When someone asks you how this taste or how they look, unless they are immediate members of your family, it's hard to give the truth without pissing them off. People are bad at taking criticism. Period. Even if you preface criticism with a line like "Do you want to know the truth?". People will reply in the affirmative but then get offended when you hit them with honesty. "This tastes like shit, that makes your butt look weird." This makes the sentence "Do you want to know the truth?" an absolutely useless sentence. *me all of a sudden on the edge of a cliff for some reason in Scotland shouting* "Why can't people handle the truth?" Maybe it's too direct. It's too personal. So I've been beta testing a new method. It's simple and anybody can do it. Instead of criticizing the person/object/whatev directly, you criticize it indirectly through storytelling. Here's an example:
Bakery employee: How was everything?
Me: It was alright.
Bakery employee: Did you enjoy the pastry?
Me: Well it reminded me of this trip I took with my girlfriend. The whole point of the trip was to climb this beautiful mountain the first day and then bath in our accomplishment the following days. From the brochure, it seemed like a fun, accessible feat, but once we stood at the base, we realized we're going to have to work together to finish it. The beginning of it was alright and typical of most hikes, but the middle was exhausting and we had to really struggle. The cold and exhaustion started to get to us and we just started fighting and screaming at each other. Another young, handsome hiker, named Jon, came by and gave my girlfriend solace from my anger - leaving me in the cold, completely lost. After many hours, I somehow navigated my way back to the hotel to find her and Jon making love in our hotel room.
To enable attachments is to open yourself up for suffering, but much of this suffering can be minimized by understanding attention. This first thing to understand is "Everything" is driven by attention, "Everything" wants your attention and without attention "Nothing" can happen. To show this on a larger, modern scale, negativity draws more attention thus typically outweighs the use of positive storytelling in general conversations or the news. Similarly, social media platforms generalize notifications and use video over text to catch and keep your attention. On a personal scale, we brush our hair, iron our clothes and talk confidently to draw and keep attention, and we pay attention in school and topics of interest to build skill sets for which we can give more attention. Practice is basically sustained attention to some task. Indeed, attention should be guarded against unwanted distractions while guided towards beneficial outcomes.
This is not only true for external stimuli, but also for internal responses that create outward behaviors. For instance, think of the last time you were focusing on some task and another, unrelated thought popped into your mind. Let's say a conversation you had last night at the bar. This thought and the thought engaged in the task are now in competition for your attention. Here, you have to decide which thought will win, and this choice will have consequences for later, similar choices until little conscious awareness is needed to decide. You are practicing how your attention will be allocated for this type of situation. In this example, you could get better or worse as keeping focus on the task at hand depending on your attentional choice. Over time, simple and more complex competitions have been exercised, in which we practice some preference to lessen the cognitive load needed so we can focus on more pressing matters needing our attention. Some practices has been rooted in us over time, especially those tied to emotions, and may not make sense. Therefore, it is important to uncondition initial responses deemed inappropriate with careful examination with "yes, you guessed it", your attention.