S/HE IS SO VERY "________".
How many times have you—have we all—made some comment that is dismissive, judgmental, shortsighted, incorrect, or even cruel? In those moments, we can be so sure of our “expertise” in assessing the situation and summing it up so very neatly.
How about we turn that moment on its head and branch out into a deeper practice?
Making a snap judgment is something that we all fall into from time to time. And so often, we later realize that what we had so deftly seen wasn’t what was happening at all.
Yes, people’s behavior can run the gamut of possibilities as can our reactions to it. Yet, there can be a quiet, simpler way of navigating this tendency, which deepens the moment and brings it into an entirely new light.
It also creates space for compassion and healing for all parties concerned.
What if the next time you are about to proclaim: S/he’s so stupid, cruel, petty, ugly, unfair, mean, whiny, bratty, nasty, tacky, tasteless—a general “waste of clothes”—you stopped Your Self and replaced any of those adjectives with one word: wounded. S/he is so very wounded.
Allow Your Self a moment to take that in. Yes—the word wounded.
Whenever we’re faced with a sense of dissonance—something or someone that isn’t to our immediate liking, satisfaction or approval, we tend to separate Our Selves from the moment, and rework it so it will fit our preset framework and meet our (limited / limiting) perspective. Remember “Mirror, Mirror”. What we don’t want to see in others is what we tend to disown in Our Selves.
I’m not saying for a minute that bad behavior needs to be dismissed. What I am parsing is the difference between the motivation for someone’s behavior and the behavior itself—another aspect of reframing. This is an important distinction and what brings this practice to a deeper level, especially with people and situations that really charge us emotionally.
The early "heads up" is when we realize we’re getting our “knickers in a twist” for whatever reason. That is the moment to invoke the practice:
Stop—regardless of how tight your knickers are becoming.
Let the oh so apt and clever adjectives run through your mind.
Dare to not say them.
Replace them with one word: Wounded.
“S/he is so very wounded.”
You need not say it aloud. You need not be at peace or full of joy when you choose the word—chances are you won’t be at first. And yet, this shift of energy allows compassion to surface, connection to be possible and for a moment to be at least more neutral than heated.
Give it try. What’s the worst that can happen? Nothing. As with all new practices, begin slowly and gently. Don't overlay this onto a long simmering situation or relationship. As the saying goes, "small steps often."