It can be quite confronting, when someone addresses your behavior. When someone doesn’t like something, is angry with you, disappointed or maybe sad. This causes sudden inner tension. A feeling of ‘no’ to the experience of that moment. Externally we jump to our own defense, find explanations, belittle the effect or stand above it, taking care not to be affected. In other situations we may go into the offence and at occasions we fall silent, escape within ourselves. It is seldom that we voice a relaxed ‘yes’. A complete acknowledgement of the fact that maybe we did something wrong. That our actions had a negative impact on the outer world.
Apparently it is unbearable that at times we are not good enough. Not perfect, kind, caring, not the perfect father, mother, partner, employee. Not allowed, says a voice within. Not allowed to be judged. It seems as if we experience the rejection of our actions as a complete rejection of our whole being. For some this pain can be so intense, that they feel they are not ‘allowed’ to exist.
The reactions are understandable when we look back on our childhood. To grow up as a confident being, we need there to be unconditional with for every action we take. This unconditional love wasn’t always there. At least not as experienced by the child. Many prerequisites were set. Right and adjusted behavior was praised, ‘wrong’ behavior was punished. Often we felt painfully rejected. We feel this old pain again and again when we act awkwardly or antisocially in the current reality and this is then addressed by others.
It’s quite a challenge
not to want to alter the reality of that moment
It has taken me quite some time to face my own faults. And still I find it tough when others react to this with anger or rejective behavior. It’s a challenge not to panic when I’ve done something wrong in the eyes of someone who is important to me. Not to want to fix or alter the reality of that moment. Not to judge the other, explain my behavior with all sorts of arguments, mitigate its effect. Not to find it necessary that the other at least understands me.
Can I submit to the fact that I am not always perfect in the sense of always being ‘good’ or ‘right’? How much more peace and space would I experience if I could see myself as a person who sometimes takes beautiful, wise and loving actions, and just as often does awkward, egoistic or stupid things. Being someone who longs for a life of pure love and harmony, but is not always able to fully live so. Can I find peace with this fact?
You need to love yourself before you can love others, is a phrase often heard in spiritual circles. It always gives me the jitters. Love yourself, how does this work? It sounds so soft and fluffy. It sounds like an invitation to only honor your good parts. But isn’t it about honoring all your parts? Embracing both your soft and hard side with love and respect? Both your love and hate? Both your generosity and egoism?
In reality we can’t always be Buddha
We try so hard to be the perfect fellow human being. And of course it is important to strive for goodness, but in reality we aren’t always Buddha. We do our best, with all the wounds we carry with us. Which means that sometimes our reactions are awkward or our anger is unreasonable. Or our acts are egoistic. If you can let this be true, you no longer need to defend yourself, or retaliate when someone addresses your behavior. Instead, there is room to say a peaceful ‘yes’ to the current reality. Yes this was inconsiderate. Yes that was impolite. Yes, I understand it causes anger. Period.
This way you respect the feelings of others, you respect your own being and above all, you respect the value of sharing a connection with the other person. Even when this is uncomfortable. Or when the connection feels distant. When everything is allowed to be true, when you refrain from altering your own actions or those of others, new space can come into being. A fruitful place of learning from where you can both move forward. Allow yourself and others the freedom to fall and get back up again. Time and time and time again.