This phrase often haunts me because I don’t see some of the traits and characteristics of others in myself. This is especially true when I think of the abuse, being mean, and hatred that I’ve seen in others.
After I considered this phrase over and over again, I realize that at least part of it is true.
When I see someone pass by, wishing me a good morning, I realize that I like this trait because it is something that I do at times. That is, when I’m at my best. When someone says “thank you,” I realize that they have appreciation within themselves, and I like that because being grateful is important to me.
However, when I see someone acting entitled, mean-spirited, or being abusive or disrespectful, I don’t care for those behaviors, and I definitely don’t see myself acting in that fashion. That is when I feel this phrase doesn’t agree with my sensibilities. I don’t see myself as being mean, entitled, or disrespectful; however, I can get angry at times. I’m sure there have even been times when I’ve been disrespectful and even mean, but I still don’t think this phrase fits me.
Then again, on the positive side of this phrase, think about how we make friends. We connect with someone on a deeper level because we see something in them that speaks to us. I’ve even made the comment when meeting someone new that somehow we just had an ‘instant connection.’ For me, that’s how I met most of my best friends. While some of their behaviors are not mine, there are similarities.
In this case, you have to wonder if this phrase is true. We actually do see in others what we see in ourselves. Something that we like about them.
While still I will question if this phrase is entirely accurate, I do see facets of it that ring true.
Here’s what I think the deeper meaning might be.
I’ve noticed that I’ve changed. I can be dealing with someone who is angry and not get angry back. Not always, but if I remain conscious, I can refrain from going there. I may sit quiet, get defensive with kindness, or learn not to take their anger so personally; realizing many times that there is pain in them. I may wish them well and send them on their way. I may find it in my best interest to disconnect from the situation… which is really easy if you’re on the phone. 😉 Then again, I may just make a conscious choice not to react, accept or not accept their behavior, or move on.
What I have found many times is that in time they come back with an apology or better behavior the next time around. Therefore, you may have actually helped someone find a better way to handle their aggression. That’s a win-win!
Although this might not be what the definition meant, I think the lesson in this phrase is for us to take a good look at ourselves during times of conflict. How are we reacting? What do we see that is happening that we don’t appreciate? Is there a better way for us to respond when things aren’t going in a positive way?
So now, as I think of this phrase, I will decide to see it as a way for me to do a self-assessment. I’m sure I won’t always get it right, but more times than not I will.
So my challenge for you is this: consider this definition the next time you face a negative tone in one of your relationships. Think about how you would normally respond, and see if you could switch it up. You might be surprised to find a change in the person you’re dealing with because of how you reacted. You definitely will begin to see a change in you.
Until next time, God bless you and happy connections.