Neville’s 1953 lecture “Changing the Feeling of I” (free to read online) is a wonderful address on the issue of discrimination. Although he addresses racial discrimination the lesson can be applied to those who face other forms of bigotry or marginalisation (misogyny, homophobia, transphobia etc.)
This lesson is all about re-visiting our concept of self and accepting that the relationship between our concept of self and our experiences with others is based upon our concept of self.
Neville invites us to think of ourselves nobly and not to relent in doing so. We’re urged to forget about what other people think or feel about us since we cannot control that anyway. The message here is that we CAN ABSOLUTELY control how other people treat us. We so often experience suffering because we are trying to force changes in other people that cannot occur in that way. It is the literal equivalent of banging one’s head against a wall.
Exercise: Without judgment or criticism spend a short time (no more than a minute or so observing who you are). Ask “who is [INSERT NAME]?” as though talking to another person, pause, and then answer the question as honestly as you can. You may wish to ask what you require of other people, or what you expect of them. If you do this, notice whether those expectations are realistic in light of who you are aware of being. Don’t feel bad or resort to self judgment tell yourself that things have changed.
Then, smiling inwardly ask the first question again, this time answering in terms consistent with a person who is always respected and valued. As you repeat the words (mentally rather than verbally if possible) notice the way the words are making you feel – you’re aiming for a yes or consent. The idea is to persuade yourself that this noble picture of you is completely true – you will eventually feel it to be true and your experiences with others will confirm this to be the case.
Do this privately and take your time, the rewards will far outweigh any time and effort you invest…. Kate xx