When someone acts – especially temporarily – in a way that doesn’t mesh with either what they say or how they normally behave, it’s important to not judge them too harshly while still reminding them of their ideals.
Yes, of course a persistent disconnect between what someone says and does – or between their ideals and actions – is a Big Problem.
Let me use myself as an example.1
I had an ex-girlfriend whom I wished the best to. While we didn’t part on the greatest of terms, it wasn’t overall a bad breakup. We stayed in occasional contact, nothing big. I told everyone I was just fine.
And then I saw a picture of her with a new significant other on social media.
I got really upset, which surprised both me and some of my friends I vented to.
“She’s happier, Steve,” they told me. “Isn’t that what you wanted? Don’t you keep going on about how people should do that compersion thing?”
And it was true.
But that did not mean I’d suddenly changed into another person.
I was being an irrational human, who espouses (and tries to live up to) ideals that I don’t always reach.
Luckily, my friends quickly realized what was going on. They were empathetic about the feelings I was experiencing, understanding that I was temporarily illogical, and simultaneously nudging me back toward my own ideals and the way I want to behave.
And with that experience – with that practice – I was able to behave even closer to my ideals the next time a similar situation occurred.
One of these days, I might even get it right.
1 Remember my artistic license policy.