Last night I was at a knowledge share meetup regarding the inner world and consciousness. I was exploring some ideas and perspectives with the group and one man interrupted a sentence and exclaimed: "What do you think is the one thing we're all here for?" After a pause and a few people mumbling that that was quite a question or not an easy one to answer, I said, "well, I'd have to tune into each person here and inquire about that, perhaps for a minute or an hour each and afterwards I could name what the most dominant answer or theme is." Before I could even get that entire sentence out he said: "Well that's just too complicated!"
Essentially, generalizations are designed to help simplify things. Instead of being overwhelmed by variations, one can make broad statements to make it easier to understand or relate to oneself, others or the world at large. There comes a point though, when it's time to dismantle the generalizations. Instead of being helpful they become harmful, in that they prevent us from truly being with each other, embracing difference, acknowledging uniqueness and accounting for the dynamic, fluctuating, diverse nature of self, others and the world. So, what generalizations or assumptions have you internalized that now is the time to dismantle?
The key generalizations that I feel are essentially necessary to dismantle are those such as: I'm too much, I'm not good enough, I'm not worthy, No one can...., Life is...., People are...., I am ...... It's those sweeping statements that can prevent us from truly knowing and being ourselves. They can also undermine our ability to make beneficial changes in our lives and relate in a space of love, trust and innocence. It's important to note that many of these generalizations were put in place at a young age and were able to take root due to having been accompanied by an immense feeling of invalidation, a shutting down of the heart, a sense of "I can't be as I am," and a desperate attempt to find a way to cope with that terrifying possibility. When we can find our way out from that heavy blanket of shame and underlying sense of doom, we can then begin dismantling those statements. I'm too much for who? Based on what? I'm not good enough for what? According to whom? How was that assessed? How could they know that? I'm not worthy of what? Who is the one to decide that? How could they know the truth of me? How do I know no one can ... How do I know for sure that life is ..... What is the benefit of deciding I know for sure who I am, how I am or what I am?
Freedom is at hand, from the invalidating effects of sweeping assumptions and broad generalizations. We no longer have to fight them, defend against them or prove that they are true or false. Instead we can bring attention and awareness to them so as to see through them, dismantle them with presence and acknowledge their function and their limitations. It may be easier to hold onto them, than to see the world without them. That is a possibility. It may lead us to feel overwhelmed or like it's "too complicated," but if we're up for that phase of transition, we can find our way through to the truth, beauty and richness on the other side. This is where intimacy is; The capacity to see, hear, feel and understand each other. No longer will we be putting things on people and trying to get them to match up to it, nor will we be lost defending for or against assumptions that we have of other people or other people have of us.
At some point generalizations don't keep us safe, they prevent us from truly relating, keep us from feeling, hearing, seeing and understanding everyone, including ourselves. That's when we know it's time to dismantle them.