Being passive is associated with being aggressive or doing nothing. While passive can mean ‘to be indifferent’ —it can also mean laid-back, quiet, unflappable & receptive.
Becoming aware in a passive way, or passive awareness, is to practice watching, observing & paying attention without judging or trying to figure out what’s right or wrong with another person or situation.
Instead of thinking: “I’m right so you must be wrong” —with passive observation, the goal is to shift our focus from what we think we’re seeing (which would be our thought processes) & instead try observing the thoughts and how they relate to how we feel.
By example, imagine this situation: I’m pretty energetic. So I come home and I want everyone else to be on that same wavelength. If they’re not, I start wondering “What’s wrong with them? What’s the problem? Why are they raining on my parade?” In other words, I’ve made the others wrong.
Now, if I come home to the same situation, but try to practice passive awareness, I put the focus on me & ask: “Why do I feel uncomfortable when the energy of others doesn’t match mine? Why do I need them to respond how I want them to? They actually seem fine, but maybe a bit tired.”
With passive awareness, neither party has to be right or wrong. Instead, it’s just about observing that different people act differently in different situations.
Throughout life, we developed coping mechanisms, learning to “act” in ways we believed would be more pleasing to others. This helped us manage the emotions of those around us, while society simultaneously taught us rights and wrongs.
The result? When someone disagrees with how we feel, think or see something — we’ve been conditioned to believe that one of us must be wrong. We think that ‘if we can just explain our position’ — the other will understand their wrongness and our rightness. The argument develops because we think the other cannot possibly be listening to us if they don’t ‘get our point…our rightness’ or worse that we haven’t been clear so we start monologuing ad nauseam…or until everyone’s anger starts to elevate.
Passively observing helps us to see different perspectives…allowing all to co-exist and all be ‘okay’—whether we agree or not. Being open to passive awareness opens relationships & new life possibilities. Passive awareness is not being passive—but rather observing our thoughts before choosing a path of action.
If we can practice watching, observing, paying attention without judging, we can see others. When I only want to be right, I’m choosing my rightness over the importance of the other person in my life. In my heart, I know this is wrong.
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