It’s very easy to uphold your virtues and beliefs when life is comfortable and straightforward. In times of discomfort, it’s harder to get things right, but often also more important. This is a work in progress, so if you can add to it, or develop it, do pile in to the comments. They’re in order of consideration.
- Is this a ‘shit happens’ situation of random misfortune that I should not take personally and that does not reflect on my character in any way? In which case, deal with it as best I can and recognise everyone gets these.
- Am I uncomfortable because I’ve got something wrong? Am I trying to protect myself from having to deal with my shortcomings? Is the reason for discomfort something I need to square up to and deal with?
- Am I projecting something onto someone else? Is it something of mine, or am I casting them in a role or seeing similarities with historical patterns? Is that fair? If it is, I need to move away from them. If it isn’t, I either need to figure out how to adapt my responses, or ask them to consider changing so as to make me comfortable, having made clear the problem is me and not them. If they care about me, they will change, if it is too much hassle to be kind to me, they will not.
- Was it an honest mistake? Have they owned it as such and apologised? Let it go and move on, unless they keep making the same mistakes, in which case I should consider it might be deliberate malice not incompetence.
- Was an otherwise lovely person having an off day? If it’s a one off, consider pain, low blood sugar, illness, sleep deprivation, depression, or some other crap that had nothing to do with me. If I didn’t cause it, maybe I just need to be gentle with it and patient with them and ask about it when they are feeling better. If not taking it personally helps to improve things all round, it wasn’t personal and there is no need to feel hurt by it.
- From their perspective, would it all make sense? Is the problem my baggage and sensitivities? If so, consider explaining or consider letting it go. Consider trying to adjust to be more in line with their world if that way looks better.
- Could they be acting out of their own wounds and damaged history? Pain and fear can distort thinking and action in ways that don’t make immediate sense as such from the outside. Is this protective in some way? If it is, what are they protecting and what might I need to do to help them be more at ease, and do I need to ask about it?
- Are they acting out of a sense of entitlement? Self importance and posturing tend to go with this, along with total unwillingness to flex for anyone else’s comfort or need. Self important people are not compassionate unless trying to look good, all too often, and are too willing to use others to raise themselves. If there is repeated evidence of a sense of entitlement and self importance, walk away. These people are often working in these ways to protect their own fear and damage, but when it manifests this way, experience to date suggests that they won’t change. People willing to own their vulnerability can be supported in changing. People defending themselves through trying to look bigger than everyone else are simply not ready to change and are likely to cause harm.