In my last post, I discussed Disney Pixar’s movie Inside Out. I wrote about how that movie captures much of the essence of my book, The Stories We Tell Ourselves, in that it literally depicts those voices in our heads that tend to hold too much sway in how we interact with others.
At the end of that post, I suggested that we should live “outside in.” By that I mean we should allow others to share their stories and learn how to be fully present with them as they do so.
The best example I have of this “full presence” is to challenge yourself to not immediately think of your response in a conversation while the other person is still speaking. Choose to provide your time and full attention to the other person so that you can receive as full a picture as possible of what they’re trying to tell you.
This should ultimately assist you in not making up stories about them (or the situation being discussed), providing you with a relatively more objective viewpoint from which to consider even the most troubling of circumstances or relational stressors.
When you choose to live “outside in,” you can take in what the world offers you instead of always needing to place your own (highly subjective) interpretations onto it before you truly have enough factual information to make an informed decision about the issue at hand. This is better than making an emotionally reactive choice based on the stories you’ve been telling yourself.
The next time you have the opportunity to quiet your mind while in conversation, make yourself do so. Try to be fully present so the Inside Out voices are quiet enough for you to live outside in.