It is not uncommon to hear how important it is to be kind to others and while this is important, it is also important for people to be kind to themselves. In fact, if one is kind to themselves, they‘re more likely to be kind to other people.
The reason there is a greater focus on how someone treat others is partly because it is a lot easier to notice how one treats others than it is to notice how they treat themselves. As a result of this, what is taking place internally is often overshadowed by what is taking place externally.
So people are often taught to treat others with respect and this can then become something they are conditioned to do. Similarly to how one has been conditioned to turn a door handle a certain way when they go into a room.
It then might not matter how they feel about another person or how they feel in general, as they’re going to treat them in a certain way. Now, clearly it is better for people to treat other people with respect, however, this can be nothing more than a cover up.
On the surface, it can look as though everything is fine and that this reflects how people feel about each other. But while everything can look this way, this is unlikely to reflect how people really feel.
Appearances are important in society and so as long as people behave in a certain way; it is not always important how they actually feel. Fulfilling the needs that society has for them is what matters and this means that one has to play a certain role.
Playing A Role
It is not negative per se to play a role, for this is part of life and something we all have to do from time to time. What is negative is when one believes that the role they play is who they are.
An actor is not the role they play and the same applies to people who play a role. Another way would be for people to respect and to value themselves, and then it would be natural for them to treat other in the same way.
From The Inside Out
Treating other people with respect is then not something they need to be told to do; it is just a natural consequence of the fact that they respect themselves. One is then not playing a role or trying to look good, they’re doing what feels right.
When one feels good about themselves and they treat another person badly, they’re likely to end up feeling bad. However, if one feels bad about themselves and then treats another person badly, it can feel good.
There is also the chance that one is unaware of how they treat other people and this is why they continue to treat other people badly. If one treats themselves badly, then how they treat other people is then a reflection of how they treat themselves
Although one might be treating other people badly, it is unlikely to be as bad as they treat themselves. Just because one harms themselves, it doesn’t mean they will have the tendency to harm others; as they could come across as being well mannered and respectful.
At times, it is easy to notice when one is harming themselves and at others, it is not as straightforward. This is partly because certain behaviours are seen been a sign that one is harming themselves and others are often overlooked.
It could be because certain behaviours are so common in today’s world and this then causes them to be seen as normal. This then causes them to be overlooked and therefore, nothing changes. So, there are many ways that one can harm themselves, and the options/s that one takes can depend on many different factors.
The following factors can define how one harms themselves: whether one is an introvert or an extrovert, what is socially accepted and what their temperament is like, amongst other things. There will be what one doesn’t do to themselves that causes harm and what they do to themselves.
One can be in a position where they eat too much, not enough or avoid eating the right foods. Pushing one’s body to the limits, engaging in extreme or dangerous sports or cutting oneself is another way that one can harm themselves.
Tattoos and piercings are another way, and so are taking drugs and smoking. A clear example of self harm is if one attempt’s to kill themselves. But while one can try to kill themselves directly, it can be a lot more subtle than that and one can try to do it through: overworking, driving recklessly, neglecting their health and staying in abusive relationships.
What this shows is that one doesn’t like themselves, let alone respect themselves and they’re likely to be experiencing self hate. Their self loathing is seen by how they treat not only themselves, but also others.
Why would someone feel so low, believe that they’re worthless and therefore try to end their life either directly or indirectly? Clearly something is not right and the answer to this question can often be found by looking at what happened during their childhood years.
During this time, one could have experienced abuse and/or neglect. Throughout these early years, one may have been physically, emotionally, sexually and/or verbally abused. At this age, one wouldn’t have had the ability to see that it reflected what was going on for their caregiver’s and in order to survive, one would have had to believe that they were the problem.
If one saw their caregiver/s as the problem, it would cause too much pain; especially as these were the people who were meant to look after and care for ones wellbeing. So it is then vital that one sees themselves as the problem and idealises their caregivers/s.
These early experiences would have caused one to experience toxic shame and this then formed their identity. Ones whole being would have been infiltrated by this toxic shame and then one doesn’t just feel bad, they are bad.
They would have felt as though they are not human, they are less than human. So deeply flawed, that there is nothing they can do to change how they feel or how they see themselves.
However, this doesn’t reflect ones true nature, but all the time the emotional experiences of the past are trapped in their body it is going to be a challenge for them to realise this. The toxic shame and the other feelings that are also trapped in one’s body will need to be faced and released.
This can be done with the assistance of a therapist or a healer. They will hold the space and provide the support that one needs in order to face their pain. This is unlikely to happen overnight, but if one keeps going, they will begin to realise their true value.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.