Instead of Criticizing Your Friends Do This
It’s easy to be the judge, to be the person who points out where everyone else isn’t showing up. I have to say I’m pretty damn good at that. I’m not proud of it. I’m also not ashamed.
My critical mind has served me really well in my life. It’s made me a good business person. It helps me see where my clients and students need support. It’s given me a strong aesthetic eye.
It’s also hurt me. It’s created separation. It's kept me stuck. It has put me in the victim seat. The raw truth is that it can leave me in the awful position of superiority. Ya know, “My way is the right way.”
I went through a really challenging situation with my dog about two years ago. I didn’t feel supported by many people in my life during that time, and I felt really hurt by it. I would vent about it a lot, and after falling into a mild depression I realized the complaining wasn’t serving me.
I decided that if I didn’t have a life where I felt supported then maybe I should create one.
I began to focus only on the things that felt good about my friendships, the areas in which they were really wonderful. I looked at what needs weren’t being met in those relationships, and I decided to manifest those things in other friendships.
When I stopped being the victim I recognized that I was empowered to change my life. I also found myself loving my friends more. I began to see that my friends were really great in a lot of ways and that this situation was really extreme so they had a hard time understanding the kind of support I needed. I also began to have compassion for what they might be going through in their own lives.
In turn, I also started to develop new friendships with the intention of creating intimate bonds and a stronger support system. I became more generous, recognizing that what I wasn’t receiving was what I wasn’t giving myself.
Pretty much everything that irks us about the people in our lives is something unhealed within ourself.
The ego has a joyride when we point the finger and nitpick all the ways other people aren’t showing up how we want them to. We tend to make other people the big problem, even sometimes pushing them out of our lives.
Turning that finger back on to ourselves is much more painful. It forces us to see the ways we aren’t showing up for ourselves and for other people. When we do so we have to sit with the pain, the shame, the disgust, the anger that we feel about ourselves.
When you start creating boxes and boundaries for people to fit in and live up to it’s time to hit the brakes and turn the focus inward.
Any time I notice I’m complaining about someone or really bothered by how someone is showing up in my life there is some healing for me to do. The resistance is strong. You'll feel it justifying your criticism. The more skilled you get at moving through that and into what the emotions mean about you the faster you'll heal. In other words, face the pain so you can feel better faster.
The truth is that complaining about people is fairly useless. It's a way to leave us feeling disempowered and frustrated because ultimately we have no say over how another person behaves. This wasted energy could be used to heal ourselves instead.
Every experience you have in relationship to someone else is an opportunity to see how you can grow more. The more you feel like the victim the bigger the opportunity for you to see how you can show up for yourself.