Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Is it You, or is it Me?

When I was a child, my father taught me a little verse that has stayed with me throughout my life. I've no idea who the author is, but the words are pretty profound, even today.

He who knows not and knows not he knows not, he is a fool, shun him.

He who knows, and knows not he knows, he is asleep, awaken him.

He who knows not, and knows he knows not, he is willing, teach him.

He who knows and knows he knows, he is wise, follow him.

I know and I know that I know.

Long ago when I was lost in the hell of an abusive relationship, I didn't feel like I knew anything. I didn't feel. I turned off every emotion I could wrap my mind around and sank into despair. I shut down my thinking, tuned out of my senses and mired myself in not being willing to know what I knew was happening in my life. I stuck myself in 'not-knowing' what to do so that I could avoid doing anything.

Sure, I still read books to inspire me, but every word reverberated off the messages swimming in my brain, that I told myself I knew were true; Ha! this stuff is for everyone else, not for you. Ha! Easy for him to say, he doesn't have your life. Ha! Think positive. There is nothing positive to think where my life is concerned. And the biggie, Embrace life. Ha! How can you embrace life when you want to die, when you deserve to die, when you should be dead?

Now, those words were pretty limiting and self-denigrating. Even more importantly, as I wrote those words today, I started to write using the 'I', but realized quickly that back then in my unknowningness, "I" wasn't part of the picture, "You" was. I didn't claim my self-identity. I didn't claim my place in the world, I disassociated through the "You". I knew I wasn't 'worthy', and thus I separated from the "I" of my existence, and held myself in the "you".

I hear it often still today in other people's stories. "You can't really change until you figure out what you want to change," a co-worker said to me awhile ago when talking about losing weight. Thing is, I know that I can't really change anything until I claim the fact it's me who needs to change, not you.

Which statement feels more comfortable, aka powerful, for you, "It's hard to feel grateful for the things you have when you're constantly running to keep up." or "It's hard to feel grateful for the things I don't have when I'm constantly running to keep up.
In the second version of that sentence, the instance I use my "I" and put myself into the equation, I know I'm a victim. I know I'm letting go of my power.

Check it out. Watch your language today. Are you a habitual 'youer', or do you claim your place at centre stage of your words? Are you willing to be powerful in your own life by speaking in the "I" about yourself?

Do you know and know what you know? or are you willing to stand up tall and claim your right in I know and I know that I know.

Do it for a few days. Watch, listen, observe. Check out your language and check into whether or not you are "I-ing" your way through each moment, or letting yourself off the hook in the 'you-ing' of your life.

I first learned the power of "I" language when I was in my teens. For my Grade 13 biology class I chose a thesis approach -- I hated cutting up frogs. I pitched my teacher on letting me do a course for Grade 3 and 4 students -- the focus was to create a vicarious learning environment, to break down barriers of communication and to help the students focus their attention on who they are so that they could build better bridges of understanding with their classmates, their friends and their families.

One of the first classes I taught was on "I" language. Already at the age of 11 and 12, these students had let go of their "I" and stepped into the "you".

"You know, when you go to the movies and you just hate sitting there beside some guy who's got a cold and you can't move cause it's the last seat in the theatre and you know you're gonna have a cold by the end of the show."

'You' don't go to the movies unless 'I' do (and you can't actually have a cold in 2 hours!).

Is it you, or is it, ME?

The question is: The language we use is very powerful, are you willing to watch yours and get into the "I" of speaking up for yourself? Are you willing to step into your power by claiming your "I" at centre stage of your life?

No comments: