Cultural norms and FIML

I am fairly certain that most cultures (and subcultures) do not have a way to easily accept FIML practice or theory. This means that most individuals who are exponents of a culture (basically all people) will have trouble understanding what FIML is saying to them and how to do it.

The reason for this is cultural norms are established patterns that seek and respond to resonances in other people who share those norms. A person in a culture that requires humility will tend to see FIML as being aggressive or impolite. A person in a culture that honors pride will probably see FIML as an affront to their status, something that “questions” who they are.

Cultures are, in so many ways, lowest-common-denominator neuroses shared among groups of people. (By neurosis I mean “mistaken interpretation.”) For example, in a culture that requires humility, in many cases, our seeing a person’s behavior as being admirably humble may be correct, but in many other cases it will actually be a mistaken impression of a person who is only acting the part of being humble.

Any culturally defined virtue or term can be the cause of a mistaken impression.

For most professional interactions and encounters with strangers and acquaintances, rough cultural terms are sufficient for our understanding and theirs. For close friends and loved ones with whom we spend a good deal of time, FIML practice is all but required. The problem is how to get it.

Some people will see FIML practice as confronting the very roots of their culture itself. Others may see it as an attack on the very roots of their selves.

This is ironic since all FIML seeks to do is improve communication between participating partners. It threatens nothing and dictates nothing. FIML does not tell anyone how to be. It is designed simply to help partners be clear about what they are saying and hearing at all times.

My guess is some people reading this blog will get the idea of FIML and want to practice it. If they are lucky, their partners will understand. In many cases, though, readers will find it incredibly difficult to make clear to their partners what the hell they are talking about. Cultural blockage will be formidable because people are used to speaking to each other in limited ways that obscure deep meaning.

FIML is designed for couples or small groups who want crystal clear communication and a reduction of neurotic and thoughtless responses. It may seem threatening, but it is not. It is liberating.

Some other more mundane cultural norms that FIML, when first proposed, may appear to violate are:

  • Talking more than your fair share
  • Bringing the same thing up again
  • Not accepting your partner’s reasoning
  • Not accepting “equal input” into the conversation
  • Insisting on a point
  • Being too pointed, specific, or detail-oriented
  • Not respecting others’ feelings, status, pride, etc.

FIML practice does not actually in any way violate people’s feelings, cause disrespect, or lead to the dominance of one partner over another. On the contrary, FIML does the opposite. It is a liberative practice that allows partners to achieve much greater understanding of each other.

The problems described above can, and probably will, be encountered in the beginning when one partner tries to explain FIML to the other, or tries to convince the other to do it.

The ideal way to learn FIML is together with your partner(s) in a class from a qualified teacher. Before too much longer we hope to be able to offer such classes.

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