life, philosophy

Looking Inside

Whatever annoys you most in a person, is in you.
How dare you say that I’m like that person. I’m so much better than that.

Max says come look inside.

Several years ago when I went through a period of seeking for answers due to infertility, I read a lot of self-help and spiritual books. When I first read this philosophy about me being like someone who annoys me, I was appalled. At the time, I was dealing with family members who were terribly insensitive to our infertility struggle. I knew for a fact that I was not an insensitive person and would never treat a hurting, grieving person the way they treated me.

It’s true, I would not have said or done the things they did, but I soon realized that I needed to dig deeper inside myself to find the similarity.

One example an author gave was about a woman she counseled who was annoyed by fake people. She insisted she would never act fake. She didn’t wear makeup. She let her gray hairs protrude through the brunette strands. She always behaved genuinely from what she believed. Then one day it hit her. In the lunch room at work, she always ate healthy, to appear health-conscious in front of coworkers. Except, hidden in her desk (and at home) she snacked on every unhealthy item she loved.

After reading that, I kept aware of my behavior to be on the lookout, and sure enough, I found a particular instance where I behaved like them. This helped me to forgive them and to work on myself.

Wasn’t it Gandhi who said, “If you want to change the world, start with yourself?”

The palpable hatred for a particular person in our world today is enormous, but what if this person emerged as a reflection of our own behavior?

But, but, but . . . a leader should never behave that way.

The open door lets light permeate the dark places.

But, but, but . . . I say, why are we exempt? Why do we excuse ourselves certain behavior, because we aren’t the leader of a country, or an organization, or a job? Shouldn’t we be considering our behavior towards others instead of focusing on someone else?

If I asked some of these unabashed haters to find inside themselves the similarity between them and this person they hate, how might they respond?

Not so well, I’d imagine.

As for me, I’ll stick to looking inside my own behavior, and as a result, maybe something positive will ripple out into the world.

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30 thoughts on “Looking Inside”

  1. Looking within takes courage and the willingness to accept the dark corners reflecting back our worst fears.

    Throughout the years, I have been harder on myself than anyone else could ever be.

    A lovely thought provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lori, a powerful and thought-provoking post. I do love that Ghandi saying and it is often true we blame so much on others without looking at ourselves and perhaps the effect we have on the world. Even the tiniest of changes can have that so important ripple effect. Having said that, I do think there are people and occasions which just are … and not a reflection of ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would agree that many are not as wealthy, but the narcissist thing is questionable. I’ve met plenty of narcissists throughout my life, wealthy or not. In general, it seems that our society has an “all about me” attitude these days.

      Like

  3. What is that saying – you butt heads with one another, because you are so much alike (or something like that). Do you think that is why people are so malicious in their social media comments, because the weaknesses they see in others, are their weaknesses as well? Very thought-provoking post!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Andrea. Yeah, and it helped me to forgive those who annoyed me. The trick was, to forgive myself, too. 😉

      Thanks for the nice comment. We’re romping around in 7 inches of snow here today. At least Max is loving it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What an interesting journey you’ve had, Lori. I had to come to a point of acceptance about infertility as well. It’s not easy.

    I can’t help thinking about the Michael Jackson song, “Man in the Mirror.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh, yeah, that MJ song sure does seem to fit. Thanks, L. I know you understand about the infertility thing. We’re battled and strong sisters in that area of life.

      Like

  5. This is a very powerful idea, Lori. I think the older I get, the more I realize that even if I act a certain way (as in your example), ideas and negative thoughts have the ability to go much deeper than that. Taking a good hard look at ourselves, that’s where the work should begin.Thanks for making me think!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Interesting thoughts, Lori. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t have time to try and understand other people’s behaviors…I’ve got my own issues to deal with, so looking inside is a good plan!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I also think we are attracted to people who have a behavior that we wish we had. It may be just one little thing but it’s intriguing to us. My ex was an extrovert. I am not. I admired how he managed people and made friends so easily. It took me a while to figure out that everyone has good stuff and not so good stuff. Obviously (he is an ex) there were areas that didn’t sync with me. My now husband is an introvert. I often wish he wasn’t but he is such a great person that it’s turned out to be less important. I have learned to be the outgoing one in the couple and that is good for my growth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great point, Kate. This is a similar but separate topic that has given me ideas for another post if I get the time. Thanks.

      I know what you mean. I was drawn to the optimistic thinking of my husband and his family, because I always saw the glass half empty. Come to learn over the years that they went too far with their optimism into rose-colored glasses.

      So, you’re right. We do seek attributes in a partner and/or friends that have qualities we feel we lack. I was told by a counselor once that the very quality we admire is the one that causes trouble down the road sometimes. 😉

      Thanks for the interesting comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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