"If one throws salt at thee thou wilt receive no harm unless thou has sore places." Latin proverb
What does this mean to me and my program? It means the better I know my Inner Critic, the less vulnerable I am to attacks from Critical Others. Where I have already had my self-esteem wounded, I am vulnerable to the slights of others whose own Inner Critics want to find a scapegoat.
I remember others' unkind words vividly. The author of CTC's reading today admits, "Criticism sent me reeling. [Teasing] crippled me for days." So I guess I can agree-- it floored me to see others take great fun, assaulting my character in the company of their friends. When this happened at school, it seemed I was wrong in everyone's eyes and my identity was bound up in a knot of shame. My self-esteem sank lower and lower. It was at its worst in middle school.
Only as an adult did I know that I was being abused, at home and at school, and that the harsh words could be untrue.
But there were times where I took my own turn, and treated others cruelly. For a few minutes my own pain abated. Like an addiction, the relief did not last for long, and it came only at other people's expense. "Gossip never enriched anyone's character. It was only an excuse to avoid focusing on myself."
We may find that we too, react rather than act. Does our hurt make us want to strike out and hurt someone else? The teachings of our program can help us learn to "interrupt this automatic response long enough to decide how we really want to behave."
In my own case, my mom's unkindness does not give me permission to lower my standards for my own behavior towards her. "When I take responsibility for my actions, regardless of what other people do, I become someone I can be proud of. When I feel good about myself, it's much easier not to take insults personally."
Let me do a searching and fearless look at where I still hurt so that I can allow my scabs to heal and better ward off the sting of another's "a-salt."