Today I was running in the woods. I stopped by at my favorite spot which is a small lake. Usually it is calm and quite there - and I am the only person. Today there was an old man with his two dogs. The dogs were enjoying a bath in the lake. No quietness!
I felt a bit puzzled but... I stopped anyway. After greeting the man he immediately asked me if I had a dog following. Obviously he did not expect people without a dog running through the woods. "No I don't", I said. "Oh, then you're just running? Moving is great" he said.
We stood a while at the lake. Calm. Watching his dogs. When I was about to leave he added "Keep up moving!". He said it in a friendly, empathic way. Usually a part inside me quickly feels offended. Today I wasn't at all. There was an open and humble older male human being with two dogs enjoying the calm lake in the woods.
I had a similar encounter with another elderly man about two weeks ago which was quite similar. Some years ago I would have felt quite weird. Today I do not any more.
Having leveraged different personality development models during the last years and having worked with systemic therapy approaches almost 15 years ago, I know there was that particular part in me not liking a certain "type" of old men somehow. With "not liking" I mean: there was an instant, emotional and physical reaction of heavy avoidance I was not able to fight against or even to categorize and to work with for years.
Obsiously working on your personality (or should I say: your mental system) needs not just hard work, but a pile of time, a pinch of patience and a bag of compassion... and new behaviour will have the chance to evolve.
Do you also experience those instant reactions which kick-in from time to time, be it in private life or in business? How do you work with them?
(note: this blogpost first appeared on blog.cosima-laube.de)