Day by day, we so often live our emotions dictated by the reactions and responses of the people around us.
We feel hurt when others don’t agree with our point of view, or when someone says something off-hand and thoughtless. We almost always take it upon ourselves to bear the burden of emotion.
Perhaps it’s because we are taught as young children that our joy and happiness needs to be dictated by the moods and living conditions of our parents. While each young child, strives to bring a smile to their parents faces, with worldly worries and demands, parents often don’t realise just how powerful their reactions are to the innocent lives of joy.
From a very young age then, we learn and start to believe that when someone says ‘I don’t want to be your friend’, somehow it is our fault – that we have done something wrong or when a person is rude or unkind, it is something that we have done to cause them to say that.
Nothing we ever say or do, can control how others choose to behave around us or towards us. As soon as we start to realise that we never can and we never will ever be able to control what others say or do (Remember that Clause about Free Will, and all that) we start living our own lives completely for ourselves, from ourselves.
Just as we are not able to control what others choose to say, do or think, every time we choose to react negatively, we are inadvertently ‘giving our own amazing power away’. When someone else is able to dictate, just how we should feel or think about ourselves, we have offered them power over our emotions.
So just how can we start being true to ourselves?
1. Choose exactly how you want to feel
Regardless of what someone has said or done, the power to choose exactly how we want to feel (or react to) about the situation, lies very very much within ourselves.
We can choose to be upset or worried as much as we can choose to laugh off an unkind remark. All our reactions are our own choice. If a bout of laughter works simply because it makes us feel better, then it certainly is our prerogative to do that. It is not any more cruel or rude to laugh at an unkind remark than it is to make the unkind remark in the first place.
So next time some one has something to say to you that is less than complimentary or happy, smile, laugh share the joy in the hilariousness of the situation. Lighten up the load and always, always choose to feel good about yourself.
2. Stop, Breathe and Let it go
Sometimes hurts cut really deep, and as much as our conscious states of mind tell us that we can make choices that are better for ourselves, occasionally these are difficult things to do.
If you find yourself in just such a situation, you might like simply pause for a moment. Bring yourself right in to that moment and take a deep breath.
Remind yourself that you are so much more than whatever has been said or done to you (if saying it once doesn’t work, keep repeating the message). And when you’re ready, let it go.
There is a well-known Zen story that relates to being able to ‘let go’.
Two monks, one senior and one junior were on a journey when they came to a river that they needed to cross. By the banks of the river, stood a beautiful woman who also needed to get to the other side. She asked them for help.
The senior monk obliged and carried her across upon his back. Setting the woman down on the other side of the banks, she said her thanks and went upon her way.
The monks too continued on their journey. As they walked on, the senior monk cheerfully enjoying the walk while the junior monk was seemingly very disturbed about something. After a while it was clear that whatever was bothering the young monk needed to be resolved, the older monk asked him ‘Brother, you seem to be in great distress. What exactly is bothering you?’
At this point the junior monk burst out, ‘Brother, how could you even think of carrying that woman on your back when you know full well that we have taken vows never to come in to contact with women?”
Upon hearing this, the older monk smiled and said, ‘Brother, I left that woman on the side of the river hours ago and yet you are still carrying her’.
So just as the older monk had let go of the woman, by the side of the river, leave the hurt, worry and pain that you feel and remember, you can let it go.
3. Nobody ever does anything TO you
As we are often so caught up in our own perceptions of the world, we forget that the reality is everyone too is functioning within their own ideas and perceptions of the world. When someone does or says something that seems wrong or unkind to you, it is most likely that they are not even aware of their own actions.
If we can begin to understand that everyone is entitled to make choices about how they behave, and leave it simply as their choice to be however they wish, we begin to understand that other people’s behaviours are generally never aimed at making us feel bad – only we can do that to ourselves.
4. Lessons all around
If we can begin to see that there is always something for us to learn from each and every person we interact with, we would come to value every experience, no matter good or bad. Over time we will always come to find that each encounter offers us an opportunity to learn more and enjoy our own lives more.
Take care, keep smiling and be happy.
Over to you: Is there anything you would like to share or add? We would love to hear your thoughts or experiences.