We always see our own behaviour in context; I know there’s a reason why I do what I do. Childhood conditioning, facing a difficult world as an adult – all sorts of things lead met to develop responses to people and situations that get me through. And if I could see myself from the outside – in third person as it were – some of those responses would be exactly the things that most annoy me about other people.
If I’m motivated to find out what these behaviours are, then it starts with giving myself a break. Once I can let myself off for my inevitable mistakes, I can start to look deeper into my own behaviour, objectively and with more honesty.
The original causes, my current actions and underlying motives unfold and I can’t overstate how deep this goes, or how subtle it can be. In getting over ourselves a bit, and dropping “who I’m supposed to be”, everything becomes visible.
It’s clear that everyone else has the same stuff going on. Everyone’s trying to live up to the image they have of how they’re supposed to be, and everyone’s afraid of losing money, status and important relationships. Everyone’s just doing the only thing they know how to.
This is when the expression “turn the other cheek” takes on a practical relevance It’s not asking me to let others walk over me; but if it’s of no consequence then I can – literally – ignore it. I’d maybe have done the same in their position, now or at some point in the past.