Steve Pavlina recently wrote a blogpost named How to Bypass Resistance (does the title sound familiar?). He begins with a quote you might have heard from the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer:
All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
Which he translates to fit the personal development field:
All growth passes through three stages. First, you’ll be ridiculed. Second, your efforts will meet with serious opposition. Third, you’ll be accepted as the new person you’ve become.
I was very intrigued by his post, because he found a way to bypass the first (ridiculed) and second (opposition) steps when writing.
Early in his blogging life (2004) Steve noticed that whenever he wrote about big transitions or controversial topics as open relationships or D/s-play some of his readers criticised his ideas and actions (i.e. step one and two). In the beginning, the transition to the third (acceptance) step would take quite a long time (he doesn’t write how long). But as he got used to the script he got it down to 1–2 days. In 2011 he wrote about a 30-day trial learning music composition and just as he expected he got no critique from his readers. This made him wonder if he could bypass the first two stages completely and skip right to the third stage for all blogposts.
As he began thinking about the posts he noticed a pattern: He was always expecting critique for all those blogposts he had received critique from. This led him to ask the following questions:
What if I stopped expecting resistance in areas where I’d previously expected it? Would the criticism still happen?
Were people criticizing me because they objectively didn’t like my ideas? Or were they criticizing me because I was broadcasting incongruence, defensiveness, or the expectation of criticism?
So he began to experiment.
When he didn’t write defensively and didn’t expect any critique he didn’t receive any critique. When he expected critique he got critique.
I found this very intriguing. While reading this I noticed similarities with other topics. If you broadcast defensiveness when you speak you’re more likely to receive critique and people are more likely to think that you’re wrong. I then extrapolated it to other topics such as having the sort of conversation/physical touch you like to receive. I’m very closed as a person and that causes people usually not to be very touchy with me, even if I actually appreciate it and long for it. I knew this was because I wasn’t broadcasting myself as open and touchy, but didn’t really think of it as being defensive.
I also listened to a podcast last year where one of the topics they discussed were how to date/approach and connect with women authentically, i.e. not through any game. One of the participants said that when you’re authentic, create a connection, and care about an individual everything is possible. He continued with sharing an interesting story that sort of blew my mind. He was traveling and in a new city and went into a café. He has a habit to try to sit next to another lonely person so he sat beside down beside another girl—of course both asking if she was OK with it and seemed OK with it. She was quite happy to have a conversation partner and they talked intensively for a couple of hours. He then started to notice that he began having some sexual attraction and felt that there was something in the air. So he said something like “I feel very sexual attracted to you. How do you feel?” without any expectations. She felt the same and the two of them ended up being together all the time while he was in the city and became quite good friends afterwards.
This story fascinated me, and I saw that I could use this approach not only in dating but in basically any area. If I communicate genuine interest and aren’t obsessed by the outcome I can communicate what I feel at the moment without coming across as weird. More easily said than done though, as I usually have my defenses up. Reading about Steves post made me realize that I can’t really be genuine if I’m being defensive and afraid at the same moment.
My next project (probably my next blog post too) will be to break down my defenses and show more of myself to everyone 🙂
Ultimately you decide what type of responses you will get depending on how you are and how you behave.