We have all been in a situation where someone very close to us has hurt us. We often say things like “I never imagined that this person would hurt me”. Or something like, “How could this person say something like this. I didn’t think even (s)he would be like everyone else”. True, we are hurt. True, have been let down. How do we go about dealing with such feelings of being let down? A lot of people talk about forgiveness. How do we go about forgiving our loved ones?
Acceptance: Always start with a deep acceptance. Yes, I am hurt. I am hurt deeply. And there is nothing I can do to change this. Often, what happens is that we are fighting with ourselves incessantly. We are resisting the fact that we are hurt and the mind keeps repeating the questions “How could this person do this to me?”. This ‘Why’ thought prevents us from accepting. ‘Why’ is essentially an unresolved emotions. And the best way to start to heal, is to transcend the ‘why’ and move to a “Its okay. I am hurt, and it’s in the nature of relationships to be hurt”. Recognize that ‘Whys’ do not have any answers. Even if you have an answer such as ‘That person is stubborn or arrogant’ – it doesn’t bring about a feeling of completion in ourselves, at the emotional level. So drop the why and start accepting that you are hurt and it is completely normal to be hurt. We are only human. Embracing our feelings, creates a space between who we are (awareness) and the feeling. This helps us move to the next step.
Compassion : Often we think compassion is something to be practiced externally. We are told that we need be compassionate towards others. However, the root of compassion is to be empathetic towards ourselves – our thoughts and emotions. Once we have accepted that the feeling of being let down exists within us, just express a deep empathy towards it. How? It is like when a child is throwing tantrums and starts crying you lower your voice and say, “What’s wrong. Come on sit down next to mum and tell me what happened”. Yes, the child is behaving completely irrationally and should not be behaving like this, but it is. Right now, that’s how it is behaving. Similarly, adopt this empathetic attitude towards yourself and your feelings. Mother your feelings. Tell yourself, “Its okay to feel like this. Come sit with me”. This helps bring about a shift in energy within the mind. In essence, we want someone to be kind to us and say “its okay”, and that someone should be us. We need to be kind to our mind.
Forgive the other: Once we gain perspective and shift the energy from being hurt to being kind to ourselves, we can begin projecting it onto others. Remember, we cannot force forgiveness on others when we don’t “feel” it. This creates tension and stress in ourselves and we will eventually crack. Once we feel love and kindness in our hearts, we can begin to project it towards others. When we are okay and kind to our feelings of hurt, we can begin to say “Its okay, I understand why the other person behaved this way. Perhaps they were stressed”.
Forgiveness is rooted in acceptance and understanding. Accepting and being attuned to one’s own feelings and understanding that the other also goes through this. This is the foundation of healthy relationships.
We will make mistakes. Even though we understand this, we will slip, we will fail. And that’s okay too. The key is to keep trying, to keep moving forward despite all challenges. A good friendship or relationship isn’t build on the absence of problems, it is built on the ability to both to rise – again and again – from challenges.
In order to be able to continually rise from challenges, one must be open. This is critical. If one is stubborn or highly egoistic, there is no way that person can accept their flaws. Observe if people around you are stubborn. Stubbornness or ego is born out of false protection of one’s own identity. Ego refuses to accept one’s weaknesses, for one is actually weak within. As Diana Black once said “Big egos are big shields for a lot of empty space”. If we notice we are egoistic, what to do?
Simple. The same rule applies. Observe. Accept. Be compassionate towards yourself. Whoever we are. Whatever we feel. Observe. Accept. Compassion. This helps us transcend our own limitations. This helps us transcend our destructive emotions. This helps us become free humans.
Isn’t that what we aspire for?