Opinion: Wisdom Workout

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A Sanity Checkup

Interpersonal upsets are quite possible given our continued health crises and political divisions. When upset visits, it is easy to take it personally. After all, you believe you are being assaulted with opinions directly opposing yours, therefore, it is personal.

If your beliefs are being attacked, you will probably react defensively. You explain, justify and defend your position. They make you wrong. You retaliate. The point of view that others are out to get you generates defensive reactions.

There is another point of view that is often more accurate. What if their behavior simply gives you clear information about where they are living in this moment? This is their habitual behavior when they are operating on automatic pilot.

Every upset requires willing participants. Let’s say it starts with you saying something offensive to me. I retaliate. The disagreement is solidified at that moment.

If I take the interaction personally, I take the bait and buy into the argument. If instead, I take myself out of it, I am free to see your behavior clearly without my interpretation creating the negative platform.

If we could penetrate deeply into the secret existence of each of us, we would come upon things we expend a lot of effort to hide. We all carry bare places, cold heart spaces, desolate and lonely places that breed fantasies that the world is out to get us. Impotence breeds fear. Aggression or submission is the instinctive response to fear. In fear, we forget who we are.

We abandon our clarity and sanity when we are fearful. Confrontational interactions abound when our external safety and security appears threatened.

When we let go of the idea that the world is out to get us, we are free to take the appropriate measures to protect our sanity and peace of mind.

If you find yourself revisiting an upsetting incident long after the actual event, this is an excellent time to stop and do a sanity checkup.

Do you believe this person is out to get you? If your answer is yes, what would cause this person to be after you? Are your reasons a fantasy that you made up from your personal grab bag of unfinished baggage? If you still come up with a yes, they are definitely out to get you, then take the proper defensive measures. Get a lawyer, a restraining order, a bodyguard or enter the witness protection program.

If your answer is no than is this just the way they are? If you find that your answer shows up a little bit of both, then you will be able to determine the specific right action for you to take on the part that is about you and let go of the rest. When you can view others through a wider lens then it becomes apparent that the behaviors they are displaying are often more habitual than intentional.

Once you are clear, then you are free to make whatever decisions necessary to protect yourself and your sanity rather than adding your own insecurities to the fray.

True self-respect requires that we respect the choices of others and at the same time command our own respect for our ability and right to choose what we will and will not participate in.

Susan is a local group facilitator and author of Beyond Intellect: Journey Into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind. Connect with her at susanvelasquez.com.

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