Our Pettiness Is Two-Way (So Is Our Love)
She had an insight that blew her mind.
It was in a recent workshop on How to Resolve Any Complaint. She shared that an area of her life where she had been struggling was in her relationship with her son-in-law. Her complaint: "He shouldn’t treat his wife like that."
She had really great reasons for her complaint. She was justified in her complaint.
We all always feel justified in our perspectives. We then take it one step further and our perspectives become justifications and conditions for who we are being in our lives.
We can be guarded, defensive, and resistant - and have solid reasons for it.
We can be judgmental, arrogant, and angry - and have solid reasons for it.
We can be close-hearted, cynical, and resigned - and have solid reasons for it.
Here’s what the workshop participant realized about her relationship with her son-in-law: she was being judgmental, defensive, and righteous, all the while blaming him for how she was being.
We have so many reasons and excuses for how we’re showing up in life. It's convenient that it’s always due to something out of our control - some external circumstance, some other person, or some fundamental flaw in us.
It’s convenient because it puts the responsibility of who we are being on someone or something other than ourselves.
What this workshop participant saw was that while she was complaining that “he shouldn’t treat his wife like that,” she was treating him poorly! She was judging him. She was criticizing him. She was withholding her love and kindness.
She was limiting her own experience of love, support, and compassion with her own judgmental way of being. She was also limiting her ability to positively impact him and contribute to his life.
In other words: she was drinking a poison and hoping his behavior would improve.
When we adamantly stick to our perspective of the way things are, we hurt not only the other person - we hurt ourselves.
As long as she blamed him for the relationship, she was also treating herself poorly - she set herself up as a victim, she had a small view of her daughter’s ability to stand up for herself, she kept her own love locked up inside.
Our pettiness is two-way. We put on a petty way of being, and we hope that it changes someone else. Meanwhile, we’re stuck with a petty way of being! We do this to ourselves.
💥 When I’m judging my wife as being unkind to me, I’m being unkind to her.
💥 When I withhold my love from my wife or my kids out of some defensiveness or self-righteousness, I lose the experience of love.
💥 When I’m critical of colleagues or friends, I’m cultivating self-criticism too.
Our pettiness is two-way. Our judgmentalism is two-way. Our cynicism is two-way. We sell out on others, and in that very act we are also selling out our own experience of life.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that all the good stuff is two-way also…
❤️ Love is two-way - when I love others, I experience love.
❤️ Kindness is two-way - when I’m kind to another, I experience that kindness.
❤️ Generosity is two-way - when I’m generous with another, I experience the fullness of that generosity.
We humans are complex creatures, but our experience of life is quite simple: who we are being determines the quality of our actions, the quality of our relationships, and the quality of our life. Start with who you are being, and everything else follows.
Being petty gives us a petty life. Being judgmental gives us a bunch of judgments. Instead, try on some of these alternative ways of being with the people in your life and with yourself - unconditionally:
Thank you for engaging with my work. I’m honored. 🙏❤️
💌 As a transformational life coach, I help people live their best life by breaking through their limitations to feel amazing and create a life they love. If you’re interested in finding out how I can support you, reach out and let’s talk.