My favorite version of the holiday song “Let It Snow” and a great reminder for stressful times like family gatherings! Feeling a little stress during the holidays? Try singing this tune in your head out outloud to lighten your mood.
I started out writing this blog about questioning why we accept or tolerate poor treatment from other people in our lives. I have experienced a couple of interactions with someone I love who I felt was doing and saying things that were thoughtless and hurtful. Then it hit me… STOP FOCUSING ON THE PROBLEMS! I was spending truckloads of energy and thought on how I felt someone I love had treated me poorly. I was determined to figure out MY role in it, what could I learn about myself, my insecurities, what in me would allow someone to basically emotionally abuse me? And oh by the way…I was also very focused on how “Wrong” they were and blaming them.
It’s great to take responsibility for my part in the pain, yet it is still focused on “right” and “wrong”. As Fr. Richard Rohr says, once you get involved in I’m right, you’re wrong thinking - that destroys contemplation. Without contemplation our life remains very black and white and it makes it very unlikely that we will reach for a higher consciousness or what is sometimes called “The Third Way”. This popped up on my Instragram feed this morning – a perfect description of the third way…
“An act of interrupting injustice without mirroring injustice” Whoa. So noticing what feels like injustice without retaliating with that same energy. And cap it off with the last part – It is about a revolution of love that is big enough to set everyone free. So if I invest energy in making what someone did “wrong” or what I did “right” or visa versa, I create a momentum of energy in my own life that likely will bring me more of this treatment I have deemed bad or wrong. What if instead I just focused on something that feels GOOD? What if I took my attention off of how “wrong” I feel the other person is and focused on what is going well or something that feels good? That new focus may or may not have anything to do with that person I am blaming for my pain!
Perhaps this is the true meaning of “Turn the other cheek”? Maybe it’s not about becoming a doormat and allowing someone to treat us poorly or say things to us that hurt. I’m pretty sure that would never be the intent of that idea from the sermon by the person (Jesus) who was sent to be a representative of love. Love isn’t just what you give others, it’s what you also must give yourself. You can’t give what you don’t have as they say. Turning the other cheek could also be interpreted to say that when we are looking at someone in our lives who is behaving in ways that appear to be causing us pain, try looking at something else. ANYTHING ELSE that feels good. A great go to for redirecting my focus is butterflies! It’s kind of hard to have a problem with butterflies! (Hence, my logo ;-)
All great spiritual masters have said in some form or another “Do not judge”. This is the message because it’s not about being “right” and it's not up to us to determine what is "right" for someone else. Our judgments come from our fear and they are a search for control. At their core, judgements are a cry for love. We judge when we don’t feel loved, so let’s circle back to my earlier comment – you can’t receive what you can’t give YOURSELF. So if we notice we are being judgy, that’s information that tells us “Hey! Note to self… I’m not feeling very loved right now, what can I do to love myself even more in this moment?”
In my recent circumstance, I felt what the other person was doing was showing that I was unimportant and could be taken for granted. I felt quite rejected, hurt and less than. In these moments our ego wants desperately to regain control so we judge the other person and look for how they are “wrong” or “bad” and we are “right” or “good”. Our ego likes to sort things into nice neat piles like this so it can get back into control. We also want validation, so we tell our story over and over to our friends of the wrong-doing of the other person. This puts us smack dab in the role of victim.
I don’t know about you, but some of my harshest judgements – are about people being judgmental!! That’s kind of overachieving in the judgement zone don’t you think?!?!? This same person I was feeling hurt by was being quite judgmental of others and I was being judgmental about how judgmental they were being! YIKES! I’m probably not going to affect any change in myself going that route! And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, the attempt to change other people and not focusing on changing yourself ummmm…. It doesn’t work.
Another option would be contemplation. A detached non-judgemental curiosity. Maybe as simple as asking “So what is this here to teach me?” Many things come to mind…
Judgement along with being a clue that you want love is also an indicator that you don’t like what you see in yourself. The mirror is always showing us ourselves in others. Always.
In order to transform our limiting beliefs and release judgement about ourselves and others, we must be conscious and open to contemplation of “The third way”. A way that doesn’t choose sides but instead remains open and loving. The big thing here is that if what we want is love, BEING loving is what will bring that to us and if we are only being loving towards others and not towards ourselves, it will show up as judgement a great deal of the time. Judgement and hanging on to crap is an indication that you are not loving YOURSELF. Without love for the self, we really can never fully love another in a healthy way.
Transformed people transform people according to Father Rohr. The other side of that coin is that if we don’t transform our suffering, our judgement and lack of self-love - we will instead TRANSMIT it out into the world. Our impact on those around us and the world will be from our untransformed crap which results in more pain.
A big part of transformation is LETTING GO. Letting go of judgments, identities, roles, who you were, limiting beliefs, perceptions of other people, a focus on the problem, and also the attempt to control the behavior of other people. You are the only one who can hinder you. You can’t control other people or how they choose to behave. You CAN choose what to focus on. Whether to spend time and energy on the problem, what you deem “wrong”, or on the solution, what feels good to you. Whichever you choose, you will get more of it because you always get more of what you focus on – whether you want it or not.
If you become awake enough to notice when you are being judgmental toward others or yourself and rather than judging yourself for judging, you instead become contemplative and let go of the judgement, looking within as what it’s here to teach you, the empowerment and love that comes with consciousness is a game changer. Get curious and then let it go - detach. If it's not feeling good being around a particular person or situation, it's usually because rather then that other person rising to meet your frequency - YOU are being pulled down to their lower frequency of energy. This NEVER feels good for ourselves and does absolutely nothing to help the other person. A great reason to stay on your own highest frequency and “Let it go, let it go, let it go”.
It's good to remember that sometimes people are so invested in their way of viewing the world that they cannot transform to a different way of processing things. They can't adapt or get curious about their views, judgements and processes due to hard wiring and the only way for them to feel whole is to stay attached to old ways of being. That's o.k. and realizing that it's not up to you to "rescue" them can be a hard lesson to swallow if that is the role you've let over-grow your life or relationship with them. It's important also to remember that their way of being whole, even if it seems confusing or even unacceptable to you - is not about YOU. It's their choice. So all your blaming, judging and finger pointing at them - ain't gonna change a thing except pull you down energetically. Who you're really pointing the finger of blame or being "wrong" at is yourself. For example, if you feel betrayed by someone, the real question is "how am I betraying myself?". That's the only contemplative way you can grow and transform the pain.
What I'm going to do is rather than spend energy trying to figure out why someone would treat me in a way that communicates disregard and taking me for granted is to spend time and energy on what I WANT & lights me up instead of what is lacking, "wrong" or drains me. This is a moment by moment choice I will have to make and I will have to dedicate myself to being awake and aware of my feelings rather than blaming and labeling with "right" and "wrong". I won't hit it out of the park every singe time and that's not the goal anyways. It's about compassion for myself and others and doing what feels TRUE for me and letting the rest go.
Sandy Edie Hansen
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