Thoughts on a current lesson. My M.O. since birth has been to please people. To make others feel good about themselves by building them up. Even when they may not deserve it. It’s not all pure motives on my part. I think it’s because I’m afraid if I don’t make them feel good or if I criticize their actions, they’ll have reason to attack me and put me down in return. And as a person who wears perfectionism like a second skin, I’m most afraid of having my mistakes being pointed out.
Recently though, I’ve come to the realization that this is actually selfish behavior. It is irresponsible if I don’t warn someone when I see their actions harming not only themselves, but those who don’t have the means of defending themselves. It’s like watching someone’s house burning, but rather than alerting them, I just let them continue sleeping.
Being kind doesn’t mean speaking rainbows and butterflies all the time. Sometimes the best form of kindness is to speak the truth in love, to douse the wound with alcohol in order to prevent festering. And yes, the person with the wound may lash out at me. They may curse me and hate me. Because the truth does hurt. Changing one’s behavior is hard. I can imagine it’s like a snake shedding its old skin so they can replace it with a stronger, healthier one. The process certainly is painful and inconvenient. But it’s necessary.
I’m not just pointing my finger at other people. I’m looking in the mirror, too. I know I have much to learn and a long way to grow. I hope I get better at receiving criticism without being so defensive. When someone points out my flaws, my instant reaction is to either feel like the worst person in the world, or immediately lash back out and say they’re wrong. But I’m working on being slower to respond with the guilt, shame, and anger, and instead, to consider what they’re saying and be open to change. Because if I don’t do what I’d expect of others, then I’d be a hypocrite.
We can all learn from each other if we truly humble ourselves, are slow to anger, and take more time to listen. If we’re open to the realization that none of us has all our shit together. And I think that’s the only way the world will change for the better.