Those Mean People? It’s Not Personal

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Last night on the last summer camp telesession during June, inquirers got together and looked at a couple of powerful stressful beliefs.

Someone is doing something.

You don’t like it.

You wish they didn’t want to do that. You’d prefer they had no interest.

And yet, there they are doing it.

Arrggghhhhh! Teeth grinding!

A son selling pot, a brother-in-law cheating the government, a friend being thoughtless, a volunteer team expecting too much, someone lying.

Is it true that they shouldn’t want what they want?

Yes. When they want these things, they hurt other people.

Can you absolutely know that this is true that their actions, what they want, isn’t good?

Yes. She was awful. She hurt me. She’s out to get me. She wants me to fail, suffer. She’s jealous.

She is wrong!

How do you react when you believe she shouldn’t want to do what she’s doing? When you believe a dictator shouldn’t want to ruin a whole country? When you think that person you care about shouldn’t want what they want, because their actions are causing great pain?

Soooooo angry. Enraged. Furious.

So angry, I wish that person were dead, or never existed.

Wow. Intense.

Who would you be without the thought that the person you have in mind really shouldn’t want what they appear to want?

It takes a moment.


Without that belief of being so deeply against what they want….hmmm….

I’d notice my surroundings. I’d notice the room I’m in, the beautiful white couch near the window. My son sitting next to me playing a gameboy something.

I’m curious as I watch this person without the thought that they actually want to do harm.

Even when they apparently have.

Last night I went out to dinner with my husband, son and daughter to celebrate my son turning 20. My daughter was telling us how in history class last year she learned about some leaders who controlled entire countries and generations, and caused the death of many people.

Who would I be without the belief that those leaders throughout history shouldn’t have wanted what they wanted?

It wouldn’t mean I wouldn’t stop them, if I could. Like Hitler.

But the agonizing despair is not present, the depth of the rage and fury.

I can feel the silence and peace within, the emptiness.

Turning the thought around: those people should want what they want.

Perhaps every moment, every experience, everything they’ve ever felt in their entire lives, every encounter….has led up to them having something in them move towards the strange, violent, sick, painful action they are taking.

It may have nothing really to do with me.

How could it?

An entire lifetime happened, inside them, before I ever came along.

“Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally…. Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in….Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you….If you do not take it personally, you are immune in the middle of hell.” ~ Miguel Ruiz

I shouldn’t want what I want…especially when it comes to that person I’m perceiving as horrid.

Because it doesn’t feel good to hate.

“If I think that someone else is causing my problem, I’m insane.” ~ Byron Katie


I can be free, open-handed, with no shields up, even if I am attacked and killed, condemned, beaten, yelled at, betrayed, stabbed in the back, lied to, abandoned.

I can pick love, no matter what.

I don’t even have to pick…I just question my thoughts, and kindness seems to begin to seep in.

Compassion grows.

It doesn’t mean I have to hang out with them, be their best friend, chat them up, or spend time at their house. I might even want them in jail.

But I don’t have to hurt myself by thinking about it and believing it’s true every second.

“They know not what they do.” ~ Jesus of Nazareth

Can you give yourself some forgiveness today?

Much Love, Grace

4 Replies to “Those Mean People? It’s Not Personal”

  1. I’ve been away much of the summer and now catching up on emails, including reading Grace notes that slipped by. Some I’ve read some I haven’t and this was one I’d missed.
    It’s beautiful. As I read it, I was reacting along: they shouldn’t hurt people, shouldn’t do that. And then, just like you wrote: kindness seems to begin to seep in. They should do what they do because they believe their thoughts. I’ve done things I later could see were hurtful, even knew at the time they probably were. And it was because I thought I had no choice, because I was trapped in stories. I’ve been a dictator with my thoughts: “They shouldn’t do that.”
    Thank you.

  2. Oh, Grace. You’ll never how appropriate this read was at this moment. I feel so much better, I can let go now. Thanks for the comfort. XOXO. (My sister is such a “B word”. And she wants it all.)

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