I love Brene Brown. She encourages people to be vulnerable because it allows us to develop deeper relationships and to feel both positive and negative emotions more fully. This quote is perfect though in that just because you’re being vulnerable doesn’t mean you should let anyone treat you like crap.
Most of us are people-pleasers. If someone criticizes us, we automatically become defensive and want to fight back and show the other person they’re wrong about us. It’s understandable, and sometimes it is the right thing to do. Sometimes though it really is better to just ignore people when they’re behaving badly.
Especially online, people can be skimming through so quickly they don’t actually read an entire article before they comment. We all view the world through a filter of our past, especially our unresolved pain and grief, and we may not even realize that we’re misunderstanding what someone is saying.
That’s not to excuse anyone from being hateful, but them doing so does say more about them than whomever they are criticizing.
This quote helps me to accept and forgive people who are being small-minded or cruel. I think we all have the potential to be our highest Selves, but damned if I know anybody who can be that way every waking moment. We are all human, and we all have bad days where we just want to make other people feel as crappy as we do. Most of us probably can restrain ourselves from acting on that impulse, but sometimes we can’t.
Stress permeates our daily lives. We’re all worried about something: paying bills, losing our job, taking care of our kids, taking care of our parents, and practically everyone is TIRED. We’re all working too hard, not getting enough sleep or having enough time to relax.
I’ve noticed that I’m much more judgmental when I think my husband has “screwed up” by not running the dishwasher or misplacing something. Then when I consider it might have been my mistake, I’m suddenly very forgiving, thinking, “Oh, well, it’s not really a big deal, anybody could have made that mistake.”
We all appreciate when other people give us the benefit of the doubt, it’s worth a try giving other people a little slack, especially when they’re really mean. What kind of experiences have they had that brought them to that extreme degree of pain and hate?
We all have the capacity to be kind or to be cruel. It’s a choice we face with every interaction we have: in person, on the phone, or online. The next time someone’s behavior irritates or annoys you, remember a time you’ve behaved badly when you felt tired, afraid, or hurt. Then silently forgive them, and offer them a blessing because they probably really need one. And by practicing forgiveness, you receive a blessing in return. When you forgive someone else, you also forgive yourself for not being perfect.
A friend once sent me this prayer, which I think about sums it up for me:
So far I’ve done all right.
I haven’t gossipped,
haven’t lost my temper,
haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent.
I’m really glad about that.
But in a few minutes, God,
I’m going to get out of bed.
And from then on,
I’m going to need a lot more help.
How do you balance standing up for yourself and practicing forgiveness?