If you know someone who is uncharacteristically irritable, distant, or in any other way unlike themselves, then it is compassion and not complaint that is in order.
People will hide things from us as an act of love. They won’t want to worry us or let us down, or cause us or themselves to feel unloved. This is because we get angry when they worry us, we make them feel guilty when they let us down and we withhold affection in spiteful ways. Like an angry dog owner screaming at his dog to come toward him, we literally teach people not to come to us with difficult struggles.
But if people are struggling, there will often be signs.
Rather than get angry about negative changes in behaviour, we would be better off being aware, open and compassionate. Negative behaviour will always be born in negative thinking. To change the thinking we must create a safe environment that will encourage others to share their burdens with us, thereby lightening their own load. Once they know they are loved without conditions then they can relax and begin to alter their thought patterns. But to do this we must be prepared to offer our best when dealing with people at their worst. We must not judge.
Life is hard and everyone has periods when they are carrying very heavy loads. The next time you want to get mad at someone for letting you down, maybe stop to ask if you haven’t let them down by expecting the best of them when they do not have the necessary resources. We generally can’t tell much about what’s going on just by looking at the outside of someone. The important stuff is on the inside.
Do not encourage people to feel badly about being dishonest regarding subjects that they are sensitive about. You do the same thing. Kindness works better. Rather than forcing something out of someone, invite them into you. Plus it feels better to share so both parties win.
When in doubt, always go with love.
Following a childhood accident should have left him dead, Scott McPherson spent his life meditating on thought, consciousness, reality and the self. Seeing the emotional damage done by ego-based overthinking he began dedicating a part of his life to guiding students toward more peaceful and rewarding lives. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, Canada.