Like most people I’m sure, I don’t like being ‘reprimanded’ and as most others, I have developed defense and survival strategies to deal with the experiences that comes up within me when I experience myself being reprimanded. Today I had an experience of being reprimanded where I saw an interesting mechanism unfold within and through my mind.
First of all, I’d like us to have a look at the words “being reprimanded”: I see that the words/perception “being reprimanded” are very specific, because they bring back conscious and subconscious memories of being a child and being “told off” by an adult. In the situation where one is being reprimanded by an adult there is also a very specific dynamic going on, because it assumes that the adult is the authority, has full control over the child and knows what is right and wrong in the situation. The child is completely passive and have no choice but to take the reprimand for example in the form of verbal scolding. Experiencing oneself being reprimanded therefore is specific to feeling victimized, inferior and abused. The ‘correction’ comes from outside oneself with force. This goes hand in hand with feeling blame and resentment towards the adult, but also guilt for having done something that requires one to be reprimanded, where one internalize the judgment/abuse and believes that there’s something wrong with WHO one is due to the nature of the reprimand being somewhat abusive/judgmental in nature. It basically makes you feel bad about yourself.
Did you notice how, in none of this were there any talk about actually learning something, of growing from one’s mistakes, of gaining insight and understanding the world better and thereby being able to prevent mistakes in the future? There weren’t any talk of learning how to take responsibility for oneself either. And yet, we somehow expect children to learn how to do that, as though we can somehow scare them into becoming upstanding citizens, and not the passive aggressive, guilt-ridden people most of us has become, who repeat the same mistakes over and over, because we’ve never actually learned how to embrace our mistakes – and learn from them. To change that, we have to stop the perpetuating the cycles in ourselves.
Now – what I found so fascinating about today’s incident was that it was nowhere near a situation where I was being reprimanded as I were as a child. YET – I react to it the EXACT same way, as if I was back in my childhood body, feeling scolded and abused by an adult and feeling disgusting inside myself because I knew I had done something wrong and felt I deserved the scolding, while secretly hating the adult for making me feel this way.
In observing what played out today, I realized that this is a general reaction that comes up within me in certain situations where I perceive myself as being “corrected” by others or when others point out flaws or mistakes I have done. It is basically like I’ve created a mental ‘allergy’ towards being corrected that I within my mind place it into the category of “being reprimanded”/” being told off” and react to accordingly, exactly as when I was a child.
The reaction that comes up within me when I experience myself being reprimanded is one of immediate blame and self-victimization. So I’d basically experience myself as though someone is throwing an arrow at me, and before it has a chance to hit my chest, I catch it and send it right back at them so that it can’t hurt me.
Practically speaking it out play out in such a way where I would immediately look for flaws and faults in the other person’s argument. Like let’s say that they are saying to me “You didn’t do that thing that we agreed to last week.” I would immediately start searching for things like them not having been specific enough with the instructions or me not knowing that it was my responsibility to get it done, basically look for any and all excuses to get “off the hook” of having done something wrong.
Fortunately, I was able to see the mechanisms play out and stop them in real time and as I did that, I could see how I had in deed missed a point due to an abdication of responsibility on my part. I had neglected to direct a certain point, because of accepting myself to exist in a state of passivity towards a certain point, where I had come to take for granted that others would do things for me and where I had accepted myself to not put any effort into the point.
I would not have realized this if I hadn’t immediately identified and dropped my defense mechanism which is a shame, because it is actually a GOOD THING to realize bad shit about ourselves lol. I mean, facing what’s flawed about ourselves and directing ourselves to change that, is what self-growth is all about.
BUT because I had associated being “corrected” (which this wasn’t even. It was simply someone showing me what I had done) with being “reprimanded” and because I had created such a negative relationship to being reprimanded as a child, my fire walls immediately went up to justify and excuse my behavior.
Looking at it practically, how many times are we actually as adults being reprimanded by other adults? In my life: never. I mean, it could happen with a boss once in a while sure, or in a marriage, but it is not something I’ve personally experienced since being an adult. In fact, I actually see that we as adults are really bad at being able to tell each other when we’ve done something that might require a correction, exactly because we fear the backlash from the other person reacting to our words as though we’re reprimanding them!
This means that we can barely support each other to change, grow and expand, because we can’t even say “hey that thing you did/said back there, it wasn’t cool and I see that it can create these consequences. I suggest you have a look at changing it.” And when someone says something like this to us, what is the standard reaction of most of us? Feeling insulted, becoming defensive, brushing it off, excusing it – anything BUT actually looking at the point in self-honesty and going “you know what: I see what you are saying. Thank you.”
The reason for this is that we’ve created such a negative relationship to anything remotely related to mistakes/points that requires correction due to the way our mistakes are dealt with by adults when we are young. Adults reprimand children. They think that punishing children, excluding them, scolding them will make the child correct itself, but all it does it scare it into submission, a submission that can be subverted at any point, when the child becomes angry enough to defy the adult.
So – I would like to be able to be open and receptive when others show me points I can change or correct. I would like mistakes to be a thing to be celebrated, a healthy challenge for me to expand myself, to grow, to develop. I would like to meet mistakes head on and immediately look at how I can practically correct myself in the future, to prevent the same mistakes, not out of fear, but because I see the potential within myself to expand, to perfect myself, to become someone that I can be proud of and honor and respect.
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to associate others showing me a point that I can correct/change/expand with being reprimanded and told off and scolded, that I then simultaneously invert into myself where I go into a state of self-judgment and self-blame and blame the person whom I perceive as scolding me for making me feel bad
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to take it personal when I perceive and experience myself being reprimanded, scolded and told off and immediately go into a reaction of feeling inferiorized, victimized, abused and guilty and blame the other person for making me feel this way
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to automatically go into a state of self-defense when I perceive that someone is correcting me because I associate being corrected with being reprimanded, scolded and told off and because I associate that with feeling victimized and abused
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to deceive myself into believing that being corrected is the same as being reprimanded, scolded and abused and therefore immediately shut myself off from hearing anything that’s being said and immediately assume that I have to defend myself and so not listen or hear the person out and actually learn something about myself that I can expand from/within
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to immediately attack someone that I perceive to be correcting me through finding flaws in them/their statement through which I can undermine their argument of correction so that I can justify not listening/hearing or taking what they are saying into myself and instead blame them and make it so that I either didn’t make a mistake/do something wrong OR that if I did, then they’re to blame for it
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to immediately look for something I can blame the other person for, if they point out a point in me that requires correction, as a defense mechanism to not have to confront myself with the fact that I’ve possibly made a mistake/done something that requires correction which I’ve come to define as ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ and something that I will be scolded and judged over and that I will judge and blame myself for and therefore have to avoid at all costs to not have a negative/bad experience within me
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to not realize that making mistakes and doing things that creates unnecessary and detrimental consequences is not a bad thing and it does not reflect negatively on who I am if or when I do such things and that I can instead celebrate when I see a mistake/point to correct in myself because it is another opportunity for me to expand and become the person I want to be, as someone whom I am proud of, whom I honor and respect
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to make mistakes/points that requires correction such a taboo within myself that I fear so much, that I’d rather defame someone else and compromise my relationship with them than admit to them or to myself that I’ve made a mistake/done something that requires correction
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to not realize that the reason why I’ve repeated mistakes and kept doing things I knew I needed to correct over the years, is because I have been so afraid of admitting/facing mistakes/points that requires correction within myself that I’ve suppressed and denied them within me at all cost, to not risk being confronted with them and as such with the experience I remember from childhood of self-blame, self-judgment, victimization and shame
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to blame adults as a child, and so blame other adults now for being scolding and judgmental when pointing something out to me that requires correction and so blame them for me not admitting it or changing it and blame them for me feeling bad and suppressing myself – when in fact, I know that they didn’t know better. They were working with the tools available to them based on how they were raised which were in the exact same way in which I would’ve equally raised my kids, had I not started to change this within me, based on thus perpetuating the sins of the fathers in and through which we’re all as equally innocent as responsible
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to take it personal and react when others react to things I’ve done that requires correction, instead of simply remaining stable within myself and within my relationship to mistakes as something that isn’t bad or wrong, but in fact a vital part of learning and growing, and so support the other person to see that too
When and as another is pointing out something to me that they see I can change or correct and I see that I go into a self-defense reaction and don’t want to listen, I stop and I breathe. I relax and open my body and myself up to be be able to hear what they other person is saying and to unconditionally take their words in with gratitude so that I can learn and grow from them
I realize that it is an awesome opportunity to grow and learn when others are willing to show me my mistakes or points I can correct, because in this world, there are hardly anyone that dares to do that for another, let alone who cares enough about another to want to take the time (and risk the backlash) to support them to grow and develop themselves
I commit myself to embrace others that show me points I can correct and grow from and to be grateful for their assistance and support with showing me points about myself I might have not seen or that might have taken me years to see and that I now have the opportunity to walk through in the moment
I commit myself to humble myself and to be open towards hearing what others have to say, when they show me points I can change/correct
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