There is such a thing as being dragged down. And there is also such a thing as dragging others down. The theme of dragging has been…dragging at my heels for about a week now.
I am unpacking what it means to be dragged down. And more importantly, what can be done to prevent it from happening.
Today it stood out in stark relief against a hopeless mist of self-criticism and despair of other people remaining always as they are. It stood out and it said: ‘You can only be criticized by another if you take on board their criticism.’
It is so obvious it should not need spelling out, but there it is. In a way it offers me some freedom from anxiety, and a strength to be myself in my space. You don’t have to avoid the dragging claws of some defeatist, or overly critical person. There words have no power once you realize that it is you feeding them most of that power (in effect, their criticism from without is like a reflection of being overly self-critical from within, and as we have seen before, being self-critical is the path to sadness and makes you more prone to being abused).
Granted, someone can intend to hurt you or drag you down, and this in itself provokes a ‘why?’ and negative feelings. But the full export of such negativity can only be realized if you value the person trying to drag you down’s opinion.
And sadly, as we taught that everyone has a ‘sacred’ right to their opinion and should be listened to, I can understand why this is engrained so deep.
The harsh fact remains however, that some people are not worth listening to. Nature does not spread brains out equally among its children – not even within a species (and least of all in homo sapiens sapiens.) Tune out their voice, let their words flow through you, don’t try to change them. An overly critical idiot will be so until they decide not to be, or, heaven’s be blessed, grow old and die.
Which leads me to my next paragraph on the crab claws of down dragging – empathy.
Empathy also can be extremely destructive in such a dynamic of criticizer and criticized. Being trained to be empathic and understanding, to see these things as virtues, it is very easy to be dragged into a pit of someone else’s despair and defeatism. Empathy and being a good, caring person does not make you the stronger, nor able to handle the emotions of another. The hate of a spited old woman can be the strongest thing in the world, and nothing can overcome or change it. To empathize with that is to enter into its logic, and do oneself a great disservice. Being empathic is like having skin made of sponge – the ‘water’ of the outside enters into you whether you want it to or not; the words of criticism effect some irrational reflex before the conscious mind has a chance to process the truth of it. You will always be playing catch-up to someone else’s words if you are too empathetic.
Best not to listen to some people. This is the only way to navigate the world without being constantly dragged at.