We have a hard time separating ourselves from other people and their actions. We commonly run everything through the filter of “me”. When we let go of the “me filter” we can view things more clearly.
Example 1: My child lied to me.
My thought: I am a bad mother.
Example 2: My co-worker didn’t talk to me when she walked past.
My thought: She doesn’t like me.
Example 3: My husband works late three nights a week.
My thought: He doesn’t want to be with me.
When we use the actions of others as a reflection of us in some way, we become a different version of ourselves. If I think I’m a bad mother, I ruminate on my mistakes and shortcomings instead of trying to understand and be curious about why my child feels like lying is his best option. Is he afraid? Does he feel like I won’t approve of him in some way? He must have good reason. I would like to be open enough to understand.
If I think my co-worker doesn’t like me, I may get quiet and timid around her. I may be apologetic or less communicative. When I make it less about me, I can be curious about how she is feeling or what she may be struggling with. I can be a friend and a support instead of hurt by her behavior.
When I think by husband doesn’t want to be with me, I get defensive and offended. I get needy and whiney (then he probably doesn’t want to be around me). When I give him the benefit of the doubt, I trust that he will come home as soon as he can. He works hard to support our family and be a great employee. I can be a soft place to land when he arrives.