Where Do I Do That?

It came to my attention that I very much do the things that I judge wrong in others. Opening up to this arrogance and actually making statements such as “I can’t say I don’t do that” or asking myself, “Where do I do that in my life?” has deepened my understanding of myself. This in turn brings a deeper quality to my relationships with others as I am now able to be with them and not the perceived pictures I have formed in my mind of who they are, based on their actions. My actions may not be the same as others, but when I ask, “Where do I do that?’’, I am asking about the feeling of the action and if that action also plays out in my life. Chances are that if I am reacting to another person’s actions then I am in some way doing the same thing, OR I have done the same but have yet to learn the full impact of what that choice has on others.

For example:

  • I may feel angry towards someone trying to show off, yet I sometimes show off in other parts of my life.
  • I may get upset when a person is acting small and not standing up for what they feel, yet I shrink in areas of my life and play small. Asking myself, “Why do I do this – what is it that I am getting out of playing small?” allows me to come to terms with, understand and accept my choices, then make the adjustments that are required to change my stance.
  • I may feel angry with someone who barges into a situation like they know everything when they haven’t gotten to know how things work. At first, I may react, but once I ask myself, “Where do I do that?” I often remember a previous situation where I did exactly the same thing… coming in like I knew everything. I then get to feel the flipside of the situation. And I can also see this play out every time I give advice that comes with any sort of judgment towards the person, in thinking that I know everything – it is the same thing.

When I ask myself “Where do I do that?”, there is a magic at play that is perfectly ordered and arranged for me to experience a situation in life that answers the question – such as the memory of how I was in a previously similar situation, or simply by the moment coming around again, but this time my catching it rather than examining the reaction in hindsight. Wherever we place our focus it’s like that part of life starts to become magnified, – like playing ‘Spot the Mini (or any other type of car)’ game where once you start looking, you see Mini cars everywhere, – and this is no different for self-reflection.

What I am learning now is that remaining in the arrogance of “I don’t do that!” feels horrible within my body when compared to the openness, curiosity and willingness to understand myself that asking “Where do I do that?” brings.

Trying to hold onto the fact that I am an individual that is separate from the actions of others is very exhausting and becomes a strain on all relationships. Acting individual also prevents me from appreciating the reflections and lessons I am receiving from others. And yet sadly “I don’t do that!” is a stance that is generally accepted in life. Making comments about another person’s abilities for example, comes with this tone of “I don’t do that” and “I am better thus have the right to comment.”

The fact is we are human and no one is perfect. There can at times be a ruffling of feathers, but there is an ease within me that comes from the understanding I now have. I understand that it’s not pleasant facing your own reflection from the “I don’t do that” stance to looking into the “I actually do that as well” mirror. This is where acceptance, allowing and the appreciation of being willing to see our imperfections can be of great support.

The more I understand why I do something, the less I react to other people – and the deeper I appreciate them for being in my life, the more I am willing to look into the mirror. I absolutely love it as I stop judging myself for that behaviour and I equally stop judging others. They may continue the behaviour but it doesn’t affect me like it used to.

I have learnt so much from the reflection of others and it has been a deeply beautiful experience to stop and look at myself in another – to see and feel the behaviours and energy that make up me in another. It has shown me that we are not truly individual and that we are connected. If I am ever confused or annoyed about something in another, every time now I take it back to myself, there is so much more understanding and then I am not constantly living in reaction, blame or judgment of myself or anyone else. The less reaction and judgment in my life, the greater the appreciation for others and for allowing myself to be a student of life and being open to learning what life is presenting for me and all of us to learn.

By Leigh Matson, London, UK

Related Reading:
“I don’t do that!”
Our tendency to react
Reaction versus response

687 thoughts on “Where Do I Do That?

  1. Asking ourself ‘where do I do that?’ when something gets under our skin or annoys us is a great approach to learning about ourself and understanding others.

    1. It helps shift us out of that broken record style of conversations as well those that have judgement and blame on repeat. I notice when I don’t engage with it others will try to keep it going, as if that is all we can (or believe) there is to talk about. But with that out of the way there is so much more to explore about each other and ourselves.

  2. As much as I love this blog and super appreciate it as a tool I also dislike it as it gives me no wriggle room and total responsibility.

  3. “It came to my attention that I very much do the things that I judge wrong in others.” By being honest about ourselves and the choices we make in our daily lives, we can open up to a much deeper understanding of what life is about, and supports us to let go of our own judgements and criticisms of others.

    1. And that understanding that there are more deeper layers to life and to us that chip away at the illusion that we are only tiny humans in a mundane human life. We are far much more when we remember the part of us that is connected to each other and everything else.

  4. When we hold this attitude that we are a student of life, and are here to learn, it takes the pressure off, to have to get things right or to always have to know what to do. If I am a student of myself, I don’t always have the answer, and being honest in this way, leaves me open to allowing the reflection to constellate that will offer me greater understanding of what it is I am to learn over a certain situation or relationship.

    1. Being right or perfect (which is a constantly shifting and changing and differs in everyone’s mind) is extremely stress-full and produces a lot of ill health. If we saw ourselves as students of life imagine the amount of ill health we could reduce and relationship issues could be lessened by not trying to be right or perfect?

  5. We often look at the behaviour of others without realising that there is a message there for us to take note of. It’s interesting to come across this blog this very morning when I had the realisation that a step up in communication was being called for.

  6. Yes Leigh, the thing I hate most is judgement. So, if I find myself judging another I see it as an opportunity to seek out why I am in judgement, and when I crack the code I am full of joy and I never rest until I have got to the bottom of it within myself, as everything is showing us something about ourselves.

    1. If there’s a judgement then there’s been a choice made to lack understanding and awareness. Reminding myself of this helps break down the judgement and there is joy and contentment when I am aware and understand the situation.

  7. Hi Leigh, I loved reading this today. It kinda freed me up in my body. I too have been experimenting with this for a while now after a friend shared with me how she was initially disappointed as I had said I was going to bake her a cake for her birthday and did not. She then took that a bit further, and asked her self the same question, where does she do that? Where does she say she is going to do something and doesn’t? And realised that she did and realised how awful it feels on the receiving end. It was the best cake I have ever not baked because I with my friend sharing how she felt, I realised how irresponsible it is to say and not do and what impact that can have on others, and also I loved where my friend took it and I felt the responsibility to do the same and since then have been asking myself…where do I do that? And like magic, the answer is always there. I get of my high-horse immediately!

    1. A whole lot of learning taking place of not baking a cake Sarah! Loved all you have shared, because when we are on the receiving end of something that we do not like, this provides a big learning and reflection, and so all is not wasted, because we are here to learn, and as you say, it is a sure fire way to get off one’s high horse!

    2. Best Birthday present ever I’d say, a chance to learn and evolve from an unloving pattern far outweighs something that takes a while to create and lasts seconds (not including the aftermath if it literally takes seconds to eat)

  8. ‘And I can also see this play out every time I give advice that comes with any sort of judgment towards the person, in thinking that I know everything – it is the same thing.’ I know this very well both doing it myself and being at the receiving end and both are not coming from truth and seperates us, it is playing the individual card.

  9. Bottomline of this great blog is for me: ‘Trying to hold onto the fact that I am an individual that is separate from the actions of others is very exhausting and becomes a strain on all relationships.’ Any judgment, comparison or reaction does that. My Spot the Mini-game will be just that and remind myself, Miss Individual at that moment, that I am creating a strain on my my body and the other person. And that I am looking in the mirror…

    1. At the moment I am learning to not accept, almost becoming allergic, to the strain caused by wanting to be individual. Just as I noticed the reactions with dairy how does my body react in that strain to be a ‘me’?

  10. “Trying to hold onto the fact that I am an individual that is separate from the actions of others is very exhausting and becomes a strain on all relationships.” This is a great point. We cannot judge another without first making them separate and ‘other’ to us.

  11. Its great to look at why we react to things – and actually be honest with ourselves if it is because we actually . recognise it in ourselves. To come to this level of honesty allows us to see what behaviours are not us, and therefore are not supportive.

  12. I love when this blog comes to me to read and I often think about it as I just love the way you playfully turn reaction upside down and that changes everything from a fixed point to a fluid point. Amazing.

  13. We weave complicated lives when we give our power away to fit in with others, and one of simplicity when we connect and trust the inner wisdom we hold within ourselves.

    1. We give our power away then feel smaller than life, holding ourselves steady proves that life is not bigger than us. A responsibility I still find challenging at times but cannot argue that it isn’t the true stance to take, it simply works.

  14. Everything is positioned perfectly in our life to educate us in a beautiful way. By seeing ourselves as individuals we think we can keep these reflections at bay, so we dont have to learn and change our selfish ways. Let me tell you now – it doesn’t work!

  15. This is such a wise and honest sharing Leigh and very supportive for us to be able to understand the various thoughts, beliefs and ideals we allow to shape and thus run us. We cannot escape the universal Law of Reflection. We can only ignore it, or embrace it.

  16. We come up with so many excuses as to why ‘we don’t do that’, and all of that time spent on trying to justify our patterns and behaviours could actually be spent on exploring the possibility that we do, in some aspect of our lives, ‘do that’, which is having an impact on our relationships and can maybe be changed going forwards.

  17. I have used your formula of ‘where do I do that’ quite a bit, often when I am cross or disappointed with someone else and if I ask this question I usually don’t want to look at if it’s something I do but when I step back and get honest I always have done it and then it dissolves my them and us polarised position.

    1. Thats very cool Vanessa and I’ve found that I feel closer to the other person once that huge barrier of “I don’t do that” gets dropped. We may not end up best buddies but there’s less within myself being riled up about being in their presence. I can be more myself with them.

  18. Love this blog “Where Do I Do That” it’s choosing to be open to the reflection we are being shown and being absolutely honest with ourself. And that is something I am willing to do more and more.

      1. So true, naming what’s going on and your part in what is happening the emotion and hyped energy goes out of the situation.

  19. Thank you Leigh, what you have shared is the ultimate in responsibility. I have noticed in myself that some of the things I can react to are because I don’t want to see I’m doing the exact same thing. All we can really do in life is change ourselves so this feels like a perfect opportunity to bring more honesty, love and understanding to ourselves, and then have more love and care to share with others.

    1. Reacting to not wanting to see the same thing playing out in ourselves. Recently I realised another layer of this that I was doing, what I was reacting to in another. Yet completely blind to this reflection up until yesterday. There are many layers for us to learn from and yet the tools to learn remain the same, reading energy.

  20. It is such a lesson to feel a reaction and then stop and realise it is us that need to look at ourselves and our ways to make a change. Your wisdom Leigh supports so many people.

    1. I am really loving those moments of stop now because they feel so much lighter than being wound up and tense in the reaction. Self responsibility actually feels great, my body prefers it.

  21. ‘Why do I do this – what is it that I am getting out of playing small?’ Understanding the why and how we do things gives us great insight and allows us to drop the judgements, accepting ourselves and even appreciating the process.

      1. Yes, Leigh, thank you, this is where our openness to love and willingness to communicate can support us in having relationships that evolve us.

  22. What a beautiful article Leigh. I can so relate to this –
    “remaining in the arrogance of “I don’t do that!” feels horrible within my body”.

    It really does feel horrible and exhausting when I make myself ‘right’ and the other ‘wrong’ and then have to continue justifying my resentment towards them in order to continue to be ‘right’.

    1. Thank you, beautifully expressed, I really appreciate what you have written because I can relate to this as well.

    2. And the continuing resentful thoughts or bitching sessions to others about how horrible the person is. It’s very draining to myself to keep holding a judgement against someone or myself!

  23. The attitude, you described here, so much changes the depth of our relationships. Yesterday talking with a friend it made all the difference that I could feel and address without judgment certain behaviors from her that I have done similar in the past and also look at why I asked something that I already knew the answer too, that I didn’t like. We came closer simply by acknowledging it and openly looking at our patterns.

    1. Because we aren’t using all that effort to keep ourselves separated being curious about why we do the same as another (without judging whatever it is) does bring us together and in discussion we can understand it from different angles.

  24. I can feel the tension in our bodies when we turn away from behaviours in the energy of ‘I don’t do that’ because of the lack of honesty in this, as well as the pointing the finger at another and disconnection that occurs with ourselves and them when we do that. Our bodies love honesty and therefore love the question ‘Where do I do that? ‘ Thank you Leigh.

  25. I loved reading this Leigh and agree that it is a completely refreshing way to undertsand life, and makes life a celebration of divinely coming back to ourselves. ‘where do I do that?’- it is no wonder that we often react to people’s behaviour- because we want to instantly turn away from the fact that ‘we indeed do that too.’ When we see any behaviour that we don’t like, this is just another divine opportunity to see where we choose something over our essence in our own lives. I can see how life changing this question is.

    1. We don’t like to see what we may also be choosing. A different flavour but still the same in the end. But it’s beautiful because it can also show that we aren’t separate from each other but the same.

    1. People also take notice of this as I have become far more steady and solid when I don’t judge or react to others. It helps others to have a steady presence around them.

      1. An amazing result of non judgment is peoples trust – when we can consistently not react to people, not hold them in any judgement, there is a space for them to just be themselves and they can begin to trust that we are a steady point for them.

  26. Your blog is about one of the most important values – honesty! Through shrugging off issues with comments like ‘I don’t do that’, or being OVERLY critical we actually establish a false picture of who we are and where we’re at in our lives, and what’s amazing is the huge difference being honest and open to seeing our patterns and behaviours can make, to how we feel (less stressed/less careless) and also our outlook on life, work, other relationships etc.

    1. Those false pictures we then live by creates massive stress and abuse on the body as we try to live to a lie. Like a fish persistently trying to climb a tree believing that it should. However fish are smarter than that as it would eventually kill them in the trying but we humans keep going for it until we break down.

  27. It is true sometimes we go into a reaction to another persons’ behaviour, but we could be doing something similar, maybe to a lesser degree, but ultimately it’s still the same behaviour.

  28. We are not here to perfect anything. And as a vehicle of expression, what we are here to learn is the right use of Will – what energy to align ourselves to. We may think we are judging something/someone from a place of righteousness, but even that judgment/righteousness does not belong to us.

    1. Any righteousness or beliefs of being ‘right’ are instantly a stance of abuse towards ourselves living a lie and then the harm towards others in that so called ‘right’.

  29. I am aware how much I can still judge when I thought i had let go of judgements, that is the game we can play with ourselves. Your blog is super supportive Leigh for us to dig deeper into our patterns. Oh yes.. we still do do that.

  30. You know when you listen to someone who says “I don’t do that” and it is so incredibly obvious to you and everyone else that knows them, that they do do it. That’s where I cringe at times and think my goodness where am I in such an illusion of what I am doing. Your blog though brings the focus to learning and understanding ourselves which is most supportive, as it allows us to know ourselves more and in truth, not what we sometimes act out of character.

    1. It can be confrontational at times if we point out to them that they do the same but asking them “Can you say you’ve never [whatever action is being judged]?” Even if they say no it’s not long before there’s an exposure. Or rather than pointing this out pointing myself out by asking “Where do I do that?” There’s less fuel for the other to judge as I am being responsible for my own judgements and actions.

  31. ‘ I am now able to be with them and not the perceived pictures I have formed in my mind of who they are, based on their actions. ‘ Even if we are not aware of the judgements we have about someone, and even if we don’t start out with any, things can get triggered in a conversation. If we are not centred in ourselves and beholding of love we can lose ourselves to identification of some sort, so subtle we might not even notice it or we might easily justify it. This is where observation comes in, expanding our awareness so that we can easily read a situation and respond to our sensitivities with love and cherishing of ourselves without protection or defence, thus maintaining (or reconfirming) our power and authority and the connection to Love and Truth, Harmony, Stillness and Joy.

  32. In my work, I have found that the ability to be self-aware and reflect on what occurs in an interaction, rather than blame or judge is the greatest asset in a team. You can be a genius but if you are not aware of your behaviours or patterns then you will tend to be the source of disharmony in an otherwise harmonious team.

    1. Having others to reflect back off is amazing when the reflection is embraced and learnt from. I’ve learnt so much from people that push my buttons or create disharmony when I step behind the blaming and open up to learning.

  33. A great article Leigh bringing to mind an incident I recently had, in the “I don’t do that ” light, I thought I didn’t have a problem with food while many others we expressing how sugary foods can get them. I was in a shop and feeling hungry and spotted a gluten and dairy free cake and bought it as there seemed to be nothing else available, this is something that I never do, buy cake, it tasted disgusting in my mouth as it was so sugary. I thought to my self why on earth did I do that, much more for me to look into. There seems to be an arrogance at play in the I don’t do that.

  34. Actually living the wisdom of realising that if I am reacting to something it is because there is something in me that needs attention (be that a past hurt, ongoing self-criticism and/or disregard) is a very open, responsible and developing way to live. Thank you for this inspiration.

  35. The human spirit has so much arrogance it is scary at times. The cockiness of what we are capable of is one of our biggest downfalls.

    1. Indeed Michael and in that the question has to be asked, how often do we actually do the very thing that we get annoyed at others about doing, when we clock this the whole frustration disappears – although as you say we have to let go of the arrogance to begin to see the truth.

      1. I’ve found that, the arrogance can be very rigid and frustrated in wanting to claim “I don’t do that” but when I do that frustration drops like a rock.

  36. Thank you Leigh, this is great to read again as I find if I’m not in understanding or I’m being judgemental it’s very unsettling, it does not feel natural at all. I appreciated the simple way you presented why we can react and how to bring it back to ourselves. Responsibility is a beautiful thing because by seeing these things in ourselves we can remain more connected to those around us, as soon as the judgement or lack of understanding comes in we can drop out of that unity into division and feeling separated from others. It’s great to feel how self responsibility is a foundation for brotherhood.

  37. Through honesty we learn, there is nothing in our lives that we can change if we’re not honest about where it comes from. So, when we question our reactions we give ourselves an opportunity to understand ourselves and make a change.

    1. Very true, without that honesty nothing shifts or truly changes. Life might change in appearance but underlying it’ll feel the same and the reactions and tensions remain.

  38. If we live life knowing everyone and everything is a reflection of us then we realise we are forever learning… every moment is an opportunity to evolve ourselves and one another.

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