I was reminded this week in painful circumstance how it is human nature to judge ourselves by our motives and others by their actions.
If we can try, with great difficulty sometimes, to wonder why we have received the reaction we have and to consider how our behaviour might have been read by others. We can begin to understand what their motives are and perhaps judge a little more kindly, but what can one do if we have acted in good conscious and been judged wanting? It is all too easy to go to the defensive, but I think there is a need to take a deep breath, wonder about others motives, and question ourselves first of course; what was my part in this? And then respond with strength. A response in anger, a response in pain at having been misjudged might cost more than one ever wished for. That said, with consideration taken, I think there must be then some bravery in standing up for what one believes. There is no benefit to painful silence which results in a passive aggressive outcome for months to come. We cannot use the excuse of pretending to understand another’s motives to let us off the hook from facing the uncomfortable; standing up for one’s values, and a determination to be treated with respect.
The need for a reiteration of boundaries or even the creation of new ones can be uncomfortable, but necessary to our own self-esteem. Even if you are judged as the one at fault, out of your earshot perhaps. What matters more in the longer term is the esteem you hold yourself in; others will come and go but you will always live with yourself.
The belief that we teach others how we will be treated is a painful reality. There is always a need for honest communication, without accusation, to understand points of view, but a certain hardiness that you are willing to walk away from someone who treats you with less regard than deserved must be aimed for. Nice maybe just that, nice. It is also bland and forgetful; brave is standing up for what you believe and asking to be heard. Be brave; accept that sometimes your motives will be misunderstood, but better that than for no one to ever know what you stood for.