In this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, I explain why seeing people, including ourselves, as only one thing is a trap. It causes us to deny, rationalise, minimise, excuse, assume and generalise and this always leads to big problems.

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5 key topics in this episode

  • To assume, for instance, that all people who lie and cheat are ‘bad’ people incapable of being thoughtful or generous at times is the trap. That doesn’t mean that we should assume that someone who’s kind and lovely might be shagging around with someone else! However, it does mean that we need to be careful of where we focus so much on seeing someone as one thing that we don’t realise that we don’t see the whole person.
  • Someone can have supported us through our darkest moments or knew us when we had nothing or when we thought we were nothing. That doesn’t mean that they’re not mistreating us now. Things and people change. That doesn’t stop us from being grateful for what they’ve done for us, but we still need to be boundaried.
  • Someone can be the most talented entertainer of all time, or a brilliant artist, actor, director, or have saved many lives. Maybe they delivered inspiration sermons, donated a shedload to charity or are known or highly valued/praised. Still, they can this and also have done something shady or criminal. We also have to stop saying stuff like ‘They’ve never done anything to me, and I’ve not seen them be this way. These accusations from others must be false.’

We must stop worshipping false idols by putting people on pedestals. It dehumanises them and blinds us.

  • Seeing people as one thing is due to our fear of our human selves. After all, if someone who has a family, is good looking, or does good things can also do something terrible, we wonder what it means about us. Accepting the duality messes with the image we have of ourselves. We wonder what it means for us because we too pride ourselves on being one thing.
  • Acknowledging that not everything our parents did was helpful, that some things were questionable, neglectful or downright abusive isn’t an erasure of The Good. It also, however, doesn’t mean that because there are Good Things that we are not entitled to our feelings about our experiences. Similarly, it doesn’t make us ungrateful, disloyal or unloving.

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