Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Inside/Outside, Outside/Inside

Hello Readers,

I have a question for you:

In your experience, is it more effective to cultivate qualities of being from the inside/out, or from the outside/in?

Let me offer an example: acceptance.

The outside/in folk would say to cultivate acceptance of others, which would lead to a greater acceptance of self.

The inside/out folk would say to cultivate self-acceptance, which could then be extended to others.

Also, another question: do you think the answer to this question depends on whether or not the person in question is an introvert or an extrovert? Meaning, might an extrovert find it more effective to go about cultivation from the outside-in, and the introvert from the inside-out?

Please proffer your reflections--I'm eager to ponder your responses.

Oh, and thank you all for your kind comments; it feels right to be back. Perhaps I'll discuss my "retreat" (such as it was) in the future, but for now, what appeals to me more than that is to collect feedback on these questions from all of you.


  1. Interesting question!

    For me, I favor a simultaneous approach--anytime I can remember to catch myself being judgmental and manage to turn it around into acceptance is a victory, whether I'm judging myself or someone else.

    Unfortunately, acceptance is so much easier in theory than in the messy fallible frustrating real world!

  2. Crabby,

    Good point--no need to restrict oneself to only one way.

    Acceptance, (and everything else) IS messy in the real world!

    What I notice about myself is that I *appear* to be more accepting and patient of others than with myself, but I think that is an illusion.

    I think my external behavior is one thing, and true acceptance is something else entirely.

    But, we keep trying, right?

  3. I can behave both like a Sunny extrovert or a crippled recluse...for me it's about becoming balanced. And when I tell you the scales can tip, I'm serious.
    I really appreciate Crabby's comment.
    I must say that when I truly put forth appreciation for myself, loving myself, nurturing myself (which sometimes only amounts to not beating myself up) and allow compassion for myself and just honor what is, without having lofty or legalistic expectations and accept and embrace myself whether I'm depressed or ecstatic, the outside reflects this. And likewise when I am lax in love for myself my experience then feels as if on shaky ground. It’s not what is happening or how extreme, balance for me comes from accepting and embracing whatever is…which ain’t always easy but, I am finding gentleness towards myself gains a life of soft unfolding and then enfolds others.
    Your beautiful Ruth and very much felt and appreciated.

    PS I know this is long assed but hey, you were on blogcation ;)

  4. I think it's been so long since acceptance would want to label people, that she has forgotten the labels.

  5. Thanks Chrysanthe.

    Your comment might be "long-assed", but it is also "wise-assed";-) Or maybe "wisdom-assed"? (Doesn't wise-ass mean smart-ass?)

    Ah, you know, I'm going to let go of the hair-splitting, and just appreciate reconnecting with the Crab and the Chrysanthe.

  6. Dr. J!

    If only I could forget the labels, too...

  7. It's all good, I'm a smart-ass too!
    Glad your back!