Originally I had a sub-heading titled “Everyone Thinks They Are Nice” in the Injustice of Emotionality, Making Sense of the Insensible. It got lots of response at my workshop. I wanted it to get that response because I was making a point. I have never met anyone who has declared themselves as intentionally horrible. Don’t get me wrong, if I based life on television there appears to be plenty of psychopaths in the world. Do you notice though, that even they are convinced they are ‘nice’ or at least ‘okay?’ But dealing with the average everyday person (the non-psychopaths) I haven’t met anyone who wants to be mean and nasty. I have, however, met many people who others are really challenged by. How is it that we all think or perceive ourselves one way and others experience us another?
My approach to life isn’t for the faint-hearted. Each injustice in Making Sense of the Insensible is discussed based on how others treat us, how we treat others and how we treat ourselves. We all do each of the injustices to someone. That is immediately an uncomfortable thought for most of us. Whenever I feel annoyed by someone’s behaviour I look for who in my life I have treated how I feel I am being treated. It always humbles me and stops me from judging others actions. It also helps me see the world through another’s eyes. I like doing that. I like seeing the world from everyone’s perspective.
So that gets me thinking about why everyone thinks they are nice even if others find them challenging, difficult, demanding, bossy, pushy, clingy, needy and so forth.
When we say, do or think something we tend to filter it through our intentions and self-perception. We know the part of us that feels the most vulnerable, fragile, and insecure. We know the part of us that wants to be helpful, gentle, loving, caring and supportive. When we say, do or think something we filter it through these aspects of ourselves. That’s why we think we are nice.
The tricky part is that the receiver of our words and actions is normally filtering the interaction through their self-perceptions as well. If what we are saying doesn’t meet their needs then they may interpret it differently than what we think we are saying. This is why communication becomes complicated and why self-awareness is so important.
I’m all for us being all of who we are providing that isn’t a murderer, rapist or child molester. THEN I think it’s perfectly fine if that type of true nature continues to be constrained, restricted and limited (and put in jail).
Being all of ourselves comes with responsibilities. If we say and do things that create injustices for others then we are playing out the lessons of injustice not only in our lives, but in others as well. We still have something to learn. That’s why my approach to life isn’t for the faint-hearted.
It’s one thing to know ourselves, accepting all of who we are, loving, respecting and honouring ourselves but what about responsibility. What does it really mean to be fully responsible for our life?
Here is a thought: if we are to be fully responsible for ourselves, can we take steps to help others cope with our personalities?
We all have aspects of who we are that are challenging for others. Most of the time, we discover these because we are confused or confronted by other people’s responses towards us. The purpose of understanding each of the injustices is to help us stop the spiral down – how in response to negative, unjust and unfair experiences we get stuck in our resentment, guilt, anxiety or shame. Instead we can choose to grow into our best self by understanding the lessons to be learnt within the injustice.
It took me years to understand the impact I had on others. What I did know, was I didn’t like the way it felt when they said or did things that resulted in me feeling hurt.
Initially I discovered that people were reflecting back my discomfort with my own personality.
Then I realised that by accepting myself it freed me up to see their fears, insecurities and sense of inadequacy. Their words or actions weren’t personal. By recognising how they viewed me I was able to use humour to name out loud the impact of my personality. When I did this, it dissolved the tension and there was no ‘response’ to deal with.
I was on to something!
In the injustice of deception I explore the shadow self. Most of the time we think the shadow self is only filled with the nasty bits but the truth is everything we don’t think we are is also stored in our shadow self. The key to remember is that we bring people into our lives to shine a light on our shadow to clear it.
So if we feel fragile, in our shadow is our resilience. If we feel vulnerable, our strength lies in our shadow. If we believe we are kind then our nasty side lives in our shadow. If we believe we are tolerant then our intolerance lives in our shadow. And on it goes…whatever you believe you are, its opposite lives in your shadow and attracts in experiences for you to heal the disunity within.
The point is, as human beings we have the capacity to be all things. We choose how we act, what we say and how we think.
That’s where the responsibility comes in.
We can be, and undoubtedly, are all nice.
We also have the capacity to be less-than-nice.
It’s when we are so attached to our self-perception that we refuse to acknowledge the impact we have on others and cater for it that relationships and interactions with others get more complicated and manifest as injustice. Surrendering our ego enough to see how others perceive us, empowers us to make chooses and take actions that enhance our lives, not diminish them. In the end we all want to feel better about our daily lives and people consume much of that desire. And that’s okay – we are wired to connect to others.
The great aspect of consciousness is the awareness it brings. It is only through self-awareness that we can finally live our lives as happily as we all seek.
What unsatisfactory interactions are you having that a new perspective could help improve?
Are you saying or doing things that you believe are kind, helpful and supportive but others aren’t being grateful?
Do you feel fragile or vulnerable yet others are commenting on how demanding and imposing you are?
What views of yourself do you hold on tightly too that could be creating its opposite in your shadow?