In what typical statements does insistence manifest itself?
- I know how it is (and must be and cannot be otherwise).
- This is how we’ve always done things around here (and this is how we’ll continue to do things around here).
- That’s how I was taught (and I’m just doing what I was told: you should too).
- This is the right way to proceed. (Other ways are not worth considering.)
- I know what’s best for us.
- Based on my experience, we would be best off if we were to–.
- The most effective way of–.
- We should–, we ought to–.
- We must–, we have to–.
- Everyone is supposed to–.
When we review the list above, what do we discover are the linguistic indicators or telltale signs of insistence?
- Words such as best, most, right, should, ought, must, etc.
Let’s imagine the social context. You and I are speaking or corresponding. (1) You want to do things this way, and it turns out that this way = some other way. (2) Or you claim that the world is like this, and I think otherwise. In (1) and (2), you also want me to go along with this proposal.
I say, ‘I won’t go along with what you say (because I believe it to be not the right thing to do or not the right thing to believe) unless you adopt my proposal about what to do or believe.’
Insistence must be broken not because one party is necessarily right and the other necessarily wrong but because both parties need to learn to be open to what may–or may not–be the case. I leave this claim unsubstantiated. Listen to whether you think about it.
How do we let go, surrendering completely to openness? For a start, by letting go (in many cases) of best, most, right, should, ought, must. And then? By hearing what happens.