Everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something.
It is so easy for me to forget that the people around me are real. I can easily behave in a manner that is so self-centered that I can only focus on my pain and my suffering. Without effort, sometimes, it is hard for me to look at another person and realize that they too have a past, they too are in pain, and that they too are afraid.
I think I developed this behavior because I grew up in a home where control and codependency reigned supreme. I fixated less and less on my part and focused more and more on “getting mine”. That is, I felt that my needs weren't being met so I lashed out. But it is difficult to be cruel to someone that I see as a person. So I dehumanize them. I turn them into monsters that are attacking me. Then I can justify my own cruel behavior towards them rather than approach the situation with kindness, respect, and compassion both for myself as well as the other person.
Now, in recovery, I know that each person I speak to is a person with their own past, their own scars, and their own fears. Each person I speak is like me – human. They are not monsters, so I can no longer justify being a monster to them.
This sounds like something I do for the other person, but, honestly, seeing others with compassion and respect has done wonders for my own ability to see myself with compassion and respect. I am now able to behave in a way that I can be proud of regardless of what the other person is doing. I can set my boundaries and let go of the outcome.
Today, when I feel myself losing my serenity when interacting with another person, I will take pause and remember that this person, like me, is human. I will remember that and look for my own part in it before I react to their behavior.
A meditation for June 10, 2013.
Human – Killers