This evening I was made aware that I am subjectively failing. I am not meeting expectations of others.
Before hearing this report, I would have classified myself as happy.
If you had observed me as a cartoon, you might have witnessed me flying along, in the black and white cartoon shape of Sylvester the Cat. You would have noticed a single yellow feather held in each of my forepaws that I flapped as if my paws had opposable thumbs and my fore limbs worked like human shoulders, if not tweety bird wings.
There’s no rhyme nor reason as to why or who my forward progress persists in this vision. There is even less rhyme and reason as to what it is that keeps me aloft.
I will share a secret. They both derive from sheer positive will power.
Then as I flitter along up to an actual Tweetie Bird, the yellow being that has just a couple more feathers than I hold, says aloud, “Silly putty tat, you can’t fly.”
From the subjective perspective of a tweety bird, no putty cat can fly.
As the force of these subjective determinations seep in to my objective consciousness, they unleash an inner subjective wrath on my will power.
I glance stupidly towards you, the person glancing in at this scene unfolding. We lock eyes for just a moment. We both know what is going to happen next.
I plummet from the sky.
I have subjectively failed. I did not fail in my attempt to fly. (I was a successful flying putty cat for a while.)
I have sujectively failed because I allowed the subjectivity of another to soak in and cloud my own inner and real knowledge of what I was doing.
I was flying.
But once the subjective cloud of another clawed its way in, I failed to fly any further. I failed to make forward progress and achieve my goal. I failed to stay aloft. I crash to the ground, but you will not see the crash. (Maybe the subsequent remains of a crater…)
This account is a description of the Tweetie Bird Principle.
I have shared this concept of the Tweetie Bird Principle for decades. I am not aware of its providence. I might personally be responsible for some, if not all of it, or none of it.
That doesn’t matter.
My subjective failing is the result of two parties actions.
- A being that chooses to judge me, does so and deems me a failure, even if their judgment is not based on the facts of what their eyes show them. Then they choose again to communicate their subjective failure determination to me.
- My choice to hear them, to comprehend their words, to internalize those words and to accept the validity of their judgment despite the knowledge and facts that their judgment is incorrect.
I have no control over others. I can not control whether anyone engages in the first action.
I CAN choose not to engage in the first action myself.
I CAN choose to not hear anyone that would attempt to communicate the results of the first action to me.
I CAN choose not to internalize those words.
I CAN choose to pay attention to my real progress and results and abilities and not let a subjective outside perspective overrule what I can see, feel, hear and know through my own volition.
I have another option. A way to help the putty cat avoid the fall or at least the impact of the fall.
I can read this article. I can rewrite the tweetie bird principle (as I have done here) but in the words that I am feeling at the time.
I can know that the subjectivity of others need not bring me down when that subjectivity diverges from my reality. (This is not a case where I am trying to convince myself of something that is not real. The goal is not to ignore objective realities.)
I can choose to recognize the subjective failure assessments of others and disregard them when they are not accurate.
This is even more important when those failure assessments come ‘mid-flight’.
Simple Example –
- If someone says “You can’t fly.”
- Review, to check if you know, see, feel and experience the reality that you ARE flying.
- Then, Do not believe the subjective failure assessment. Do not make it a reality.
- Go through the above, recognize the subjectivity of the information that has been shared.
- Promptly disregard it.
- Continue flying.
It’s like a spell to receive one of these subjective failure notices.
It is also like a counter spell to fend one off.
There is a process for both, a practice.
All of us are capable of knowing that any person we might encounter might have an extra crappy day such that their negativity might infect our outlook, our capabilities, our results.
Knowing this is possible is like knowing that we might climb Mt Everest.
Knowing this thing does not make it so. Knowing it is possible does not give us the skills to do it.
So to actually do it, to fend off this negativity hit. I am sharing this one example of how to deflect it.
Another equally valid way is to verbally call the sharer of this type of thing, to call them on their actions.
It might go something like, “Thank you, I have never considered it from that perspective. You might even be correct.” and then flying on and giving it as much further thought as necessary but not internalizing it.
It might also go something like “Don’t dump your negative bullshit on me and try to bring me down.” (note this might help you avoid falling from the sky, but what really has happened here is that you have fought Step 1 by turning the attack back on the attacker and attacking them with Step 1 too! You have judged their actions and expressed that subjective judgment. They might feel even worse, drop down another level and the exchange will turn to an argument or fight. At best, you might escape unharmed personally, but you will have harmed them to escape.)
I’d love it if you have other techniques whether perfect or imperfect. Please share what works for you below, but I’d ask that you take that extra introspective step of reviewing your own method to determine if you are escaping and doing no harm or if you are harming others to protect your own retreat. I am not dismissing this latter effort. Sometimes we do the best we can.
I do think it is helpful to learn multiple ways. Practice and knowledge can help us improve. Some imperfect practices might even be refined into a more perfected alternative as well. Let’s explore and find a good way!