What Does Your Perspective Look Like When You Change Your Mind

What does your perspective look like when you change your mind?

Mindsets are based in the accumulation of identity, meaning, life experiences, and assumptions that each of us make about how the world, and the systems in it, should work.

Mindsets are also backed up by the accumulated cruft of judgments, frames, attributions, and other cognitive “ticks” that people exhibit in their thinking and behavioral choices.

Many of the aspects of mindsets are considered by individuals to be fixed: they are what they are and there’s little point in attempting to change them.

Some of the aspects of mindsets are considered by some individuals to be changeable: they can be grown, can shift, can be made to serve a person rather than the other way around.

Changing your mind can come in many forms: through seeking new knowledge, through taking on new challenges, through deciding what not to do, or even through seeking forgiveness and reconciliation with another.

The journey from here to there is important. But not nearly as important as it is for you to tell us what it looks like from that new perspective.

Grace from Here to the Moon

The steps toward forgiveness and reconciliation include the giving of—and getting of—grace.

We don’t often think about grace (other than maybe as a person’s name, in light of physical attributes, or as a ritual that some families perform before a meal) but the fact is, there used to be public, shared discourse around grace, regardless of politics, emotions, educational attainment, or material situation.

This was grace in the Christian conception of such a term, meaning “God’s unmerited favor.”

Webster’s New World College Dictionary provides this theological definition of grace: “The unmerited love and favor of God toward human beings; divine influence acting in a person to make the person pure, morally strong; the condition of a person brought to God’s favor through this influence; a special virtue, gift, or help given to a person by God.” This definition is based in virtue harkening toward a strong moral core.

Another way of framing grace is that it is getting what we least deserve, when we least expect it, through no effort of our own.

Getting grace implies faith and surrender.

Giving grace implies forgiveness and reconciliation.

Understanding and appreciating the depth of the need for grace and the skillset to give grace is implanted in people through developing a strong moral center.

This is deep and dark waters though, because moral centers (and the ballast that undergirds them) are so very rarely considered by individuals at depth, much less by societies at scale, in countries where the Church is no longer as powerful a moral force as it once was.

We outsource parts of our emotional life to politics that we used to outsource to the Church. The Church used to be a bulwark of morality—even in the face of conflicts so detrimental and consequential that they used to escalate to World Wars.

But the skills that undergird giving grace—such as humility, obedience, and discipline—are harder to acquire now than ever before both individually and corporately. And when the skills that undergird giving grace are lacking, getting grace seems as unattainable as going to the moon on the back of a cardboard rocket.

Grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation; these are what the world—and our civil discourse—need now.

Pushing Your Chips Forward

“There’s a real lack of moral fiber,” he said, before launching into a story about local criminality, theft, drug smuggling, and a situation that—while murder may not have happened yet—was certainly in the offering.

“It’s almost like No Country For Old Men,” another party in the conversation quipped. Trying to recall the lines from the film, I misquoted, so I’ll quote accurately here from Ed Bell, played by Tommy Lee Jones [emphasis mine]:

“…You can’t help but compare yourself against the old timers. Can’t help but wonder how they would have operated these times.

There was this boy I sent to the ‘lectric chair at Huntsville Hill here a while back. My arrest and my testimony. He killt a fourteen-year-old girl. Papers said it was a crime of passion but he told me there wasn’t any passion to it.

Told me that he’d been planning to kill somebody for about as long as he could remember.

Said that if they turned him out he’d do it again.

Said he knew he was going to hell. “Be there in about fifteen minutes”.

I don’t know what to make of that. I sure don’t. The crime you see now, it’s hard to even take its measure. It’s not that I’m afraid of it. I always knew you had to be willing to die to even do this job. But, I don’t want to push my chips forward and go out and meet something I don’t understand. A man would have to put his soul at hazard. He’d have to say, “O.K., I’ll be part of this world.”

A person observes it happening and the temptation is to believe that it has always been this way. The sky has always been falling, and it’s always been the end of the world.

But the reality is, things really have changed and our conflict culture (which used to be focused around, first going along to get along) is now increasingly focused on winning at the expense of everything else.

When the clarity of fiction sheds light on the murkiness of facts, the problem revealed is deep at the core of our culture and society.

The further away culture drifts from a moral core, the harder civility and grace become, both as states to attain and as skills to practice.

We see this fact in our conflict communication, in the tools that ramp up and give power to the tendencies we already had, and in the interactions, we allow to happen to us on a daily basis.

How many of us are willing to push our chips forward and meet something, without moral fiber, that we don’t understand?

H/T to the Anonymous Storyteller who mentioned this to me.

[Strategy] Getting Resolution to Conflict When the Other Party Would Rather Not

There are always two sides to every conflict.

There is always a third side to every conflict as well.

But each party (or sometimes all parties) have little to no interest in getting to that third side. They like the feelings that being in conflict gives them—righteousness, powerfulness, attention and validation.

The party who moves past these desires and feelings and who longs for resolution may never achieve it with the other party. This can lead to feelings of frustration and sometimes even giving up altogether on the process of resolving the conflict.

There are a few things for the party that’s ready to remember, when addressing a party who’s not ready:

  • Forcing the conflict towards resolution disempowers the party who’s ready and empowers the party who’s not. It’s the same concept as the one behind forcing a screw into a hole where it doesn’t belong. The screw doesn’t fit, the person who’s forcing it gets more frustrated, the hole gets stripped (or broken) and nothing changes.
  • Before being at peace with the other party (the one who’s no ready) be at peace with yourself. Self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and spiritual growth are all required for the next step.
  • Be patient. The most unused resource in our world today is rock-ribbed patience. Ghandi had it, his followers didn’t. Jesus had it, his followers didn’t. Those are just two examples, but the point is, sometimes waiting on the other party to change involves just that—doing what you need to do to attain peace with yourself first and letting the other party do whatever it is that they are going to do.

Empowerment through patience, wisdom and personal diligence does not come overnight, nor is it a “get resolution quick” scheme. But it’s rewarding and life affirming, whether or not the resolution that comes about is the one that either party expected.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Advice] The Most Perfect Gift

What is the most perfect gift that you can give?

During the holiday season, particularly around Christmas, the societal stress level in the West, increases as people pursue purchasing the “perfect gift.” The inherent, human tendency to have “stuff,” pushed by marketers, advertisers and other consumers, is hyped through Black Friday sales and “deep discounts.”

Also, fear is pushed that a holiday celebration will be “ruined” without the attainment and giving of that “perfect gift” to that person in your life.

If we stop however, and remember that the point of Thanksgiving is to be reflective, and that the point of Christmas is to focus on redemption, then the hard part is not slogging through the mall, stressing over an online purchase or crowding into a retail space at the “last minute.”

The real hard work between Thanksgiving and the New Year is focusing on the active act of engaging in reconciliation and forgiveness with those whom we have harmed, and who have harmed us during the past year.

Financial outlay then falls to the bottom of the list and the true cost—in time, energy, emotional effort and spiritual development—stands revealed.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/