From Projecting Fear to Extending Compassion
Let’s say you have a bully in your life. Or maybe you just know of a bully. This person may be always on the attack. Or perhaps they only bully when they feel threatened. In any case, when you even so much as think of them you are feel fear.
This fear does not come from them. This fear is because of beliefs in your own mind. This person is a symbol of the guilt and fear in your own mind. Unconsciously you recognize the motivation for their behavior is guilt and fear. And you can understand this because you are like them. You understand being defensive when you are afraid. So what you see in them is a projection of your own guilt and fear. They are a mirror of your mind and this is the actual source of your fear.
So how do you move past projecting fear and increasing it in yourself? You bring your unconscious beliefs to conscious awareness. You do this by asking yourself, “Why do they behave this way?” You can answer this because you, too, are human and you understand human behavior. You are also defensive at times even if not in the ways that you see as bullying. You may be passive-aggressive. Or you may take out your anger by yelling at others without hitting below the belt emotionally. Perhaps you’ve learned to deal with your guilt and fear in other ways. Maybe you turn them inward rather than outward and you are depressed or you self-medicate. However you show up as defensive, now that you understand the other’s motivation you can shift from fear to compassion.
Compassion extends both ways. To feel compassion for another you must be willing to be compassionate about the same traits in yourself. If you cannot find compassion for another it is because you are not willing to be compassionate toward yourself. But when you are compassionate toward yourself you will find it extends automatically to others.
It does not follow that being compassionate means you do not set boundaries with others’ dysfunctional behavior. In fact, it is guilt and fear that makes you remain around a bully because unconsciously or consciously you believe that you deserve to be bullied. Since you must be willing to accept compassion for yourself before you can extend it to other, understanding and compassion come from a place of self-respect in you. And self-respect automatically results in boundaries with others’ dysfunctions.
When you come from a place of understanding and compassion you no longer take the other’s behavior personally. You realize that they are acting out their own guilt and fear. And because you do not respond with your own defenses one of two things occur: The other falls away from your life because they are not getting the reaction from you that they want. Or they change toward you and treat you with the respect that your new attitude toward yourself demands.
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