capable of handling large, complex data and making decisions about it. There is an increased capacity for conceptualization and comprehension.

Love – Life view is benign. Primary emotion is reverence/awe. This view is not dependent on external factors. One has a way of relating to the world which is forgiving, nurturing and supporting. Tend to augment the positive rather than attack the negative.

So depending on one’s life view, one would then experience and teach others values through their way of being. Those who teach hate, usually hate. Those who teach love and forgiveness, share those qualities and inspire them in others.

“Our secrets definitely keep us addicted, which is probably why there are online sites where people can divest themselves of their secrets, anonymously. But because shame happens between people, there is no substitute for telling on ourselves, so to speak, to someone else and making ourselves vulnerable. Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness. If it doesn’t feel vulnerable, the sharing is probably not constructive.” – Brené Brown, PhD

The only real security in a relationship lies neither in looking back in nostalgia, nor forward in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. – Anne Morrow Lindbergh

More Food for Thought

From Seth Godin’s Blog on marketing:

Here’s the thing: you get what you reward. – In what ways might we be rewarding our customers? What are we rewarding?

You attract the customers that respond to the way you act. You end up with what you tolerate. – So how are we acting? What are we tolerating?

You build what your audience demands. – What are they demanding?

You might not get the customers you deserve, but you will probably end up with the customers you attract. – What type do we think we deserve vs. what kind do we seem to attract?

Sure, you can swoop in and make the numbers by attracting a certain kind of customer. Is it worth it? – How do we qualify worth? What will we be willing to tolerate?


Wisdom from Bill Murray in ‘Groundhog Day’

The realization that he is going to re-live the same day.

He wants to know about what he wants, so that it will want him.

Embracing the process.

‘I’m a god…’

In Groundhog Day, Bill Murray’s character learns that he wakes up on the same day, every day. No matter whether he dies or falls asleep somewhere else, he awakes in the same spot at the same time. It’s fascinating to see how he learns to interact with people, knowing exactly what to say and what effect it will have.

The takeaway from these videos is that Bill Murray’s character learns to exude new personality traits. In finding/creating confidence, for example, he teaches others how to interact with a new him.
You can watch the full movie on Amazon here.