Consistency is not necessarily about knowing what’s going to happen next; rather, it may simply be a reasonable expectation based on previous behaviour. The safest and kindest way to train a dog, for example, is to demostrate and maintain consistency. My dog can’t read the clock on the stove but she knows when it’s 6pm. That’s when her dinner is always served (little princess).
As a parent, you’re alerted to changes in your child’s behaviour. In business, you may notice diversions from the ‘norm’ with your client. As a friend or lover, concerns arise with shifts in attention or affection.
Does this mean that life is static? Of course not. It simply means that something is changing. Too often, we accept or ignore these shifts, rationalizing them with our own assumptions. Perhaps we ‘ride the wave’, hoping that things will go back to the way they were ~ back to our ‘normal’.
Does this mean that we should never realize change? Of course not. Innovation and growth evolve from deciding to step outside of the consistent and accepted.
What I’m referring to is consistency as a cornerstone of trust. Circumstances and feelings may change but a sign of trust is consistency of ethics; one behaves consistently in public as in private, despite these changes. This consistency of trust is found in the courage to ask and the honesty to tell.
When circumstances, or feelings, change and we feel that inconsistency (either in ourselves or others), it is with compassion that we find the courage to ask and the honesty to tell. It will not always be easy but with a solid foundation of trust and compassion, communication and forgiveness can occur and we become open to better understanding.
The worse favour we can do ourselves is not to try to learn about, and from, inconsistency.
Human beings have enormous capacity for awareness and equally enormous apprehension for reality, often cowering in denial only to be shocked and blindsided. Becoming more mindful of others’ circumstances, and thereby more compassion to their feelings from the changes they are experiencing, allows for honesty and trust.
The fool wonders, the wise man asks. – Benjamin Disraeli
You can’t know unless you ask. The greatest kindness you can offer another is to ask; how they are, what they are feeling, how you can help. The answers may not be forthcoming nor easy to uncover but you’ve extended to them compassion and awareness.
That is real love.