Reader Q&A: Seeking Validation.
A peek into the subtle mechanics of the mind.
I’ve been doing the Peerless exercises and trying to be aware of what belongs to me and what doesn’t.
One thing I’ve noticed that seems to be a pattern is trying to make up for the bad behavior of others and feeling guilty for things they do, that I have nothing to do with. For instance, I was in a restaurant and noticed a customer being difficult to my waitress. I immediately felt bad for her, but then after paying careful attention I noticed I felt guilty, like I needed to make up for this somehow.
I found myself asking for things in a particularly apologetic way. I wanted more coffee and instead of just asking normally, I asked in a way that assumed it was some kind of big burden, like I didn’t want to be a burden. And then she forgot the coffee until my breakfast was over, but I said nothing. When she realized it and apologized, I told her it was no problem and that I probably shouldn’t be drinking coffee in the first place (!!). Then, and this is the best, I left a large tip for her. I felt like I needed to make up for the other guy’s treatment of her. But then I felt bad after because I’m not even the one who did anything.
This is just a silly example, it might seem trivial. But I’ve been noticing this pattern in other interactions. I feel guilty for things I don’t even do, and I feel responsible to make up for them.
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