The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Trees and forests

Personal development is often seen as an endeavor to transform oneself towards a better version of oneself. A possible path then becomes one that invites a thorough look at oneself to discover what it is one wants to change.

If that investigation is supported by the story, one tells oneself, one’s inner critic, one’s inner dialogue, or any other element of one’s inner theatre, there is a good chance that whatever is being found will focus on details one is uncomfortable. Usually those one judges oneself by.

Humans are wired for comfort, or more precisely, for avoiding greater discomfort. And, humans will easily believe that their discomfort is unique to them. They’ll then assume that they have to get rid of it.

Other people’s discomfort will not always be easily visible. And when it is, it will rarely be associated with the same cause one assumes. Thus, one’s discomfort may seem unique, and dealing with it oneself may then seem logical. However, it is also a way to resist one’s own experience.

Another perspective on the same subject is to explore the experience one is surrounded with. That is the experience other people have as well as the learning they have developed from it. Exploring that experience is a bit challenging. Much of the learning people do is based on failures, which is something people may not be willing to share. Successes that develop from one’s learning are more comfortable to share and expose less. Something similar is true for situations people keep doubts on. Sharing those leaves them on the edge of having failed or being arrogant. However, these are connecting experiences. It happens as people recall emotions they recognize within the experience of the other.

It takes time and even more trust until such an experience can be shared. But when they are shared, they enable self-development by establishing what it is that one doesn’t need to change.

One could say that the latter happens by seeing the forest instead of the trees. Whereas the former is the result of seeing the trees instead of the forest.

Both perspectives have importance. Growth comes from the ability to switch between both perspectives and choose how to connect them.





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