When I was a kid, we had all kinds of sayings:
Takes one to know one.
Whoever smelt it, dealt it.
Take a chill pill!
But one that stands out is: You’re just projecting! I don’t think we really understood what we were saying, but it usually left the Complainer speechless.
And with good reason.
When we complain about others, we are projecting. Byron Katie’s work includes as “turnaround.” When you find yourself grumbling about someone, she has you turn it around:
“Sheila should not operate out of fear.”
Turn it around.
“I should not operate out of fear.”
With inquiry, we find that we are projecting our own fears and inadequacies.
“It seems to me that some of us value information over wonder, and noise over silence. And I feel that we need a lot more wonder and a lot more silence in our lives.”
“Stress is an alarm clock that lets you know you’re attached to something not true for you.”
“When you completely identify with your role (mother…doctor…), then something vital is missing. If you play a role at work, you always have a secondary motive because the ego is at work. You’re not totally focused on the task at hand because there is some self-interest there. You want to protect yourself. You want to get credit for yourself…or use the people around you.”
“You cannot be both unhappy and fully present in the Now.” – Eckhart Tolle
Kevin thought for a few minutes.
Lily just smiled and shrugged.
In the silence that followed, Kevin felt calmer. Lily’s reaction (or, rather, lack of reaction) to his complaints gave him space to think.
She left a lot of space.
And he realized that he just might be wrong.
*From my next book, Kevin the Complainer