People are always doing their best
Through years of working with people from all sorts of backgrounds and even more years working on my own “stuff” I have (at times reluctantly) grown to believe we are all doing our best, in any given moment. Which means that others are also always doing their best.
Not that what we are doing is acceptable but that in any given moment we are doing are best in that moment with all the conditioning, defenses, fears, beliefs and emotional intelligence we have. When we don’t do what we want to do for our highest good, its because we are triggered somewhere. And although the trigger may be interpreted in a million different ways, from talking to people and really listening I have come to the conclusion that in that given moment they are still doing their best.
I know when I bring this into my work it can be hard to hear when referring to others, however surprisingly it is often harder when we refer to ourselves in this way. It’s often met with statements such as “I know better”, “I should have done better” and so on….
Sometimes I hate that I “know” this on a deeper level, especially in times when people annoy me or harm me or down right drive me nuts OR worse when I do something myself that hits below the high standards I hold for myself. This compassionate response grates me most in those moments.
When we do badly, when we truly F up .. it is usually because our defenses are kicking in .. our protections are trying to protect us .. even if they are escalating the situation.. Have you ever had teh situation where you wanted someone to understand you but were so hurt you gave them silent treatment instead?!? No? is that just me then??
Most of us berate ourselves and others for bad behavior .. as if someone how it will change something…. believe me it does the opposite … similar to if I asked you not to think of a white elephant … what would happen to your thoughts?
We need to focus on what we want, not where we are falling down .. otherwise we become problem focused.
BUT if we brought compassion to ourselves and others we might have enough energy and focus to shift into the solution .. which is changing unhelpful behavior for more effective actions.. Like actually sharing what we want understood instead of not.
Now we can only ever bring compassion when we have firm boundaries of what is and isn’t acceptable. Where abuse is present, boundaries need to be the focus.. not compassion. Compassion before boundaries is not ok, it is a way of accepting the unacceptable.
Working from the ethos that everyone is doing their best can serve us all greatly. It can stop us making other peoples behaviors about us, it can help us let go of unhealthy dynamics without trying to “fix” another person, it can help us bring compassion to others rather than hate, it can help us support ourselves through change rather than shame and it can help us keep hope in humanity.
Working with people and doing my own personal work has shown me that although we have choice, we have a strong history that unconsciously impacts us and emotionally moves us to repeat patterns we consciously don’t want to.
Bring the ethos of always doing are best into our everyday approach to change, teaches us to be present with what is conscious and unconscious in a way that doesn’t shame us.
It isn’t easy to live this ethos, however it really helps when having to separate ourselves from others and honor our own experiences.
Seeing that what someone does, says everything about where they are at in that moment, their coping skills and nothing about us. Just like what we say or do says everything about what we are managing, how we are coping in any given moment and nothing really to do with them!
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