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Understanding Those Who Hurt Us: Why Everyone is Doing Their Best

  • Published on: 25 February, 2016
  • Last update: 07 August, 2017

doing their best

This quote means so much to me. It’s not because I think we should excuse others’ (or our own) “bad” behavior. It doesn’t mean we should accept treatment that is anything less than what we deserve.

What it means to me is that we can detach ourselves from the pain of others’ actions (or release the anger we hold towards ourselves for our own sub-par actions), by imparting a deep level of compassion and understanding.

That understanding is this: everyone you meet is operating from their current level of consciousness. That level can change every day as we either grow, or become challenged by the ebb and flow of life. It can expand as you adopt the habit of journaling, or when you go on a nature retreat… but it can also be set back if you’re trapped indoors for too long, not taking time for self care. We are constantly changing, always trying to do better and be happy. Sometimes we take 1 step forward & 3 steps back… and that’s okay.
As David Lynch once said, “If you have a golf-ball-sized consciousness, when you read a book, you’ll have a golf-ball-sized understanding. When you wake up in the morning, a golf-ball-sized wakefulness; and as you go about your day, a golf-ball-sized inner happiness. But if you can expand that consciousness… when you read that book, you’ll have more understanding; when you wake up, more wakefulness; and as you go about your day, more happiness.”
I believe that people are good. And I believe that we indeed are doing our best, even when we’re doing our worst, because sometimes we’re operating from a low level of consciousness, feeling unable to help ourselves. When we’re held back by pain, we can’t appreciate the gifts of life. We can’t understand how to do better or treat others (& ourselves!) as deserved.
Hurt people, hurt people. If someone hurts or wrongs you, know they are reflecting what they feel inside. We are all trying, so hard, to move past the pain that keeps us from growing. Sometimes people are at their ‘worst’ because their own mind or trauma is keeping them trapped at a level of consciousness where that IS their ‘best.’ Have compassion, distance yourself if needed, and work on YOUR best inspiring change in those around you. You can’t fix others’ actions, you can’t always teach them (that’s life’s job), but you can certainly inspire. Don’t be afraid to let go and love someone from a distance if their actions are too toxic – know that everything they are doing stems from their own source of pain, and has nothing to do with you.

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1 Comment


Thank you so much for sharing this piece with us. I’m always trying to tell myself “He/she is doing their best with what they have”, but it’s hard sometimes. Thank you again!

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