It's Hard To Hate From Up Close


Andrew was an IT computer guy in a large company. He was really good at his job, but he constantly had conflicts with other staff at his company who he felt were slacking off and doing poor work. He constantly railed at the incompetent staff he had to deal with on a daily basis, and not surprisingly, he had a bad reputation in his company for having an anger problem. His conflicts with other staff got so bad that he eventually received disciplinary action from his supervisor for how poorly he handled conflict with the other staff.

After taking a good hard look at himself and his emotional issues, Andrew was able to own responsibility for his feelings and he stopped blaming others for his anger. He knew he had to make some changes at work, so with some further encouraging and support he bravely decided to go to some of the other staff with whom he had conflict and listen to their concerns and ask for their feedback.   There was one particular guy that Andrew hated the most. He felt this guy was totally incompetent and lazy and was causing more problems for Andrew who often had to fix his work. They had had many conflicts in the past where the man had been angry, defensive and aggressive. 

When Andrew finally went to this guy and took accountability for his anger and poor communication and asked for feedback, this guy started opening up and shared how his son had committed suicide a while back and shared about his depression over the loss of his son and how this impacted his difficulty concentrating at work. Andrew felt horrible for judging his co-worker and they had more discussions and became better friends. Amazingly enough, with better communication between them, this person’s work improved and Andrew was able to support him in doing better work. They now get along great and their working relationship has transformed. What’s more, Andrew learned to have more compassion and understanding and less anger and judgement of himself and others in the process.

This type of conflict happens all the time. Most likely, in your life you may have people with whom you have misunderstandings, criticism and judgement where you don’t know how to get past the blaming or the hurt feelings to connect in a more genuine and loving way that can resolve your conflicts. Your conflicts may be with friends, family, co-workers or acquaintances, or just with some random stranger like the guy that just cut you off in traffic. The common factor is that you are judging each other without knowing what is really going on behind the mask.

Take a moment to look behind the mask. Get closer to the person you judge and understand them better and you might be surprised. This is not about letting others off the hook for poor behavior, but it is about seeking first to understand, and taking accountability for your own character defects and poor choices to create a positive emotional environment where you can have a better chance to successfully address your differences with others.

All of us act out because of our emotional wounds. Look past surface appearances to see the good in another person, and you will see the good in yourself. Help to understand and have compassion for the wound in others and you will heal your own wounds as well. Go with kindness towards the relationship or situation where you are the most hurt, the angriest, or the most afraid, because the wound is where the light enters you. When you see through the labels you put on others and consciously walk towards and through the fires of your anger and fear you will find just another being that is good on the inside, just like you. There you will find the beauty of your Soul in the healing moment patiently waiting for you.


Steven Fisher