It’s interesting to change our perspective in how we look at this Agreement. Most of the time we think of not taking things personally because they create pain and suffering. We put up a mental barrier so that we remain safe. But what about when we are complimented, when someone says something nice to us? What do we do then?
Here are 3 possible scenarios of what might happen when someone compliments you, on your great smile, for instance. Notice if any of these resonate true for you.
1) Our ego gets inflated. We become more self-involved with thoughts of how great/nice/sweet we are.
“Yes, I do have a great smile... and a lot of others things as well. I am pretty cute and I work out so I look really great. (pretty fancy pride on self) When I go into that meeting room, I feel like I can take over. Everyone listens to me - I command. I love that feeling!”
Shoulders stand tall, head is held high, a little swagger in our step.
2) We don’t believe them... that what they are saying is true or that they are being honest. We may question their motivation and be suspicious. We may also engage further with our self criticism, having a personal sensitivity touched.
“Why does she say I have a nice smile? Does she notice that I don’t smile very often? I don’t seem happy a lot. Ugh! Does everyone really know? Geez, I can’t stand myself...”
Our head may hang low, shoulders hunched, mind dwelling in unhealthy places.
3) We acknowledge their words with appreciation but don’t mentally do anything with it. We smile back, thank them, and continue with our day. We don’t let their compliment propel us to ‘Love Me Land’ or beat us down to ‘Depths of Hell’. We appreciate their words and attention and then move on. Being secure enough in ourselves to not need the attention of another, the impact to who and how we are is minimal.
Notice which response you identified with - or perhaps a mix. Was any of this tied to how you might have felt about yourself in that moment. If you are feeling secure in yourself, would you respond differently than if you had a tough day?
There’s an element of attachment that can be found when someone says something pleasant, something we like and might want more of. Adding to our pride, building our ego, seeing ourselves as more unique or special can all be fed by this Glee Grasping. Some days it’s just a relief to be seen. Since our mind typically wanders into self-criticism so easily and for more of the day than we would like, it can feel really good when we are noticed or seen positively. There’s nothing wrong with that. The tricky part is what we do with that compliment and how we can misuse it.
The third choice above is what Don Miguel is asking that we do - that we stay neutral, regardless of what another says or does. If we are steady and sturdy in who we are, there’s no need to take on the reflection from another to determine that. If our strength is based on Love, especially self-love, we are free. We are free from the complications and dependency on others to create our identity and our worth. We can trust ourselves to live strong no matter what the circumstance, love ourselves and others as they are, and make responsible choices in how we live and act in this world.
Please share your comments, questions, ideas, reflections, etc.
Peace to All!!
Mindfulness & Stress Management Coach