Clients ask me questions all the time like:
“Was that cruel what I did?”
“Was that my ego?”
It amazes me how quickly they are willing to let me define them; they’ve not yet realized that who they are is not how someone could perceive their behavior.
One might ask, “How do I answer those questions for myself then?”
Here’s how: by being honest with yourself about your intentions.
I had hired and paid a general contractor to re-model an area of my house. It later became known that he falsified his license number and had not only done the plumbing and electric work incorrectly, but left some damage on my house along the way.
For 4 months I was too hurt and angry, too deep in my experience of betrayal, to take High and Right action. I knew I needed to recoup the money – or at least do all I could to recoup the money – but if I had pursued that end within those first four months, when my pain was still so tender, I would have damaged myself spiritually. I would have set in motion actions motivated by revenge, which takes life away from me, creates paranoia, perpetuates my anger, and so many other dark side effects.
So I waited.
I waited until I understood – or rather, remembered again – the type of pain that a human who steals from another human is carrying. I waited for gratitude to return to me, gratitude for all the good that remains in my life. I let myself lean on the people I love – the people I admire, trust and have fun with – and remembered that my greatest joy is my connected with those people. I remembered my contractor’s 8 year old daughter who he was raising by himself.
Finally, I was calm enough to address the fraud objectively, with genuine peace. I could feel it – the spirit driving me was a willingness to take good care of myself, not a desire to punish someone else.
Another example: Breaking up with someone. People sometimes end a romantic relationship as an in-order-to “show him what he is going to miss!” But sometimes of course we leave a partner because we know deep within we are called up-and-out of the relationship, that we’ve completed or are no longer feeling fulfilled, challenged, or in love.
No one can possibly know with certainty whether or not you were coming from a place of ego, or not. In fact, often people project onto one another assumptions about intent.
But only you know.