Backward by Jina Wallwork

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We have solid perceptions about what it means to move forward and what it means to move backward. We can watch others stagnate, and it can become tempting to reach out a hand and guide them towards the future. We connect to our own experience and we believe that it gives us the wisdom to know what’s best for another, but our understanding is always flawed. Despite the purity of our intentions, there will always be problems that are created when we push someone in the hope that they will choose a new path. People make changes because they believe that the consequences of the change will be more beneficial than the circumstance they currently have. When given a choice people will always choose what they believe is superior.

I’m not suggesting that we are capable of fully understanding our own situation, or that we are rational in the choices that we make. We can’t fully comprehend the consequences of our actions, yet we are tied to a perspective and it provides answers that contain many flaws. We can’t disregard how we perceive the world because it would involve making drastic changes to who we are. My perspective, my beliefs, they are tied to the fabric of my identity.

When you try and push someone to make a different choice it involves changing another person’s perspective. This kind of action can lead to a crisis where the person is forced to change who they are and ignore the beliefs that define them. You could believe this is a necessary part of the process and it will lead to something of greater value. From disruption there is opportunity, and the new life could be better than the old. There is a great deal of arrogance in believing that another person lacks an accurate perception of what action to take and they need you to guide them because your understanding is flawless. All wisdom is flawed because those mistakes are the edges of our understanding. It is the place where wisdom can grow.

The actions of others should never be understood as taking them forward or backward. There is just change and that alteration should be observed without judgment. In some moments there is stillness and it finds its contrast in the changes that naturally occur. Use a soft hand when you interact with the world. Force is grown from a seed of arrogance and it’s always unnecessary.

Forward by Jina Wallwork

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