PBR EP41: Understanding Others; with More Love
Why do people do what they do?
Why do people do what they do? For the same reason you do what you do. What do people want, and what do they fear? Well, they want the same thing you want, and they fear the same thing you fear. However, we all tell different stories about it. When we get lost in believing these stories, things get complicated.
There’s an opportunity here to deeply understand others through understanding yourself. A powerful approach to this, is to understand that when you are trying to understand another person, you’re actually trying to understand yourself. In fact, in endeavoring to understand anything in the world, the underlying motivation is to understand yourself more clearly; to understand who or what is this one that I appear to be in the world.
For me, the drive for self-understanding is the gateway to viewing others with more love and compassion. However, first, let's understand these stories that consume us.
When people share stories about their desires or fears (what they want or don’t want), do you take them at face value (do you believe them)? Or, can you recognize that their desires and fears run deeper than the surface stories? This is especially important when there is any emotional disturbance involved. Why? Because to be emotionally disturbed is to perceive yourself at a painful distance from what you ‘really’ want, or to perceive what you really want as being threatened. However, as it relates to what’s actually real and true, there is no distance between where you are now and what you ‘really’ want, and what you really want isn’t being threatened. The emotional disturbance is signaling a misunderstanding, signaling a confusion that separates the self (through perception) from what is actually desired.
Was that too complicated? Let’s simplify…
If you explore your desires and fears (self-understanding), underneath the stories you tell about what you want, you will find a desire to “know you are enough,” which leads to a feeling of wellness; in some sense. Under the stories about what you fear, you will find a deeper fear of “not being enough,” which creates an emotional disturbance; the opposite of wellness.
A More Profound Understanding
These examples of “enough/not enough” are illustrations (pointers) and can also be communicated another way. We could say “loved/not loved” or “secure/insecure” and on and on. The point being is, our fundamental desire is associated with seeing ourselves as whole and complete, and our fear is that what we are is not whole and complete. The stories we tell represent this, so, the story I tell about what I want and don’t want, is really expressing a desire to connect with the truth of my wholeness/love-ability, and what I fear is that I’m not whole/lovable.
How does this help me understand others with more love? By seeing beyond their stories and realizing that if they are struggling with emotional disturbance, they are really just afraid that they are not enough. They cannot see that they are enough right now simply because they are lost in their stories.
Similarly, if I become absorbed in their stories and believe that they are separate from what they are seeking, I too may think that the solution lies in the future. This leads to the fear that they might not be able to find it. In a way, it’s like I buy into the illusion that they are missing something, and this will most certainly lead to more confusions that see life and other people in the way; essentially, expressing an energy of blame and fueling their (and my) confusion. This confusion, is what withholds love. If I think I’m not enough, then this perception will withhold love from myself. The solution is to see that I am enough, so that love can be allowed to flow again. The solution is NOT to get what I want, so I can love myself. This only perpetuates the illusion that my worth and value is determined by, or given to me, by something outside myself.
To Summarize the above…
People do what they do because they want what you want and fear what you fear, but they tell different stories about it. To understand them, you first have to understand yourself. Emotional disturbances arise from feeling disconnected from what you really want or perceiving what you want as threatened. However, your desires and fears are simply pointing to your desire to be whole and complete. When you see beyond others' stories and realize they are struggling with a sense of inadequacy, you can understand them with greater compassion; maybe help them see themselves more clearly. Don't fall for the illusion that they are lacking something or that their worth is determined by external factors, as this only adds to confusion and a lack of love.
As we reconnect, or see ourselves more clearly, we can then engage life in a new and more productive way. It’s the profound difference between…
- Moving and living from wholeness and love, doing what we do.
- Seeking or chasing wholeness and love, doing what we do with fear and anxiety we might not get it.
Unkind & Violent People?
What about other people who are unkind or violent? What I find to be the most helpful and incredibly profound is to go back to self-understanding.
- What's going on in myself when I'm unkind or violent?
In every case, there is fear. Fear of what? The fear that I'm not enough, and there is so much pain that it's spilling out of me and pointed in the direction of others.
Furthermore, it's critical to see that my unkindness and violence isn't really about the other person. I'm lost, confused, scared, and under the misperception that it's about someone else (blame). However, upon deeper reflection, I see so clearly that it's not really about them at all. More accurately, I’m scared of losing what I’m holding on to in the world for my sense of validation.
Super simple example: if someone doesn't reply to my email and I get emotionally disturbed, there is an assumption that interprets that as meaning, “I'm not enough.” This interpretation is my confusion, and the pain of this is not caused by the other person, it's caused by my misunderstanding. If I'm unconscious of this, I will believe my story and then blame them for my emotional disturbance, which can only result in withholding love from them; i.e., being unkind or violent.
In this self-understanding, I see that this is what happens in all selves. Whenever someone is being unkind or violent in my direction, it's not really about me. There is an innocent misunderstanding where they see themselves as unwhole, incomplete, or unlovable. This understanding dramatically changes the energy dynamic of the interaction and also changes how you approach the situation. I really invite you to explore this: see how you engage other people, when you take their comments or behavior personally, as if it means something about you.
What makes dealing with unkind or violent people difficult is the assumption that it's personal; the assumption that it's about YOU. This, of course, is just the same confusion added to their confusion, which only fuels the fire. This is why people often combat unkindness with more unkindness or fight violence with more violence. The real solution is to meet unkindness with kindness or to meet fear with love. Naturally, this is very difficult to do if you're taking things personally because you're not seeing things clearly, and you'll be in a state of fear yourself.
I'm not suggesting here that we allow people to walk all over us; however, I am suggesting an opportunity to see that in so many cases, when you think people are being unkind to you, they are not really being unkind to YOU. They are simply expressing what's happening on the inside of what they are; and, in a very sincere way, they are asking for help to see themselves more clearly. Whether they are open to that help or not is another question.
There is an ART to this, an art in dealing with others that is developed through a self-understanding. If you want to dive deeper into this skill-set, and rapidly free yourself from these confusions, I recommend exploring the possibility of working with me directly. Just sayin'.
I’ll be diving deeper into this topic during the live video broadcast today on YouTube, for the “Holding Space for Love to Be Seen” Show! Come play.