Boundaries (Part Three, Wrapping Up)

by Megan M. on May 22, 2007 (Blog) |

(Part One and Part Two.)

Monkeysphere: This was an important bit in the (Not) Being Green discussion. A concept created by not William or Joseph but Robin Dunbar (that is, if I looked it up correctly), “Dunbar’s Number” determines the number of individuals with whom one person is capable of maintaining stable relationships. Dunbar’s Number has been popularized as the “monkeysphere”, which I think is just plain fabulous. I’m going to want to write about this more, but it’s still a very young concept for me, so I’m going to let it go for the moment and move on. Feel free to badger me about it later—especially the idea of “junkslots”, I like that a lot. Thoughts on Dunbar’s Number?

I, I, I, I, I

‘I’ statements are about feeling and owning our own stuff instead of slipping over into someone else’s stuff; at first this concept seems syntactic but it’s not, it’s actually semantic.

When using ‘I’ statements it’s also important to identify the real problem. It wasn’t that you were so late for lunch—it was that lunch is so very important to me. I also really appreciated how this was applied to dream interpretation, i.e., allowing the other person to feel comfortable rejecting my supposition if they feel it’s not appropriate for them personally. And this is great, this makes me think of process versus content, there’s no need to cross that line.

Threatened-feeling people stop listening. ‘I’ statements—and similar methods—assist in continuing the communication in a useful way. Other phrases that function this way: “In my perception…” “The way I understood it…”

The Perils of Ego-Centric Bias: It’s not all about me? What?

Every person on the planet can only see things from their perspective—the world revolves around me. Of course it does. I’m me! I’m the only person I could possibly be. And I’m the center of my own universe. If someone is experiencing a negative reaction, it’s not necessarily me they’re reacting negatively to. There are so many other things that could have happened. And then there are “landmines”—where someone has a trigger, and I unknowingly set off that trigger, so of course I get the brunt of the reaction. But that doesn’t mean it was me, and I don’t have to take it personally.

Clearing this up does amazing things. Sera said, “Then you can listen to their story instead of trying to make them part of yours.” And I really liked that.

There’s a psychologically proven cognitive bias—say it with me, girls and boys, and make sure to breathe—that supports these ideas. It’s not really all that “self-centered”—it can’t be. It’s too basic an idea, and “self-centered” is a concept full of traditional, cultural associations. It goes right down to the grit of what a human being is.

Additionally, I do always feel like it’s my fault. But, it always seems like it is. I have a hard time looking at it and wrapping my brain around the mere possibility that it’s not my fault. And I wonder about that. I hate to end on such an uncertain introspective note, but it’s food for thought. It’s feast for thought.

“Unsurprisingly, we advocate communication,” Pace announced in conclusion, giving us all a thumbs-up.

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