Every day someone tells me how they were treated badly by someone else. Almost every day—sometimes several times in a day—we all are treated in a less than loving way by someone. People attack us, lie about us, manipulate us, and more.
Let's assume that someone is attacking you—with criticism, anger, and so on. The natural tendency is to feel defensive. Why? Because we've been attacked all our lives, usually from childhood, it's painful.
When we are criticized in an unloving way as children, we hear the message, "I don't love you," and we naturally conclude that we are defective. This painful feeling of being defective or worthless usually continues throughout life, and as a result we feel hyper-sensitized to any message that could be interpreted as critical, because it adds to the already intolerable pain we suffer.
This cannot change until we recognize that what we were taught from childhood—and the rest of our lives—was simply wrong. People criticize us not for who we really are, but for not giving THEM what THEY want, or for inconveniencing THEM. Almost everyone around us has created a picture in their minds of who we SHOULD BE—not for our benefit, but to suit their needs.
When people attack us, we must understand and remember that they are not attacking who we really are. They are punching a picture they have created of us, a picture that is grossly distorted by their own needs and fears.
When we remember this, the attacks of others become far less painful—usually to the point of being meaningless. How painful would it be for you to observe someone punching a photograph of you that had been digitally altered to the point where you were no longer recognizable? Practically speaking, they wouldn't be punching a picture of you—who you really are—at all. It would be a photo of a fictional character. Would that bother you? Of course not, just as you will not be bothered by the attacks of others when you truly realize what they are doing, as I have described.
Replace your fear and confusion with peace and happiness.
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