I’ve recently been reminded about something which I find both challenging and fascinating. It’s about how those around us are showing us clearly what we need to pay attention to and work on in our self.
Take a moment to consider what it is in another person that annoys, upsets or aggravates you. That thing they do or say or the way they treat you. Yes, that one! It might be that they are rude or abusive, make fun of you or are selfish or inconsiderate. How do you feel when they do that?
Now consider the deeper meaning because it’s highlighting something you need to be aware of. For example, if it’s rudeness and abuse, could it be that you have behaved in that way towards someone else or yourself even if it wasn’t your intention? Or perhaps it’s selfishness or lack of consideration, is there a possibility that your behaviour towards yourself or others be considered the same? Now or in the past?
As humans, we view the world through our personal set of unconscious filters such as values, beliefs, language, socialisation, culture, education, experience and so on and, as a result, can only see the world as we are and not as it truly is. I see you as I am, and you see me as you are. We recognise behavioural traits and characteristics in others when we have experienced and demonstrated those behaviour and traits ourselves previously and it’s though others that it’s brought into our conscious awareness.
As I wrote earlier, those around us are reflecting what we need to work on in our self, much as we would like to deny or avoid this realisation, even as a possibility. This is not intended to give you or anyone else the opportunity to be hard and judgmental on yourself by the way. We are often our harshest critic and are all very good at berating our self at times and it achieves nothing.
We actually need to do the opposite; recognise it for what it is, an opportunity to see the reflection, get the message, acknowledge and accept it as being part of us, something to learn from, and be gentle on our self as we work through it. Part of being human is acknowledging that we are flawed and perfectly imperfect. We’re here to learn and develop even when the learning feels harsh and challenging, and we can be slow learners particularly when it comes to change. However, the pain of the lesson should be enough to encourage us to learn and apply the learning quickly!
So, the first step is to look at where this may be happening for you and what it is that the “annoying” person is there to teach you about yourself. Remember it’s not about fault, blame or judgment; it’s part of their role in your life to offer you the reflection and it’s your responsibility to recognise that and apply the lesson. And by the way, you are no doubt reflecting things back to others that they need to learn, albeit unconsciously.
Learning to see things differently gives us access to different choices to consider in future; a future where we are less judgmental and more compassionate in all that we do and that applies as much to our self as it does to others.
Time for you to reflect?