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You Can’t Push Someone Down and Pull Yourself up at the Same Time

When you push someone off, you go in too.

What Are the Ways to Push Someone Down?

The most obvious ways to push someone down are to be physically violent, or to say hurtful things.

More passive ways of pushing someone down are to exclude them, avoid them, give them the look, ignore them, slam a door, or be sarcastic.

In One Sense, Pushing Someone Down Works

I guess that’s why we all do it. As long as I am more powerful than you, I can push you down and there are no repercussions for me. I win. You lose. And you no longer bother me.

That’s one way to solve a problem. But it only works if you are the most powerful player in the game. If there is anyone more powerful, too bad for you.

But There’s a More Subtle Limitation to Pushing Someone Down

When I push someone down, if I really pay attention, it feels off inside to me. I often ask myself the question, “Does this bring me peace or stress?” And my experience is that it always brings me stress.

It can be a little confusing because I sometimes get a kind of negative pleasure when I dominate someone. But when I really pay attention, the underlying feeling is stressful. It feels small. I feel separation. I feel defensive.

This Is Not About Right or Wrong

Any religion will tell you rules about right and wrong. That’s not my interest here at all.

This is about noticing what works for me and what doesn’t work for me. This is self noticing, not rule following.

In fact, I look forward to pushing someone down again so I can continue to notice this.

And It Gets Subtler

Even when I push someone down in my mind, without saying anything or doing anything to them, I still feel it.

The same feeling of separation and defensiveness is there inside of me, even when I have not been overtly mean. And these small feelings can balloon into larger feelings of anger and depression.

But luckily The Work allows me to connect the dots. When I do The Work, I notice that when I push someone down, even in my mind, it hurts me. That’s all. Now I know where my pain comes from.

I don’t need to do anything more than notice this by doing my work until I get it. Once I do, stopping pushing someone down is automatic. Because I don’t like to hurt myself.

Have a great weekend,

“I am a lover of what is, not because I’m a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is.

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