During the last year, I’d say since January, but probably longer than that, I’ve noticed a curious thing. I’ve noticed that problem after problem seems to solve itself without much effort on my part. I’ve noticed that I’m not applying much effort or force to solve those problems beyond perhaps, just monitoring my own behavior.
I’ve also noticed a continuous stream of things that I wanted coming to me. They were not all things I was aware of, but when I saw them and thought about whether or not I wanted them, I found that I wanted them and accepted those things as gifts in life.
As I considered my observations of the past year, it became clear to me that I’m living my life, to the greatest extent possible, in personal anarchy. When I interact with other people, my intent is to do so without using force of any kind. I’ve only begun to notice this over the last few months, and once I became aware, I began to articulate what I was doing in my mind, and then made a conscious effort to practice it every day.
When I’m dealing with unreasonable people, I don’t respond with retaliation. I let them do what they’re going to do and find a way to adapt. This isn’t to say that I support or encourage their behavior. I will still find a way, a path to what I want, but I do so without asking unreasonable people to change.
With my kids, I make a point to give them choices. And with each choice, I explain the consequences of those choices. When I think about the consequences I am about to describe to my kids, I make sure I’m not one of those consequences.
I don’t want to be a consequence for my kids (or anyone else for that matter) because I can’t be there for them all the time. I don’t want control of my kids because I want them to be internally motivated to do what’s right and what’s best for them. I can’t decide for them what that may be. But I can offer choices and natural consequences that correspond to each choice.
Parents often assume that they have to create artificial consequences in order to get their kids to behave in a certain way. Those consequences are punishment in a variety of forms. They can be seen as adult imposed solutions to unsolved problems. And those consequences change the subjective focus for the kids. With artificial consequences, the kids are now focused on the parents, rather than themselves.
So I don’t punish anyone for unwanted behavior. I will offer consequences for their choices for their consideration, and usually, I will point out how I will change my behavior in response. But I don’t do so because I want to punish them. I will merely point out that if you don’t cooperate with me, that makes it hard for me to cooperate with you. And I will try to keep the consequences “natural”.
A natural consequence of standing on a high chair is the danger of falling down. So I tell my kids that the floor is hard and that they will feel pain if they fall. Rather than yelling at them to get down, I just calmly explain the consequences and then they get down, carefully. They understand the consequences more easily because I’m not making myself into a consequence of their decisions and actions. The hard unfeeling floor is the consequence they’re considering, not me. I’m just the messenger.
This doesn’t always work with adults. When adults express anger towards me, I don’t explain much to them. I may try, but when people are angry, they think that force is a necessary response. It’s also really hard to think when angry. So I withdraw and let them think about it. I don’t respond in kind to their anger. That’s their dream, not mine.
Just because you’re angry, doesn’t mean I have to be angry, too. If you’re an adult, and you’re angry, you’re making a choice to be angry. Kids don’t always have that luxury without some modeling and training. When my kids are angry, I don’t get angry back at them. I just talk with them. With adults who are angry at me, I just let them be and get busy with something else. But I always leave the door open to talk.
Whatever the circumstances, I am making a choice not to use force. Well, if there is a clear and imminent danger, I will evacuate, but I will not respond with force unless I must defend myself. Yet, it is clear to me that when I make a conscious decision not to use force, the universe seems to reflect that back to me. When I make a conscious effort to err on the side of peace, again, the universe reflects that back to me.
This is how I think of my world. I consider the universe and all the beings in it, like a mirror. If I’m angry, they’re angry. Humans are imitation machines and they reflect back at me, what I’m feeling, what I’m doing. The same is true of all of the things in my life. I’ve just noticed that when I get angry, Murphy’s Law seems to be more relevant than when I’m at peace.
When I’m at peace, I’m open to negotiation. I’m open to conversation. When I open my door, other people open their doors, too. When I’m forgiving, other people are more forgiving. They tend to overlook minor errors and notice my intent more than my errors. I do that for other people, too. Combined, these attitudes allow me to navigate life without imposing my will on other people.
This is what I mean by personal anarchy. There are no leaders. There is no need for aggression. I am in a state of peace, and negotiation comes easy to me. I can get my needs met without using force on anyone for anything. That is my intention, and I start with that intention with every interaction. I start my day with an intention to err on the side of peace. I think this is the path of least resistance.
The path of least resistance requires no aggression, no force because cooperation and collaboration are built into our genes. All I have to do is make a suggestion and see what happens. I don’t take action to make things happen, I take action to see what happens next.
It is not possible to use force under any circumstances without having expectations. So I operate without expectations. When we exercise aggression, we have an unmet expectation and we want to correct for that expectation. Further still, we have an expectation that our aggression will get our needs met. So far, in all of my life, I have never, ever, seen aggression get my needs met. I really can’t think of a single example where that worked.
I have no need to use force. I have no need for aggression. I’m extremely resistant to anger because I have tamed my anger. This isn’t to say that I never get angry. I just consider everything carefully before I allow anger to even rise. I consider the possible outcomes, past experience, and satisfaction with past outcomes before I allow anger to surface. So I let the feeling pass and then decide what to do. I do what I do with anger to remain at peace.
I err on the side of peace. I am always open to negotiation and conversation. I keep the door open. If anger comes up, I let the feeling pass and then decide what to do next. I give the people in my life choices. I even assume ignorance before malice. I assume that when people act poorly or exhibit aggression, that they lack the skills or experience to interact with me in peace and go from there. I have no need to add to their discomfort and act accordingly.
This is personal anarchy. It is a state of order, arising from a true desire to see what happens next.
Originally published at steemit.com on October 1, 2018.