The Best Thing Is To Be Told That You’re Full Of Shit

The best thing another can do for you is to tell you that you’re full of shit.

And now, alas, for all the carats and qualifiers…

  1. The one telling you this shouldn’t be acting out of ill will, anger, or aggression. Buddhists call this “the second poison.” Instead, he or she should be acting with a wholesome intention.
  2. Moreover, this person must really see something that you do not. What he or she sees is the truth.
  3. And that truth should be expressed at the right time. Remember: timing is almost everything.
  4. And you must have ears to hear. That is, you must be really ripe to the point of being open and ready to hear it and, in waves, to take it in.

Suppose 1-4 are the case. Then what is revealed is not just how clueless you are about the matter at hand but also the fact that you’ve been pretending to yourself and to others that you aren’t clueless.

And what is the gift being offered here? To show you your bullshit. To give you the opportunity to see how often this piece of bullshit spews from your mouth. To stop bullshitting yourself and others, at least about this matter. To experience genuine humility and for that humility to reorient you away from looking smart and toward caring about the truth. Perhaps, above all, to be overcome, if only momentarily, by a sense of helplessness.

Helplessness? For just in that moment when you hear it, you may be pierced deeply: I am totally clueless; I don’t really know how to live my life; I am powerless. The veil of autonomy, which had led you to believe that you are the sole agent responsible for your life, may, if only for a moment, be lifted. And that is the best gift of you.