Was Cathy from Wuthering Heights practising mindfulness all those years ago? Was she able to quietly reflect on her faults when people were critical of her?
At fifteen she was the queen of the country-side; she had no peer; and she did turn out a haughty, headstrong creature! I own I did not like her, after infancy was past; and I vexed her frequently by trying to bring down her arrogance: she never took an aversion to me, though.
Emily Brontë. Wuthering Heights
Over the years, quite a few people have called me arrogant (especially my wife). I used to deny it, discount it, or counter-attack with a criticism about the other person (I won’t tell you what I called my wife). These days, I usually respond differently (alas, not always); I tend to pause, notice and reflect, considering whether there is something valid in the criticism; to look with openness and curiosity at the way I’ve been behaving. And if the criticism is valid, I consider: what’s working, what’s not working, and what could I do differently? Finally I (often, but not always) respond mindfully, acting on my values – which usually means apologizing for my arrogance and expressing myself more respectfully.