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You give what you have

I’ve had many interesting discussions with my kids about this topic recently. If they are dishonest about something, I make them aware of the fact that they will only find reason to be honest with others if they find it unacceptable to be dishonest with themselves. What we tolerate by ourselves towards ourselves is what we are capable of offering to others. Nothing more. Nothing less. The day you realise this is the day you’ll see the fears and weaknesses that drives others to behave badly towards you. It was never about you. It’s always about reflecting who they are. You were just the outlet that they felt safe enough to vent on.

You cannot give what you don’t have. If you lack self respect, you won’t be able to respect others. If you don’t appreciate what you have, you won’t express gratitude towards others. If you consistently feed yourself untruths about yourself or your behaviour, you will not trust the sincerity of others. And so it continues. The way we see ourselves is what informs our behaviour and interactions with the world. The more threatened we feel, the more aggressive we will be. So, the next time you see someone behaving badly, don’t judge them harshly, understand what they’re saying about how they value themselves, or how valued they feel by others. Judgement is a reflection of who we are, while understanding is a reflection of the purpose we wish to serve.

Zaid Ismail

Author, life coach, and mental health activist. We need to change the narrative from disorders, illnesses, and survival to accountability, understanding, and thriving.

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