Look at Yourself

rectangular wooden frame mirror

“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.” — Pema Chodron

I recently had a little encounter with a good friend of mine. One of those encounters that include saying things that you regret, things that needed to be talked about, and things that weren’t, and things that were hurtful and offensive. Things were said that were misunderstood. It’s never black and white is it? I’m sure if someone heard her side they would think I was a low life jerk. And I know because it has already happened, that those who might listen to my side would say that I did nothing wrong.

The thing is, when we focus so much on what we did right we can blind ourselves from where we did wrong. When we are hurt or frustrated, the last thing we want to do it look at ourselves honestly. There’s this toxic instant gratification that we can easily get addicted to when we nurse our hurt or frustrated feelings by marinating in the idiotic things that the other person did (or that we perceived that they did). We’ll go over it again and again in our thoughts and in conversations with others. We are also smart with the “others” that we choose to discuss the “incident” with, after all, don’t you want to talk about it with those who you can depend with responding in a way to help us feel justified and free of guilt and that will ensure us that we are right and the other person is wrong?

However, there’s a better option we can choose when something like this happens.

The best thing we can do for ourselves is to have “the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”

It’s not going to do any good to sit and dwell on where the other person was off and wrong and developmentally immature. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t look at the situation honestly. I’m not saying that you should minimize and turn and blind eye to the wrongdoing or poor behavior of the other person. But to sit in that and stew over it isn’t the type of marinating that enhances flavor…this type of marinating goes rancid and causes food poisoning. It will leave you weaker and sicker the longer you sit it in.

Look in the mirror, don’t hide behind it.