If we buy into the anger, criticism, or praise of others by believing in it, and by believing that their take on events is realer than our actual perception, the innocent perception, if we buy into their criticism by reacting to it defensively, or their praise by getting puffed up, this means that we agree with it, and are fast becoming it. If this agreement causes an emotional reaction inside, this sets up dissonance and the inner conflict. We come to not trust our own take on what we see, and believe instead in the critical or flattering take from outside. We develop our own defensive reaction pattern to this outer offensive pattern. This reaction pattern to the criticism/praise creates a false self in us in order to match the false world that we’ve agreed to through our belief in it. This sets up a reactive little universe of drama in which we are trapped. We say “I” to this false self for so long we come to automatically believe it to be us.
When we get into situations that cause this to be acted out, such as work, social situations, and around certain types who are overly critical or fawning, we defend ourself against this criticism/flattery and start criticizing, flattering, patterning our “I” to be just as they are. We lose track of our innate innocence, most of our reason, and the connection within. We’ve been drawn outward into a false emotionally reactive universe of defensiveness: a fake self. This entire thing has to be dropped, it can’t be improved, it’s a desperate down hill ride through a dark swamp with a messy ending. A clean break, a return to our own direct perception of the world, the acceptance of own capacity to be aware, is the way out. This drama and its pattern forming can never be solved at its own level.
If we make a mistake, can’t do something the way other people insist we should, or find we are planning ways to garner praise, reacting emotionally by believing in the drama, the way out is to stay connected to our own innocent perception of what’s actually taking place, a pure non-judgmental awareness that is not formed from experience, but is aware of and contains our experience. Our reaction pattern, which is a reaction to other reaction patterns, and all entirely in the imaginations of those involved, can by definition only progress along set lines, there is no lasting relief. Some people are almost completely this false self, walking bodies, trouble. Is that all you wish to become?