From Anger to Stillness to Gratitude, and Forgiveness

You know people just mess up sometimes. All of us. We don’t listen, we get tired, we become self-absorbed even if only momentarily. We lash out, we argue, we disregard or disrespect or dishonor ouselves or someone else, usually someone we love.

Then most of us feel bad about it. We didn’t want to upset someone we love. We didn’t take into account what they were going through. Our empathy gene just got shut down for a split second by that damn ego, and now that it’s back on we want to repair the damage done.

Then the damn ego comes strutting in again, and tells us we were perfectly valid in what we said, and they had no right to demand/ignore/argue/yadayadayada with us. Or we were perfectly valid in demanding/ignoring/arguing/yadayadayada-ing with them.

How do we get out of that ego mind? How do we rise above and observe not only their behavior but more importantly our own? Since we can only change our behavior and not anyone else’s, how do we shut down that ego from it’s bullshit defensive posture long enough to see ourselves, to hear our hearts and get back to center?

You know that ego loves anger. You’re hurt, so it wants to hurt back. You think you’re disresepcted, or dishonored or unloved and the ego just wants to jump in there and fire away, and it becomes a competition between ugly forces to find out who wins the gold medal of ugliness. Trouble is the gold medal isn’t made of gold, it’s just paint on a rusted tin star, and no one won. Both (or all) of you walk away with a puffed up chest with a piece of crap pinned to it, and that piece of crap is hard to unpin, dammit.

So…what do we do? Do we sit and cry? Yeah, maybe for a bit. That’s can get to be self-serving too, if it goes on beyond a release of unhealthy emotion. But then what? We have that long road ahead, or at least the perception of it’s being a long road, to undo the damage done. Whether or not we shot the first volley. What does it matter who was first when both ships sank and we’re all floating in the same water filled with the debris our joint carelessness threw about?

My suggestion would be this: Go silent, be still. Give yourself some distance, even if it’s just in another room, or outside your door. Being outdoors is conducive to the stillness. Then begin your gratitude list. Be grateful for your family, your friends, for the air you breathe, for the food in your fridge. Gratitude will lift you above yourself faster than anything I know. There is always something to be grateful for.

And then, perhaps, ask yourself if your life is better with this person in it than without. Is the whole thing an anomaly or a pattern of behavior? We’ve all experienced both. If it’s a pattern of behavior that repeats itself over and over again, it’s probably not a good thing for either of you. If it’s an anomaly, then you need to turn on that forgiveness button and press it as many times as you need to til you have forgiven the other person and yourself. (I suppose that even if it’s a pattern of behavior, you need to find and press the forgiveness button, but that doesn’t mean you have to allow repetitive negative behavior into your life. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that they were right or that you were. Just that it’s over.)

The silence will make you strong. Strong enough to reopen the lines of communication and let the love that lives deep inside you (and momentarily obscured by the ego) to flow from one to the other. It may take more than once. Don’t set limits on how long or how much it will flow. Just let it flow. What you intend, will eventually manifest, though perhaps in ways you don’t expect, or perhaps never dreamed of.

Try to learn a lesson, when it’s all over. Try to find that nano-second where you could have altered course and circumnavigated the whole ugly experience. If you are like me, and believe we are here to learn our lessons and evolve our souls, then allow that which you cannot change in the past to be one of those lessons. The kind of lesson that lies deep in your soul, and if you’re lucky, won’t need repeating.

Love and light to all.