I've noticed the desire to “help” others who are being run by old painful story by pointing it out to them. This has rarely worked well. After years of disasterous attempts to “enlighten” a loved one, I finally began to inquire into this compulsive habit. I asked myself, “Why do I feel obligated to set them straight?” I recognized that my need to help others “see”, was me resisting my own blindness. What I did, again and again, was to unconsciously project my beliefs about me onto them and then try to fix me through them. How do I know that it's my story I'm seeing and not theirs? Because I wouldn't be judging it as unacceptable unless I had judged it in me first. Our judgments are always about ourselves. In short, I am the one who needs “straightening out”!
I have to laugh at the way it works. I see something out there that “shouldn't be” ….
Here's a real life example:
I was feeling frustrated with my husband about the way he collects “junk”. “It's a form of scarcity mentality”, I told myself … “he shouldn't be such a packrat”. So in an attempt to “help him”, I reflect to him my concerns and ask him if I might assist him in cleaning up the garage. He reacts defensively. I react negatively to his reaction. We had words.
I worked to stay calm outwardly although I was hooked internally… I apologized for my part, but could not let go of the inner demand that he own his part. I SO wanted him to see how unreasonable he was being. “He SHOULD own his part … after all, it's not ALL my fault … I'm not the only one who is wrong!”
After some inner processing, I recognized my storyline. I was reacting out of an old core belief that said, “it's always my fault”. My ego was still playing that story from childhood about being bad. Obviously I was still mad about it… mad because I thought that I had to be the bad one and at the same time, unforgiving of myself for being the bad one. In order to live with the self hatred that accumulates as a result, I turn to denial! “It is NOT my fault!”, I inwardly rail! “It's YOUR fault!” Denial, followed by projection. It's inevitable.
I realized that I was demanding from my husband what I needed to do, which was to own my part. I laughed out loud when I realized that what I was seeing as his “problems” were in fact helping me to see myself more clearly! For instance, I realized that I too am a “packrat” of sorts. I hold on to and refuse to part with beliefs and defenses that no longer serve. Instead I store them away for a rainy day and, like him, I get very defensive when I think someone is asking me to let these aspects go.
I also realized that a lot of my interaction with him had come from a subconscious search for evidence to support a story about him as being unwilling to own his part. In other words, my ego “used him” to get the outcome it desired! If I get barebones honest, I see that I was looking for a fight in order to justify an old favorite story about how unfair it is to be the “only one who ever owns my stuff”. This is what ego's do. Project a story out and then provoke a reaction to verify the projection.
Love is absent when ego is busy gathering evidence for its' favorite painful story.
I decided to admit my inner discoveries to my husband and “own my part” without worrying about whether or not he reciprocated. It no longer mattered whether he ever “owned his part” or not – heck, maybe he didn't even have a part to own – Whether or not he did or didn't was no longer my concern. It just wasn't my business.
I was standing in the kitchen washing my hands when I heard him approach. I turned with a smile on my face, ready to apologize for my inappropriate reaction … and met his smile. He stepped forward and beautifully “owned his part”. Without my asking! Obviously he had been released too. I couldn't help but wonder if it happened for us in the same instant! And in that miraculously crazy, seemingly impossible moment, it occurred to me that when I internally released him from blame, our future was changed into something better. My letting go of judgments and should's about him allowed us to move into this moment of peace and made possible an immediate future of self-forgiveness and harmony.
I've seen it before. This was not the first time that I awakened enough to clear my own negative story about someone, or something in life and found that doing so seemed to dissipate the external resistance automatically. Just goes to show (to me anyway) that the World is the mirror through which we see ourselves. It points to where the story is being internally held and then reflects our progress in making the corrections. There is nothing that requires my intervention – only sticky places within me that are asking to be seen and released from captivity.
Practice self-responsibility through self-forgiveness. But only if you are ready for the magic to begin! 😉