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“If in my low moments, in word, deed, or attitude, through some error of temper, taste, or tone, I have caused anyone discomfort, created pain or revived someone’s fear, that was not my truest self” — Jessie Jackson

I recently had a very uncomfortable discussion with an acquaintance. We were in the “getting to know each other” stages of our connection. I was quite impressed with this man, who initially showed himself to be caring, considerate, charming, funny, a good conversationalist. I saw a slight potential for romance, but something in my stomach said, “It’s not quite right.”
Bearing this in mind, I had another conversation with this person and quite enjoyed the sharing and the interaction, until a major boundary of mine was crossed and I felt that squirmy, sick feeling in my stomach. The conversation ended with no intention of reconnecting.
I learned a lot from this man. First and foremost, Maya Angelou’s statement that people show you who they are the first time is so true and so very, very empowering. I didn’t need a repeat performance to know that my gut instinct, that something just wasn’t right, was bang on.
Secondly, I have discovered once again that nothing is personal. This man obviously had issues beyond what I might have triggered in him. He did say some pretty off color non-respectful things to me, but I remained somewhat detached and calm because I knew this really wasn’t about me. It was about his fear and insecurity, and inability to really connect with another person.
The interaction gave me a gift. It was not by accident that I met this man and had this brief connection. It reaffirmed what I want in my life. It showed me many areas where I have grown. It showed me once again that I can trust my instincts to the 1000th degree. They are never wrong. I took things at face value and didn’t make excuses for the behavior. It was pretty clear where he was at, and I made it clear that I wasn’t going to join him there.
I felt compassion for this man to the extent that he simply isn’t expressing his true self. It isn’t about where I am on my path so much as it was about where he is. Often I forget that as much as I learn from the mirrors around me, I can be a mirror for others as well.
I realized again that so many of us, myself especially, don’t choose to see the true miracle of who we are, and what we have to offer the world. This man was successful outwardly in every sense of the word, but equally as wounded internally, which came out in his words and actions toward me.
I have said before that I am not impressed with the outer life — glitz, toys and materialism — when I meet people. Initially, I saw good qualities in this man that he was absolutely blind to; and this mirrored to me, my own blind spots. Another gift. Sunlight. Awareness. Thank you.
Nothing is personal. Every interaction has the potential to teach us more about loving ourselves, healing and releasing old baggage, and loving others. Though the interaction was quite shocking, I walked away feeling quite grateful for meeting this man, because the experience brought out more of what I truly am here to learn. Self-love.

What interactions with others have you personalized that you can now step back and shine some light on in order to see more of who you really are, and love yourself?