“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. ”
– Thich Nhat Hahn
I don’t like to brag but my judging skills are pretty epic. I don’t always have my phaser set to “judge”, but it often just seems to turn on automatically.
Sometimes I attach a story (spoiler alert: a negative one) to what certain individuals say to me or the way they behave. Sometimes I react (spoiler alert: negatively) to a certain tone of voice or take something personally before I have even fully heard and discerned what’s actually been said. Sometimes I instantly get a feeling (spoiler alert: not a good one) that I’m being put down or being attacked when nothing of the sort is actually going on. Other times, I actually sense the intention of what’s being communicated but I fixate on needless stylistic details or meaningless semantics because of my need to be right (spoiler alert: this rarely works out well for me). Sometimes I ridiculously feel the need to make the other person wrong to feel okay about myself (spoiler alert: this has often blown up in spectacular fashion).
Now to be sure there are times when other people fail to maintain proper boundaries, and there is no reason to tolerate those sort of violations. But in my experience, it is far more common for me to simply jump to a false conclusion, become defensive or go on the attack with little or no justification.
And that’s about me.
My desire to protect myself from past wounds. My need to go “one up” because I’m having a lousy day or feeling badly about myself. My fear of really being vulnerable.
I wonder what would be different if instead of sinking into judgment mode I simply paused to observe and took a deep breath?
What if instead of assuming the other person was wrong, I shifted my energy to challenging my filter or habitual response?
What if I realized that he or she is just as human and imperfect as I am and sometimes we all just simply make a mistake.
What if I chose to interpret what was said or done from the most generous place, instead of assuming it comes from some form of malicious intent?
What if I because curious instead of defensive or aggressive?
What if I decided it was more important to be remain connected rather than chase my need to be right?
What if I simply said, well isn’t that interesting and let it be?
It’s taken me a long time to see this and start–emphasis: start–to evolve my behavior.
I got here as fast as I could.