Continuing our exploration of using interpersonal challenges as fuel for our flames and brightness, let’s talk a little more about how to alchemize interactions with
challenging people people we perceive to be challenging.
This little passage from Tony Schwartz and Jim Loehr’s great book The Power of Full Engagement has been lodged in my brain since I read it nearly a decade ago.
They tell us: “Difficult and unpleasant as it may be to accept, we often feel most hostile to those who remind us of aspects of ourselves that we prefer not to see. ‘Ask someone to give a description of the personality type which he finds most despicable, most unbearable and hateful, and most impossible to get along with,’ writes Edward Whitmont, ‘and he will produce a description of his own repressed characteristics…. These very qualities are so unacceptable to him precisely because they represent his own repressed side; only that which we cannot accept within ourselves do we find impossible to live with in others.’ Think for a moment of someone you actively dislike. What quality in that person do you find most objectionable? Now ask yourself, ‘How am I that?’”
Let’s go over that last part one more time.
“Think for a moment of someone you actively dislike. What quality in that person do you find most objectionable? Now ask yourself, ‘How am I that?’”
Let’s trim it back to the very last part.
“Now ask yourself, ‘How am I that?’”
HOW AM I THAT?!
← THAT is a REALLY (!!!) powerful question.
And, that’s Today’s +1.
The next time you find yourself annoyed with someone, take a deep breath. Step back in your mind. Identify what’s annoying you. Then ask yourself the very simple question:
“How am I THAT?”
Simply shining our spotlight of attention on that particular aspect of our beingness is an extraordinarily powerful step.
But it’s only the first step.
Then it’s time to silently thank our teacher for the lesson and get back to work polishing.
P.S. Rumi comes to mind: “If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?”
P.P.S. Jesus does as well. Remember his motes and beams?
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