I read a quote today from Carl Jung:
Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.
Now I’ve often heard the statement to the effect that what we don’t like in other people we also see in ourselves (or similar words) and whilst I recognize how that works to some extent, I’ve never really thought it totally pertained – but this quote is nearer to the truth for me.
Because, if I don’t like murderers, does that mean I’m a murderer? If I don’t like sexual predators, does it make me guilty of rape?
On a more down to earth level, if I don’t like that some people shout and bully, does that mean that I shout and bully too?
Actually, it’s something deeper than that.
Even though I’m sure I’ve been guilty of shouting and bullying in my time, my default is still to be the victim – to allow the person with the loudest voice to win; to run from conflict, rather than standing my ground when it is right to do so.
It is THAT understanding of myself that I can get from being irritated by someone’s bullying and loud behavior, rather than the behavior itself. It is the recognition that *I* can still treat myself as a second class citizen, regardless of what others do.
And having recognized it, I can work on improving so that I don’t act the victim, and do stand my ground when I should do so.
At least, that’s the way it seems to work for me:)