Previously I have written about how we treat others is truly a reflection on how we feel about ourselves titled ‘Self Reflection in Others”
This post was about how we feel about ourselves is manifest in the way we respond and interact to those around us. When we accept this self realization we can become kinder and more gentle, yet more powerful and confident.
The other side of this spectrum also holds true. When we are treated poorly by others, we often react to the stimuli, whether this reaction is silent or outspoken for the world to hear, we all react.
The difficult part of this comes within ourselves. Do we choose to see and listen to the abuse from others, allowing them to ruin our day? Do we shy away from someone due to potential conflict? Do we deny ourselves experiences based upon someone else’s behavior?
Many times we choose to allow others power over us in the way that they treat us. We teach others how we want to be treated based upon what we will accept from them. When we hold our ground, kindly, firmly, yet peacefully we have more power in that moment than the other person could ever have.
Power comes from confidence and knowing who we are. Part of this knowing is understanding this dynamic of how we treat others is a reflection upon how we feel about ourselves.
So true is how others treat us is how they feel about themselves. Those that are angry or mean spirited individuals in reality have terrible self esteem and do not like themselves. Whether it be the waitress that was rude, the tire tech that called you a jerk, the guy that flipped you off on the highway. These individuals who go through life bulldozing over others are so disgusted within themselves that they react to their own internal struggles and guilt by abusing those they come in contact with.
As we lift and serve one another we can find that we actually become stronger, more confident individuals as this manifests beauty within ourselves. We see ourselves in the people we serve with heartfelt kindness and genuine intent. We can improve our own self loathing through this service.
The way we treat others, including strangers, not only reflects how we feel about ourselves but also creates within growth in those feelings. If we treat others in a negative fashion, we will certainly see ourselves worse than we did before. If we are kind, we too see that within ourselves. We gain confidence, strength and humility along the way.
Many years ago I used to compare my life and the dreams that I had envisioned for myself against that of my twin brothers life. Our entire lives we were compared to one another by others, therefore as we grew older it seemed natural to compare where our lives were similar and where they were different. Our entire childhood had been spent sharing everything; our bedroom, our clothes, our friends, our birthdays; everything. I remember going to friends houses alone and the first question asked was always, Where’s Joe? Our identities as a children were completely intertwined with one another.
As we have gotten older and each had our children, the differences in our lives have been significant. I am deeply grateful for the success my brother has experienced with his family. While I am deeply grateful for his success happiness, over the years I have struggled as a result of these comparisons that have been made throughout our lives. With the choices of my ex and the impact it has taken on my dreams for my family and children, the challenges we have each faced have been extremely different. My brother has been able to be with his children everyday of their lives, I on the other hand have been shortchanged in this regard and get 6 days a month to be a dad. This comparison would always be brought up whenever I would run into anyone who knew the two of us, as the first question always asked is, how’s Joe? I would always be asked about his family and how they were doing while trying to avoid the subject for me.
I found over the years that comparing the family my brother had and the family I desired was destroying me. I would avoid family gatherings, unless of course I had my children with me. I built walls around me as protection against the blatant difference in our lives as we are still being compared by so many of those who know us. I closed off as I continually heard I’m so sorry about what your going through. I am so happy for your brother. Why couldn’t others be happy for me too?
Finally after many years of avoiding comparisons in life, I gained the wisdom and the strength to put things in their proper perspective. I discovered the personal strength, the wisdom and the character that I had been able to develop as a result of the challenges I had been faced with in my life. The growth within myself that I experienced could not have come in any other way. The man I am today is a direct result of the life I have been given and without these differences in our lives I could not have become what I needed to become. I could never have become what I have become without first facing the challenges I have been given my past. I am profoundly grateful for these differences in my life when I realize the strength I have developed within me.
While others may continue to compare my life with that of my dear twin, I no longer fall victim to that game. Our lives are richly blessed and forever intertwined. We will always be twins and with that there will always be comparisons.
It is easy for many of us to get caught up comparing our lives with that of others. We long to be like them or have what they have, for some reason or another. These comparisons may seem normal, however as we compare our lives with anyone else we will always lose. Our individuality is what makes each of us great and unique! When we waste our time comparing we lose the time that could be spent being one of a kind. We aren’t meant to all be the same. There is tremendous power in each of us and the differences within us.