In this post I wanted to re-visit a time when someone very close to me, someone I love began attacking me for no reason, over a nothing. In this case, I can honestly say, I had nothing to do with what went down. I was on the receiving end of ‘their stuff’, their undealt with issues, which were projected on to me. In the past, I too have been this person taking out my stuff on some innocent party. I believe most of us have been this person.
I was truly in shock at what occurred and the venom which came out and my initial feeling was anger and the deep desire to hurt back. But I paused and remembered how much I love this person and saw that this was just one of their less fine moments in life and I made a decision to forgive, to not judge. I decided to love because the true test of love is not just to love when all is well, that’s easy, but to love when what your ego demands is revenge, to hit back…..and I am quite able to give back. In this case, I tried to understand that it was not about the precise words she was saying because there really was no truth to them, that rather, this was deep emotional pain being vented on someone she trusted and that I had to hold my own personal truth and not allow my feeling of self worth to slide under the attack and then, in response hit back with equal venom. Again, so tempting and in my past I would have hit back in defence and I will almost certainly again in the future, fail to take the high ground….for sure there will be a time when I’m feeling vulnerable and the jabs will pierce the armour and I’ll respond in kind. Unfortunately!!!! (As an aside, I will also add here, that if you find yourself in an abusive relationship, in an ongoing way, subject to regular abuse, you need to re-evaluate your continued presence to that relationship, unless the person agrees to seek counselling.)
It was not easy to hold that place in the presence of her fury, which far outweighed the tiny thing which had precipitated her attack. By the way, if you ever find yourself in the same position, this is a telltale sign it’s not about what you did. Let me provide a different example from what actually occurred but which will give you the exact idea…. you are having a great time with someone and then you accidently forget to put sugar in their coffee and they begin to vent with rage about how useless and uncaring you are and how you are always someone who never listens and what a mean person you are….well then, you can rest assured this is their own stuff, probably unrecognized, unacknowledged deep feelings and beliefs they have about themselves and which make themselves heard when voiced in the safety of belonging to that other person. In these moments we can feel the very real hurt and pain of the attack but instead of reacting we can hold that and not need to attack back and we can chose to leave that attack out there in the ether and not allow it in to make us feel less about our own self. We can breathe in, breathe out, we can stay mindful of our feelings and our bodily reactions without attaching to them and reactively responding. We hold the moment and we hold our self gently and with love. Dare I even suggest we pray for calmness and for a healing of the other, remembering that the next time, we might be the one in want of forgiveness and prayer.
These biblical quotes address this very thing:
Matthew 5:39.‘But I say to you who are listening: Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who insult you. If someone strikes you on the cheek, offer him the other one as well, and if someone takes your coat, don’t keep back your shirt, either. Keep on giving to everyone who asks you for something, and if anyone takes what is yours, do not insist on getting it back. Whatever you want people to do for you, do the same for them.’
‘If you love those who love you, what thanks do you deserve? Why, even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what thanks do you deserve? Even sinners do that. If you lend to those from whom you expect to get something back, what thanks do you deserve? Even sinners lend to sinners to get back what they lend. Rather, love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind even to ungrateful and evil people. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.’
And from The Bhagavad Gita (11.64-5)
‘But when one loves amidst the world of sense, free from attachment and aversion alike, such a person attains serentiy. And from serenity results cessation of all his suuferings. For in a persom with a serene mind, wisdom soon becomes firmly set.’
I say the sooner I get more of this serenity and wisdom the better….funny thing about life, we often take many goes at learning our lessons, so next week I may well find myself back to that impulsively responding woman, a bit like the bird on the rail below!!!!