|A different perspective on a pile of rocks. Crested Butte, July 2010.|
The days of the past week and a half have been a big pile of ugly rocks that I couldn't give away for free. No one would even bother counterfeiting a check for them. There's nothing earth shattering about these days. It's just been a string of nothing. is. easy. and some people I care about are hurting for various reasons. A common theme seems to be the hateful, hurtful words and actions of other people.
Which brings me to a question I struggle with all the time: How much do we let other people's words and actions affect us?
I'm still waiting for the invention of a magic pill for heartache (something like Midol on crack.) Instead we vent to our colleagues, cry on the shoulders of our loved ones, and seek out advice from spiritual leaders and self-help books. Here are some words of wisdom I've heard once or twice (ha!)....
Someone can only hurt you as much as you let them
Really? My first reaction was Oprah may have it nailed, but this practice on it's own is difficult for us ordinary humans. Ask someone whose partner cheated on them what they think about this school of thought. However, when you dig a little deeper, this can also mean removing the toxic elements from your life, which I am personally a big fan of. My friend just wrote about her cleansing here.
It's not about you
This is a good one. I truly believe if you look at the root of why someone is jerking you around, it has nothing to do with you as a person. It is their issue. Doesn't make it hurt any less when your heart gets stomped on.
Some people just have a bad heart
That's a good theory that might make me feel better about myself for a minute, but I choose to believe that most people are intrinsically good. Does someone really wake up in the morning and say "Today I'm going to be a jackass and ruin Sally's day?" It's more likely that person is damaged somehow and is acting out. Maybe they are insecure, jealous, or desperate. Maybe they are just having a bad day. It still doesn't take the anger out of being undermined by a colleague or the embarrassment out of being called out by a teacher in front of the whole class.
This is a good practice for all of us, but forgiveness takes time. It's not automatic and it takes work like any other skill.
So what do you do when you get hurt by another's words or behavior?
My favorite advice: Be Kind.
Be kind to others (even to the jerk who wronged you).... and be kind to yourself. Let yourself feel, kick, scream, or sing songs about revenge . Do whatever you need to do except be hard on yourself.
So to my friend who asked last week "Why do I still want her to like me?" - Because you are human and you are kind. That's why.