Peace dwells where power exists. For most of us, that is exclusively within ourselves. As much as we may think we have influence or control over others, that is mostly illusory. Power may be limited even within ourselves, depending on how conscious we are of our thoughts and actions. Instead, we respond out of pre-programmed conditioning and habit, a state of mostly unconscious existence. In this state, we give power over our peace away to others. Peace returns when we take our power back.
Perspective and Choice
We often think that we have little to no control over how other people make us feel or how we respond, especially if they purposefully did something to hurt or upset us. Though this may appear to be true at first, changing your perspective reveals that you have the power to choose both how you feel and how you respond. The words or actions of others carry the potential to hurt in a couple of ways. 1. When someone’s actions or words indirectly upset us, they didn’t knowingly or purposefully do or say anything to upset us. 2. Someone purposefully and/or knowingly does or says something to upset you. In the case of the former, this is generally due to the action or words bringing a past unresolved hurt or flaw in ourselves to the surface and is actually a great opportunity to discover and heal an unresolved issue. The “offender” was merely the messenger. In the latter, the act of someone purposefully trying to hurt or upset you is likely a subconscious projection in themselves where they may have and/or feel a range of unresolved hurts, poor self-esteem, complexes, or other issues. Compassion for their unconscious suffering can help whatever they did or said to roll off your back, realizing their action was more about them than it was about you.
Beyond this perspective, you still have the choice to take it personally and induce suffering, begin a potential downward spiral, or recognize the situation for what it is, learn something about yourself or others, and continue your merry way. The following story illustrates this approach:
A monk and his student were walking down the road. Suddenly someone ran up behind the monk and forcefully pushed him down before running off. The monk rose to his feet and continued on his way without even turning to look at whoever had pushed him. The student was very surprised and asked the monk why he didn’t turn to face his attacker. The monk simply replied, “they are not my problem.”
Anytime you allow the actions or words of others to upset you, you have consciously or unconsciously given your power away. In this state, your instinctive reaction will perpetuate or worsen an undesirable situation. Not taking it personally and recognizing you have a choice to continue your merry way is empowering to maintain your peace. You cannot be bothered by others unless you choose to give them that power. Knowing a choice is involved, why would you choose to go down that road?
None of this should be interpreted to say you shouldn’t protect yourself or those in your care. If real danger is sensed or innocent victims are at risk, actions to move to safety or to protect yourself and others should be taken.
Micah this is great! Thank you for sharing these words of wisdom; words which enable us to better ourselves.
Yes Micah, this was very thought provoking. My favorite sentence is, “Anytime you allow the actions or words of others to upset you, you have consciously or unconsciously given your power away.” This is very true! In fact, I was already thinking of writing a post entitled “Injustice or Blessing?” and your writings have given me the courage to go ahead and do it. It is about a recent personal experience of mine which I perceived to be a great injustice at the start.
Of course, my post will not sound as professional as yours – considering you sound as if you could be a counsellor or doctor on the subject .
Thank you for your post! It was great!
Thank you for your kind remark Teresa. I look forward to reading your piece on “Injustice or Blessing?” It sounds intriguing. Often an “injustice” can be a blessing in disguise, which I presume your future post will elaborate on. One thing I have learned or come to realize is that often an event carries the gravity that we label upon it. We consider it to be “good” or “bad” depending upon who benefited or who was hurt. The question can then be asked, was an event perceived as “good” or “bad” due to the preconceived judgment which was placed upon it, or is it inherently so? An alternative approach is to not label any event as “good”, “bad” or otherwise and instead just accept it for the wisdom, learning or experience it contains. Another thought that goes along with that; is resisting or non-acceptance an event denial of reality and the likely source of most suffering? Please keep us posted on your upcoming post.
Its funny, I was just talking about this with a friend just the other day!! I think the bottom line is when you choose to let someone else get to you, you give them control of the situation and the power to bring out the worst in you.. Choose not to be offended and learn to forgive, both are very difficult to do but are blessings in the end 😉 Thank you Micah for reminding us to rise above it all, we should pity those who choose to offend..and you are right,we don’t know what is behind making them act the way they do..so if we just walk away choosing not to be offended then we transfer the power that they think they have back to us. Great article!!
Cami, thank you for your comment and for sharing your thoughts.