The key to understanding other people’s truth

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Let’s Clarify Truth

The distinction between The Truth and Your Truth is simple: The Truth refers to observable fact while your Truth refers to your experience of a given situation.  The example we use in the ADW Companion is of the sun rising.  The factual Truth is that the sun rises in the East.  No matter where you are on this planet the sun rises in the East.  Fact. 

Experience and opinions are not the same

Your Truth is whatever your experience is of the sun rising.  You may have intense feelings about the sun rising.  You may have no emotions at all.  Your body may cringe, it may relax, or it may gain energy (take a free online personality test to find out more). It is vitally important to clarify that our opinions and our truth are not the same.  An opinion is an idea of how things should be that resides solely in the mind. Our truth is our lived experience of how things are and it resides in our body, heart, spirit, and mind. 

The Key

The key to understanding our own truth is to listen to our heart, our body, and our spirit.  Notice the mind’s job?  Yes, that’s right, it’s NOT to talk or judge or argue or persuade: it’s to listen.

So when we encounter people who are different – especially people who are really different from us – this is the time for the mind to practice something else, something new, something deeper than talking at, judging, persuading, or fighting. 

Step one is to regain our curiosity.

Allow your mind to let go of any conclusions it’s trying to make, the time for action is later.  Now, it’s time to be curious.  We want to be curious about the other person’s experience.  Curiosity assumes we don’t know and the truth is, we don’t know what it’s like to live as the other person.  Only they do.  So, listen.

Step two is to take what we’ve learned and imagine what it might be like to be that person.
Imagine with our own hearts, bodies, and spirits the feeling and experience the other person may have had.  This skill is called Empathy.  It requires Curiosity and a willingness to imagine for a moment.

After Empathy, the third step is Valuing Difference.

It’s not tolerating because people were never meant to be merely tolerated.  Problems require tolerance.  People are to be valued.  If we’re out of our righteous Self-Protected brain and we’re in our open Connected brain, we can start to see that difference is valuable.  It’s enriching, enjoyable, interesting, and it’s often our best teacher. 

Lastly, we arrive at the fourth step.

This is the deepest skill, the one with the greatest reward, and often the one we forget.  It’s removing all of the conditions of worthiness we’ve been taught to place on other people.  It’s letting go of all rights to stay angry, afraid, or apprehensive.  It’s choosing to see that other person as deserving of having their truth and showing up wholly in the moment, just as they are. It’s love

The way to love, value, understand, and listen to others is to do this first for ourselves.  The more I can be at peace with myself, the more I can be at peace with others, no matter how different their hearts, bodies, or minds are from my own.  

Because truthfully, our spirits have always been connected.