“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves”. Carl Jung
I have a teacher who is not one of my normal gurus. She is a person I have met in many guises in many countries. This is a good opportunity to learn the lessons without signing up for a class.
I can’t run nor hide from her. She is a part of my tribe in this place. I don’t want to claim her and, especially, do not want to be aligned with her. There is a big lesson to be learned.
She is very confrontational to me. I am wondering…is it the need to be right? Is it a jockeying for position as the alpha personality? Is she pecking at me to see if she can gain my approval? This causes me to recede further, eluding her emotional grasp. I work to keep a neutral face.
She is dismissive and disdainful of so much of the time. She lives in a foreign country and doesn’t seem to admire anything about it. (Perhaps the weather and the cost of living.) Does she need to feel greater than? Does she feel trapped by some circumstance that keeps her here? Is she unaware of her own attitude? I want to ask her why she is here. I want to tell her to accept what is without so much angst. She is making me tired with her words that fly into warfare as they emerge from her mouth.
She is invasive. She doesn’t allow the privacy of others and assumes that she is welcome (with her large dogs) in anyone’s house, at anytime, without asking leave. I want to stand in my doorway and say that I am not prepared for visitors. I want to shield my floor (with its shoes and books tossed helter-skelter) from her sweeping gaze. I wish I had done my dishes. I feel I am being judged and found wanting.
The worst is her volatility. She is not trustworthy. Secrets of others fly out through her lips if they serve her need for conversation. She will not or cannot accept a quiet statement but must grab it and twist it, blatting her perception to all within earshot; whether they want to hear or not. I don’t want to become her friend. I don’t want to misunderstood or to be exposed.
So what are my lessons?
If I am not ready for interaction, I should stay in seclusion. It’s okay to preserve my aloneness. It is not my wish to maintain an attitude of aloofness and distance.
If I walk openly and lovingly in the world, the people within my space may be more at peace. They won’t need to pick at me to wonder who I am and what I am thinking.
I am not responsible for the attitudes of others. If I truly feel my presence in a situation is construed as an association of ideas, I can remove myself, politely and easily. I needn’t listen, nor need I try to change the flow of ideas that is taxing or disagreeable, unless I am just practicing avoidance of a lesson I should be learning by gather information.
I do have a right to my privacy. I can have boundaries and use them when necessary. Who I am is not subject to the approval of anyone but myself. I can be comfortable live as I like in my own space using courtesy to provide for those I invite in whether into my home or into my life.
Is my real lesson about fear? Fear that I will be exposed. Fear that I will be hurt. Fear that I will be perceived differently than I wish to be perceived.
I my greatest lesson is to know that this woman is an extension of myself. That my fear stems from my animosity toward myself in her. So I must accept myself. And i must be open – know that I will remain standing as a whole spiritual being no matter what. That only I can detract from myself and I do that when I detract from someone else.
Originally published in My Life Class on January 20, to 2017