By Silvia Mordini
Human beings are tribal in nature. It is part of our social evolution. “What tribes are, is a very simple concept that goes back 50 million years. And it’s something that people have wanted forever,” says Seth Godin in his book Tribes. We are raised in community and from the very start of our lives we have other humans around us. Nature mimics this in how animals live in packs, schools, flocks, gaggles, herds, and prides.
Yet for as natural as it is to live in tribes, we often struggle in getting along with others.
Although it’s one of the first things we learn in kindergarten – to share and play in the same sandbox – it’s not always easy. We all have that difficult person in our lives who challenges us within the tribe. And the answer is not to kick them out or you yourself leave the tribe. That is simple avoidance and at some point one of two things will happen if you follow that plan: you will run out of places to run, or everyone will be kicked out of your tribe and you’ll be by yourself.
No matter how much we meditate or practice asana, we still need others to help us dismantle the walls of our isolation and remind us of our belonging. We are wounded in relationships, and we need to heal in relationship. In fact the most difficult yoga we do is the yoga of relationships.
“No one can find inner peace except by working not in a self-centered way, but for the whole of human family.” -Peace Pilgrim.
3 blocks to positive relationship include:
1. Assuming you know what the other persons intentions are or what they are thinking. We should do our best not to try to mindread. Everyone has their own story, and it is not the same as your story.
2. We talk too much, listen too little. Like the saying goes there is a reason why you have 2 ears and only 1 mouth.
3. Jealousy and good old fashioned envy. The “I want what they have” mentality.
“The most important singular ingredient in the forumula for success is knowing how to get along with people.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Here are 5 suggestions we can implement to get along, thereby promoting connection instead of merely tolerance.
1. Take responsibility for being clear in commmunication
2. Turn down the volume on your need to be right. Check in with your motives by asking yourself: Would you rather be right or be happy?
3. Practice being less self-critical and you’ll equally get better at being less criticial of others. “The capacity for getting along with our neighbor depends to a large extent on the capacity for getting along with ourselves.“ – Eric Hoffer
4. Stop measuring what’s in it for you. Be nice anyway.
5. Stay focused on what’s important. Let go of the petty annoyances.
“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.“ – Chief Seattle
In the end, the degree to which we get along with others in our tribe is based on the quality of relationship we are having with ourselves. And just like we can’t cut off, get rid of or ignore the shadow parts of ourselves we cannot justly exclude anyone from our Human Tribe. There is no them and us – it is all just “we”. In other words, we all belong to the same tribe. And don’t buy in to anyone that says we have to pick just one tribe. You belong. You are important. And you are ALL part of my tribe.
Love yourself, love your day, love your life!