Sometimes I like to ask a lot of questions. A few days ago I ran into an old friend.
“I can’t stand my sister!” She said, “She’s a horrible, horrible person!”
“Why?” I said.
“She says really nasty things!”
“What happens then?”
“Well, I feel really terrible and I just want to run away.”
“So, when you’re with your sister she says terrible things, you feel terrible, and you want to run away?”
“Is there any other time you have those feelings?’
“When I go for job interviews, I hate them!’
“The same feelings?”
“ So it’s the feelings that are the problem. Not your sister and what she says.”
“ Well…. Yeah”.
“If you didn’t have those feelings she could say what she likes and you’d be fine.”
“So, your sister is an opportunity for you to deal with them then.”
She thought this was a bit of a revelation but I thought it was no big deal. Most of us carry conditioned responses from childhood that can leave us living our lives within an invisible cage if we avoid them by blaming others. Other people are merely the triggers, especially if they're people from the past who were a tad judgemental. Feeling judged and criticized can send us tumbling out of control into the feelings of helplessness and being undervalued that were common for many of us as kids.
I believe the way to deal with this is to own the feelings and not blame others. Notice them as they arise and eventually they pass. The cause isn’t now but in the past. Blaming others, or big business, or climate change or anything you read in the paper isn’t going to help much.