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Doing for Self versus Doing to Others – part 2

This is the second of a two-part blog, so please read Doing for Self versus Doing to Others part 1 before continuing. This blog is to help you understand that, just as what you do to take care of yourself or do for yourself is not meant to hurt others, what others do for themselves is not necessarily something being done to you or to hurt you. As I said in part one, if someone is taking care of himself or herself and in the process hurts another person (even you!), that’s natural and normal—and part of the rhythm of life.

Other people may do things to make themselves feel better that are truly awful for you to observe or bear the brunt of. Your son shooting heroin may gravely distress you, but that may be his best current way of trying to care for himself. Your daughter may marry someone you just know will break her heart, but she is not doing it to hurt you. She is doing it because this is how she is taking care of her need to be wanted or loved or maybe because she wants to be married now that all her friends are. It’s not about you.

When you apply for a job and don’t get it, the boss need not take into account whether you believe you were perfect for the job or not. He or she need not give a thought to your dwindling savings or your desire to save enough money for a down-payment on a house. The boss should be focused on how right you are for the job and that’s it. A similar situation arises when you meet people you fancy for a lover, friend or partner. They may not be interested in you and, therefore, not respond to your advances. This is because they expect you to understand that they’re making the best decision for themselves rather than focusing on sparing your feelings.

Would you really want to be hired if you weren’t right or best for a job or have people spend time with you merely to avoid hurting your feelings? Maybe you would because you so often make decisions, not by what’s best for you, but according to avoiding hurting others. Well, this is not the way the world works. Consider whether you’re someone who’s always so worried about hurting others’ feelings that you hire or date or befriend others simply to avoid hurting them. How healthy is that?

So get used to being rejected and get over the feeling that someone is doing something to you. They’re not. The same way you hopefully make choices that are in your best interest, so are they. Feel free to feel bummed or disappointed when you don’t get what you want, but make sure you’re not telling yourself that someone is doing something to you or to hurt you. Quit distressing yourself, a situation which may cause you to turn to food for solace. Make an accurate meaning of the interaction and you’ll feel a lot better.

How Trauma Can Lead to Personal Growth
Doing for Self versus Doing to Others – part 1

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