Forgive me for being an extension of your dysfunctional family of origin

People can be foolish, heartless, annoying and toxic. 

But since we can’t change others, we can only change our responses to them, the onus is on us to take the first step. Before reverting to cynicism and deeming that all people are blanks, we learn to start from a place compassion and curiosity. 

Because every grating personality trait in another person has a long history behind it. Every emotional response is reasonable and logical based on that person’s personal journey. 

In fact, by the time most of us reach adulthood, each person still contains heaps leftover pain that no person could ever fix. And it’s just waiting to be activated. 

Imagine a coworker condescends you during the weekly staff meeting. It’s not necessarily because you did something wrong. It’s because that guy has trauma in his psyche which is reexperienced through your language. He doesn’t see you as you really are, but as an extension of his dysfunctional family of origin. You remind him of his older brother or drunk uncle or overbearing mother. 

This is where compassion and curiosity come into play. You leave your disdain for that guy’s opinion behind and approach him as a human being who is hurting. Instead of harboring ill feelings towards this person who is teaching you a difficult lesson today, you ask yourself a question. 

How is it possible that this person could think or behave in this way, and under what circumstances would it make perfect sense to do so? 

There is almost always a logical answer to that question. Because people aren’t evil, they’re just complicated. 

Next time you’re in a meeting with a client and resentments which that person thought they didn’t have suddenly emerge, forgive them. 

Next time you’re eating dinner with a friend and they find themselves needing to deal with guilt or anger they thought they had already eliminated, forgive them. 


Are you trying to change people, or change your response to them? 

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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