“All criticism is borne of someone else’s pain.”
Native American Indian saying
Sometimes people do stuff that’s really unacceptable.
Yes, there’s a sliding scale so ‘unacceptable’, but it’s still not ok.
It’s our tendency to retaliate in some way – perhaps by behaving unkindly or even doing something nasty to them. It’s easy to hold resentments and grudges and to allow those to colour our exoerience of relating with that person. We can direct all sorts of painful emotions towards them and even stay awake half the night, replaying the movie of how terrible their actions were.
But there’s a difference between the person and their actions – a person is not their behaviour.
The behaviour – the actions – are the outwards appearance of the person. What is deep down inside, the essence of that person, is different from their actions. At some level, they are running the same kinds of auto-pilot responses that we do. At some level, they just want to be happy, just like us.
Deep down, most people (no matter how bad their behaviour) are just muddling their way through life, without much of an instruction manual, just like us. Their choices about their behaviour might be pants, but that doesn’t make them a bad person – any more than it would make us a bad person, when we make bad choices.
So there is a difference between the person and their behaviour – the actor and the actions.
Like actors in a play, what we show the outside world isn’t necessarily the truth of who we really are, but is a script – a series of behaviours – that can change.
When we remember that, we can set ourselves free from much of the pain. We create a space between their action and our response, which can allow us to choose a response for the long-term higher good, rather than short-term retaliation.
It’s a challenging mindset shift, but it gives you back your personal power and helps you to be less impacted by others’ actions.
And it’s the key to cultivating compassion, if that’s what you choose to do.
P.S. I really hope this article has helped you. It’s a bonus article from my ‘Let Your Light Shine‘ programme.
If you have been on the receiving end of someone’s criticism, or if you’re keeping yourself stuck dreaming big, but playing small, then it’s time for you to Let Your Light Shine.
This is a beautiful 5 day online course to help you set yourself free from the fear of ‘Haters’ and ‘Trolls’, so you can get on with making a difference in the world. With a smile on your face! xx Clare