Monday, July 22, 2013

7/23/13—Knowing Yourself and Others

Today's Draw: Fox in the Strength position from the Magpie Oracle. What kinds of things do you judge others for? When you judge or criticize others, do you take the extra step to see what it reflects within yourself? What is it time for you to face up to?

For those not up on the latest Magpie news, this is Carrie's second casting sheet for her charms. It mixes her oracle with tarot's Major Arcana. Her Strength position bears the word "Face" as in "face up to who you are." And tonight, Fox is telling us that we need to face our sly, manipulative, untrustworthy side...our con artist side. 

We could all gang up on Fox and beat the crap out of him for calling us names. Or we could listen to the wisdom he brings. Because here's the truth—we've all got it in us. There isn't a single person in my earshot who has never intentionally wrangled something in their own favor...or who hasn't been totally honest about something. 

I've been thinking a lot lately about the things people do to hide or deny their shadow sides. There are the people who always talk about how perfect their life and relationships are, when nobody's life is that perfect. There are people who get deeply involved in religion so they'll be forgiven their shadow sides and not have to take responsibility for them. And then there's what a lot of us tend to do...judge others, both for stuff we do ourselves and stuff we don't do. All of that is denial in my book. And I'm guilty of the last one. 

Each time we point at someone else and call them manipulative, for example, we're being manipulative. We're manipulating a situation where we're saying "unlike me, that person is manipulative and a bad person." When we point the finger away from ourselves, we're pretending we're not guilty. And we're labeling someone as "manipulative" for random acts of manipulation, as if that's who they are at their very essence. Were we ourselves judged in such a manner, we certainly wouldn't appreciate it because we know where our intentions are. But when we say about someone else, we're only assuming things about their intentions. We can't possibly know what's in their heart, yet we're labeling them an absolute. Which means we're manipulating the thoughts of others to consider that possibility about the other person, too. 

There are also plenty of things we judge others for that we don't do. Let's say you judge someone for having an affair on their husband when you would never do anything like that. That's fair enough, but what about the times you've made choices that consider yourself over others around when you took the promotion your co-worker wanted? What about the time you went out to lunch with Patty, whom your best friend Lola hates and you didn't tell Lola about it? Or, on my part, what about the time you went to another person's house, left your dogs at home alone, and rolled on the floor with your friend's dog and told them THEY were most handsome? 

Whatever it is we're judging others for, we've all got it ourselves to some degree. When I look at the things I judge others for, they're things I'm in denial about some degree. I may not have robbed the grocery store at gunpoint, but I did steal a vial of glue once from the Base Exchange (BX) when I was a kid. For the thrill of it, I guess. To test my boundaries, I suppose. To see if I would still feel bad enough about it to write about it 40-some years later in search of some form of absolution...possibly. 

But the things I don't judge people for are things like smoking. You won't see me criticize a smoker, because I know what it's like. I was one too. And I'm usually pretty compassionate about all addictions, because I have my overeating issues, too. When you've faced your own guilt in a particular area, you're more likely to be compassionate than judgmental. And when I do make a remark about someone else's addictions, I immediately see it as something I'm criticizing myself over. I'm at a decent place of self awareness on that one. But there are other "judgments" I'm sure I'm in denial on. My quickness to judge others on things is both my measuring stick of denial and my reflection of what's lurking beneath my own surface. 

So the fox is asking us to face this side of us that places ourselves above others or separate from others in any way. We're all false to ourselves in some ways. And we're all false to others in some ways. It's not something we like to embrace about ourselves. But, as they say, monsters thrive in the dark. If we push these things into the dark, they will hold us back. They will eventually come out. And, I hate to say it, they will be seen. People know when something's up. They may never mention it or even know any details, but people know. 

We think we're protecting ourselves by hiding away our dark parts, but the truth is the only way to protect ourselves is to drag them out in the light and hack away at them—not so much to eliminate them to learn how to integrate them into a more authentic version of you and use them to their best advantage. Until we understand and accept the seedy underbelly of who we are, we can never truly know ourselves or others. 

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