How Great Thou Part

My friend and I are chatting.

“Why do people think they can say whatever they want to us?” she asks. “I would never say some of the critical things people tell me to another person. Do you think it is because we are the type of people that share our lives with others? Do you think that makes them believe they have the right to do this?”

“No,” I say. “It is because we lack boundaries. We allow people to say things to us that the average person would not tolerate. The average person would not stay in a friendship with a person who breaks boundaries enough to criticize their personality or actions. They would walk away in the beginning of that type of friendship. The problem is that people like us stick around. We tell ourselves the things we like about the critical person despite their inappropriate behavior. We are also self-reflective enough to ponder and consider their observations.”

“I guess,” she says. “I just can’t imagine criticizing another person about who they are. It isn’t kind.”

My friend is correct.

However, we are collectors of people. We stay with and travel forward with all the people in our lives who have ever meant something to us.

Nonetheless, there are times when we either need to leave someone in our past or travel forward with them with firm boundaries.

Why? An individual who is sitting in front of you while telling you something negative about your personality is simply judging you. It is not constructive. In fact, most adults should know better than to do this because every human being has flaws, just different ones.

When you love someone, you agree to love their flaws.

If their flaws are too annoying, then move on.

If however, in the circumstances my friend is speaking about…

1. The person criticizing you is simply judging you
2. Is controlling and therefore believes they know who you should be
3. Is disrespectful and opinionated and therefore, critical
4. Is not confident enough to allow you to be who you are and see you for who you are
5. Has such a limited world view that they do not tolerate differences in others
6. Is a poor communicator and won’t allow you – your own truth and different opinions

It is time to move away from that person sitting in front of you and, announcing their opinion of you.

It is time to push that chair away from the table – to get up and move on – or set very firm boundaries so that this person no longer is given permission to judge, criticize and make you feel badly about yourself.

I remember asking my marriage counselor one day, “How come difficult personalities get away with so much bad behavior and no one says anything? And yet, they speak their minds and say things to others that should never be tolerated.”

After all, there are obnoxious people, outspoken people, opinionated people, uptight people who get away with their bad behaviors all the time.

“Generally,” my marriage counselor replied. “People just don’t want to take on a difficult personality.”

It is also because many of these difficult personalities surround themselves with caring and enabling personalities who would think it unkind to point out THEIR flaws.

My friend is one of the kindest people that I know.

If you truly know her, you would never be able to bring yourself to say anything harsh to her. She spends her life worrying about other people and helping other people. In fact, to know her is to know that she is so self-reflective that she can be hard on herself. She doesn’t need a friend to do that for her. What she needs is a friend who allows her to be who she is and loves her for that alone.

She needs to get up from the table and push that chair away and perhaps…TURN BACK AROUND AND SAY…

“Let me tell you a little something about yourself.”

Only, she is to kind to do that.
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