The Thing about Mean People

I don’t believe there are mean people. 

There are wounded people who appear mean. And there are insecure people who appear mean.

And yet, it’s not like I remember this all the time or apply to everyone I meet. It’s easy to have compassion for some people and harder to have compassion for others. As much as it looks like that has to do with them—they are easy to love or they aren’t—I know it’s not actually about them at all.

I can see the perfection in them or I can’t. My experience of someone else is always about where my stuff bubbles up to the surface and mingles with my thinking about them.

If we could step into someone else’s shoes, experience their life the way they experience it, see the world through their filter, compassion would be natural and effortless.

But we can never truly see through their filter. We try and we sometimes come close. We drop our preconceptions, detach from our thoughts, and connect with them on the level were we are all naturally connected.

We hear their story and feel their pain and all that jazz. And even then, we’re only trying on an approximation of their filter. It’s not the real thing.

But that’s okay because you don’t have to actually see through someone else’s filter. You don’t need to know all the gory details of their past and how they came to be so wounded.

You just have to remember that they have a filter, just like you do. And that they are apprehensive in their own little ways, just like you.

You only have to remember that their insecurity and their pain are what lead them to exude anything other than love and kindness. That’s not their true nature; it’s just the mask they wear when they are scared.

And remember that the same is true of you. You aren’t mean. Even when you’re mean, you aren’t mean. You’re afraid, uncertain, hurting, but you definitely aren’t mean.

I saw a Tony Robbins quote on twitter this week. “All communication is either a cry for help or an expression of love”

What looks and feels mean is only a cry for help.

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