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Friday, November 12, 2010

The Fallacy of Diminishing Behavior

A few years ago, I was introduced to the topic of diminishing behavior. Contextually speaking, I was astounded. Astounded not because I know that people love to cast blame on others and wallow in self pity but that some folks clearly believe that to be true. That others diminish them accidentally or deliberately.

Let me make something perfectly clear. No person, other than yourself, can make you feel diminished. In spiritually correct people, it is impossible to perceive any external behavior and accept that as diminishing. Regardless of the source. For a couple of reasons.

Is it possible for spiritually correct people to diminish others? Of course. We have no control over the thoughts, actions, and behaviors of others.

Therein lies the dilemma. In a way, it is preposterous.

Imagine if you will, Jesus Christ or the Dalai Lama, teaching others spirituality. Some of the students, as they listen and comprehend what the Dalai Lama teaches, become offended. They internally realize that they have acted selfishly or contrary to the Dalai Lama's teachings. They feel victimized or less than. They feel diminished.

Does the Dalai Lama have any control over that even if he chooses his words wisely? No.

Should he simply not talk of anything, or vaguely or imprecisely, for fear that he might diminish someone?

This idea that someone can diminish us is insane. In order for that to occur, at least four ideas in varying degrees must exist inside our belief systems and ego.

1. We have taken an inferior position. We have granted intellectual power or superiority to another.
2. We have accepted a victim role.
3. We are unwilling to accept the message because we are incapable of internal rigorous honesty.
4. We have made an assumption about the speakers intent and believing that assumption to be true, we have taken it personally. We feel diminished.

An example might go something like this. A neighbor greets you on the street and you stop to chat. During the course of your conversation, the neighbor begins to tell you about her recent trip to Europe. She describes all of the places she went to, the things she did, the great food and wine she had, and even all the money she spent. As she does this a thought creeps into your mind. It dawns on you that you would like to do all of these things yourself. But you simply lack the time and money. You begin to feel jealous, you feel inferior. You may even feel that she thinks of herself as better than you. You are incapable of being honest about these misplaced feelings. You begin to assume that the only reason she is telling you this, is to diminish you. Perhaps you even tell a friend and she agrees with you.

You have chosen to believe her conversation was diminishing when it all likelihood- it was not. In fact, the "diminished" party can actually become the aggressor or accuser.

For spiritually correct people, such an encounter is not possible. We don't take an inferior or superior role to another person. Therefore, there is no need for unbalanced power. We reject victim roles because we do not blame others nor wallow in self pity. If we feel negative thoughts we apply rigorous honesty to our emotions and expose the reasons for that. Spiritually sound people cannot make assumptions nor take anything personally. We simply let people be who they are. In that way, whether it is the Dalai Lama, or an excited Mrs. Jones from up the street, we learn from, we love them, and we enjoy them.


  1. Thank you - a real demonstration of Interpersonal Intelligence! :-) I do have trouble knowing myself - and have, most often, tried to discover who I AM through interaction with, and evaluation of, the "Other". This perspective helps greatly for one (such as myself) to correctly analyze responses in relationship as a gauge of spiritual and intellectual wellness and correctness. Nothing is personal...

  2. Good words my friend........keep telling the truth! Honesty is always the high road...narrow and hard is the path, but it leads to eternity and rewards beyond imagination!