Treatment Currency

Feb 22, 2024

It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one’s life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than ‘try to be a little kinder.’ -Aldous Huxley

          Have you ever been treated poorly? I would be surprised if you hadn’t. Let’s assume we all know what it is like to be treated unkindly. Every time this happens it is natural to think to yourself, “Why would someone do that to another person?” All that said, have you ever treated someone poorly? I have.

         So why is it then that we know it never feels good to be treated unkindly but we don’t set out to remove this behavior from within ourselves? We can look outward and see all the vile and disgusting things humans do to each other then think, “Why can’t we all just get along?” But how sure are you that you will never treat another person poorly in the future?

         What is this thing that stops our own accountability in the way we treat others? What is this thing that can point a finger toward what needs to change outside but not point to the person in the mirror? How sure are you that you will never hurt yourself ever again?

         When we are in pain we seek justice if we don’t slip down the dark slippery slope to vengeance. Why does pain make you want to hurt someone else for what has been done to you? Pain feels so terrible and yet we can justify hurting others. We can even justify hurting the people we love most. We can even justify hitting children.

         I’m betting the person you love most in the world has hurt you in some way. Even if that is just by them leaving to take space away for their own journey. Have you ever hurt the person you love most in the world? I have.

         A trigger and the pain it brings can be all-consuming. It can take over everything. Your thinking, your body, and of course your decision-making are all corrupted by pain. It feels like you are possessed by a demon because when you calm down and look back at the behavior when you were upset, it can feel like it was another person who took you over. The tales of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde or The Incredible Hulk begin to make sense when you look through the lens of rage.

         Not many people feel very in control of themselves when triggered. Or at least I didn’t when beginning to learn emotional intelligence. It took me years just to be able to recognize the triggered state and get into the habit of getting away from people so my rage didn’t hurt them.

         It is bizarre at first but enlightening to look at the person in the mirror as the villain. There is no excuse for hurting people. No justification that makes any sense when investigated. What have you learned most from hurting the people you love? Are you sure you will never hurt them again?



         One of the things I learned from hurting the person I love most in the world is that the way you deliver a message is as important as the message. Message delivery was not something I cared about or paid attention to at all before my healing journey. I just labeled myself blunt, direct, and to the point. I thought it was a waste of energy to ‘sugarcoat’ things. Now I believe the opposite. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.

         When you are curt or blunt like I used to be, you are communicating that you don’t care about the reaction your words will create. Or you may think, “If they react that is on them. That is their wounding that needs to come to the surface to be seen. I’m not in control of people’s reactions to my words.” That is technically true that you are not in control of how someone reacts, but it is also misleading because you are in control of the words you use. You are also in control of the tone, approach, urgency or tempo, as well as everything else that comes through your communication. If you know that you could lessen the reaction to what you are saying with gentler words why wouldn’t you?

         Even if you are 100% right with what you are saying and when you are saying it, if you are aggressive with the delivery you will make the person react with defense or rebellion instinctually. Confrontation is sure to happen if you do not pay attention to your delivery. If I screamed at a child that “1+1=2, that is the answer just remember it,” I’m technically right but the delivery is going to cause the child to cry more often than not.

         How receptive are you to aggressive words and behavior? How receptive are you to a message from someone who is arrogant, self-righteous, and does not care about how you may react? If you think to yourself, “I’m not receptive at all to that kind of communication” then what is your method to make sure you never speak this way to anyone?

         Have you paid conscious attention to the impact of your words? If not that is okay. I’m asking the tough questions now in an attempt to lessen the difficulty later in life. When you communicate tactfully and pay attention to the delivery what you come to find out is it is easier to not take a reaction personally. If someone reacts when you communicate with tact you can recognize their wounding underneath the reaction and subsequently that the reaction has nothing to do with you.

         How would you like people to communicate with you? Would you rather people communicate using blunt, aggressive messaging completely oblivious of how you feel, or maybe you would rather people communicate with gentleness, kindness, and compassion? Which one would you be more receptive to? Do you recognize delivery as a way you may be hurting those closest to you?

Your message means less than the way the message is delivered, because in actuality, the way the message is delivered, IS the message -Bryant McGill



         Why is it that when we are treated poorly we want justice or for the person who treated us that way to see the error of their ways? Why wouldn’t being treated poorly drive you toward the people who treat you like royalty?

         It is typically only after a relationship ends or someone pushes you away that you ask, “Was I the asshole?” Why can’t we have that same awareness before we become the villain?

         If I asked you, what is your intention when interacting with people, what would you say? I’m guessing probably, “Well, my intention is different with different people depending on the situation. I’m not going to give the barista at my local coffee shop the same treatment I would a family member.” Most people if they stop and focus on their intention would say it is to be cordial and respectful with everyone.

         But what about when you are cordial with someone and they are rude, inconsiderate, or aggressive with you? Does that make it okay to treat them poorly in retaliation? Wait, wasn’t our intention to be cordial and respectful? What happened?

         Is your intention of treating others well, at least with respect, conditional upon their treatment of you? You may think, “If someone is treating me poorly, they are going to hear about it. It is not okay to treat me in a way I don’t deserve.” Understandable, but don’t you become the villain if you retaliate? If someone treats you poorly and you treat them poorly in return, aren’t you a hypocrite?

         What is it about people who hurt us needing to feel hurt by us? Why is it that the other person needs to know they hurt us? Is it because we believe that it will stop them from hurting us in the future?

         Do you consider yourself compassionate? Personally, I didn’t know the meaning of the word until I was waste deep in my healing journey. Compassion is the outward expression of empathy. Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and feel what they feel to perceive things how they perceive things.

         When you practice empathy, it will lead to compassion. You will interact with people vastly differently when you can feel what they are feeling. But before you begin strengthening your empathy to be more compassionate can we just take a moment to realize that everyone who treats others poorly is in pain? Healthy people don’t hurt others. Happy people don’t treat others poorly.

         If you knew that when someone treats you poorly, they are hurting inside, would it make it harder to retaliate? Well, everyone who treats you poorly is hurting inside. Please don’t believe this excuses them for treating you poorly or crossing your boundaries. However, does it help you stick to your original intention of treating everyone with cordialness and respect regardless of how they are behaving?

         When someone is hurting, do you want them to hurt even more? Because that is what retaliation would do. If someone is hurting and they are not asking you for help with their pain, can you get away from them and go toward the people who treat you like royalty? If you treat someone like royalty and they treat you poorly, doesn’t keeping them close mean you are consciously choosing to be treated poorly?

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive -Dalai Lama


Treatment Is Everything

         I used to work in the traditional financial field. When I wore suits to work, I noticed that people outside the office would treat me differently than when I dressed down. Subtle but noticeable differences in treatment. When I was homeless, I noticed I was also treated differently.

         What if people want to be rich and famous because they want to be treated like royalty everywhere they go? Could it be that simple? As someone who has rubbed elbows with the top one percent and someone who has spent time in some of the poorest slums in the world, I can tell that there is a universal currency called treatment.

         Treatment is everything! How you treat others is a direct reflection of what is going on inside you. If you consistently treat others poorly you are more than hurting inside, you are losing your sense of self to the pain. You are probably miserable and making others around you miserable as well. This is how you sabotage relationships by driving the people in your life toward others who will treat them better.

         What if treatment was currency? Let’s do a quick thought experiment together. What if the more people you had in your life that treated you like gold is the way you win the game of life? Meaning what if you accumulated that instead of money?

         To continue the experiment, what would it mean if you treated people poorly, which caused them to want to leave you all alone in your misery? Wouldn’t that be a clear indicator of you losing the game of life?

         If you looked at your treatment of others and other’s treatment of you as a mirror, what would you see? You may treat everyone in your life like gold and be the sweetest person you know, but what if some or all the people closest to you treat you terribly? Wouldn’t that incongruency indicate something is out of alignment internally?

         If you treat some people well but others with disdain, what would that indicate? What about how you treat yourself? How does the person in the mirror deserve to be treated? Do you lead by example and treat yourself like royalty? If not, why not?

         As a financial shaman, I couldn’t care less about how much money you have. I don’t care about your retirement savings, your 401k, your student loans, or your cash flow problems. At your funeral, do you truly believe anyone is going to mention your finances when speaking about you? Nope, what will be remembered most is how you treated the people in your life, especially those closest to you.

         If someone in your life is treating you poorly, you have every right to walk away from them. The only way I have found to ensure I never hurt the people I love, or anyone for that matter, is to completely heal all the wounds that trigger pain inside of me. I have also set the intention to treat everyone I encounter with kindness, gentleness, compassion, and love. I wish I had mastered emotional intelligence years ago, but I suppose the second-best time is now.

Hurting people back will not heal your pain. Learn to react to people constructively, even if that means being alone in silence to study your emotions. In your response is your destiny. If you do not take conscious control of your reaction, you will give away your power -Unknown