What do we do when we’re given a chance to practice what we’ve learned? Do we default to our old imprints and react as we always have? Or do we recognize the opportunity, accept it, and attempt to act in accordance with our new intention?
I recently wrote about how everyone shows up to class with some sort of injury and in fact how really everyone we encounter in everyday life is injured emotionally, physically, or spiritually.
Gary Zukov has talked about how “fear is disguised as anger, rage, depression, jealousy, hostility, anxiety, judgment, and impatience. Fear is the opposite of love.”
When we are confronted with people who seemingly lash out at us in any form of the above, how do we react?
I had a cultural misunderstanding with someone I care about. It could have been resolved with a calm discussion but instead it escalated to something far greater that was deeply hurtful for both of us.
I really wanted to walk away, to accept that this was a sign that it’s not the right relationship to be in, which would have contributed equal anger, impatience, and anxiety to the situation.
But once I got some distance and returned to my practice, I really couldn’t deny that I know this person has been hurt before. They’ve been unfairly judged by social factors that are beyond their control and the explosive, condescending anger they presented is a defensive shield to protect themselves. It’s fear. Fear of being ridiculed. Fear of being evaluated as less than the other.
I can be exactly like those they’ve encountered before or I can be different and help this person to see something new by recognizing their pain and understanding it in a delicate, compassionate way instead of treating them with hostility.
We control how we react. That’s where we stand in our own power. No one provokes us as much as we let them. We can choose love or fear like Gary Zukov points out in this article from Oprah.com.
Regardless of what the outcome may be, and as sad and upset as I am, I want to choose love because acting in fear for myself just perpetuates the cycle.
Sometimes the only thing we can give is to be generous with our understanding. On a daily basis, perhaps that is all that we can contribute to the small world that surrounds us by choosing to love and not asking for anything in return. We heal through love.