How many times have you called yourself and others pathetic, stupid? “Not good enough” are the three words that would cover all the things that are “wrong” with you and others. Maybe you have noticed that this often functions as a self-fulfilling prophecy. After repeating to yourself that you are stupid, you really start doing more and more stupid things. Why? Because you are “stupid”, of course! What else can you do? That’s how things are. Only stupid people do stupid things. Right? That’s who you are, you become convinced. When you think that someone is __________ (fill in the blank) you relate to him/her as who she/he “is”, in appropriate fashion.
This practice becomes even more prominent with your (ex)partner when your relationship is not working out the way you’d want it to work.
In the case of the relationship brake up, in order to alleviate our suffering we engage in a blame game, e.g. name-calling. It makes no difference whom we blame for the situation as long as it is “someone.” This, of course, includes our very selves. We first blame others, our partner and all the people he/she knows, and our friends and family for all sorts of different reasons, from not warning us to not agreeing with our side of the story. In order to absolve ourselves from any responsibility of a wrong judgment the complaint is not only focused on what people did, but who they ARE (thus name-calling), because of their deeds or the lack of. Of course, he lied to me, he IS a liar. Now, here lies the most dangerous and far-reaching mistake. People do all sorts of things, but that’s not necessarily who they are. If you lie once, are you a liar? If you fall in love with someone else, are you a cheat, not faithful etc.? If you say something rude do you become a rude person forever and exclusively. If you do a stupid thing it does not mean that you ARE stupid. You just did a stupid thing, and … by whose judgment your deed was stupid? Many “stupid” things we do turn out not to be so stupid after all. If someone does not love you any more it does not mean that you are not lovable, or not good enough as a person.
Although we judge people by their behavior, do not forget that we judge ourselves by our intentions, and so do they. Stepping into another person’s shoes and finding out what his/her intentions are is an act of grace, love and compassion. Also, you must understand that other people judge you by your behavior and that they are not obliged to know what your intentions are. They may not be interested in your intentions. Your behavior speaks for itself. You have no right to expect people to be loving, gracious and compassionate. You cannot make them wrong for it. All that has nothing to do with you, anyway. You need to be responsible for your own behavior and how you come across for others. At the same time it does not mean that you should associate at any cost with people who exhibit personality disorders in their habitual behavior. Egocentric, obsessive-compulsive, depressive, passive-aggressive, sociopathic, borderline, narcissistic, histrionic etc. are just some examples of the characters to be avoided, not to mention abusers and addicts.
In the case of the well-balanced mentally healthy people, the maxim that you should “treat others the way you want to be treated” is not very helpful. There are too many opportunities to screw up. The better one would be
“Treat others the way they want to be treated”
To do this requires a large dose of the unconditional love and trust. (Accept the fact that not everyone who is officially an adult will act as one all the time.) People do make mistakes, but mistakes are part of life. The problem is that we consider mistakes to be “bad.” Mistakes are just that, mistakes, and an error in judgment. No one has ever escaped from making mistakes. Why we are then, so harsh in blaming others (and ourselves) for making mistakes. Being more forgiving of others and our own actions is a certain road to happiness and self-growth.