Last fortnight we explored loving and appreciating ourselves and resting in our kind intention, when things don't go as planned. This fortnight we will raise the bar a little and see if we can do our best to have a compassionate, kind and respectful attitude to all. And show love and appreciation when things get tricky or go wrong!
I notice how differently I respond when I can come from a position of giving that love and appreciation to myself instead of attempting to manipulate others and circumstance to try to get it! Equally helpful is to let go of judgement, blame and criticism of myself or others.
As we said last blog, we cannot control outer circumstances, including how others respond to us. The thing that is in our control is our mind - and being kind and respectful to ourselves and others is always helpful and conducive to our peace of mind and well being. Kellie Edwards wrote of Alan Wallace "Alan brings a concern for how he treats people (and ourselves too!) - with kindness and respect - and this is something he can control - rather than how it will be received, which is outside his control. He is pleased if people find it helpful and show appreciation but his well being is not hinged on receiving that feedback' Because as we know we can give it to ourselves!
When things go wrong my default habit is often to blame myself or others. I often give myself a hard time and need to bring those high expectation birds to fly a little lower. I have been trying to be mindful of resting in my good intention and being a more of a kind encouraging friend to myself, instead of that judging, blaming, critical one.
So what happens when things go really wrong, can I still rest in my kind intention and give myself love and appreciation for doing my best, instead of a hard time or guilt trip, despite external circumstances?
My more helpful thoughts include the kind encouraging friend ones like....
'I am dong my best'
'it's like this now, what is my wisest response'
"I love and appreciate myself and others (even the tricky ones teaching me patience, compassion and forgiveness!)
Last week I phoned a friend to invite them for dinner. My friend was not having such a good day, and my invitation was met with some negativity! I was reminded of Alan Wallace's words above and Thich Nhat Hanh wise advice 'When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over, He does not need punishment; he needs help. That is the message he is sending'. They were needing to have a bit of a rant and rave about their NBN hassles and other things. So rather than punish them or myself with blame, judgment, or guilt I asked myself some questions. What was my intention? To extend a kind invitation. Can I control how that is received? Clearly not!
So can I love and appreciate myself when I feel criticised and under appreciated? And can I not take things so personally? As the Dalai Lama reminds us "We often add to our pain and suffering by overly sensitive, over-reacting to minor things and sometimes taking things to personally".
So, yes I can rest in my kind intention, love and appreciate myself and not take things so personally. When I can do this and have compassion for myself and I can have compassion for them too. And love and appreciate them too. I can trust in the divine order of things and do my best to respond to whatever comes up.
My friend Molly, a positive psychology teacher, recently shared a great way to respond when someone is having a bit of a rant and rave. She shared to let them run their rant dialogue without interrupting. Every time we interrupt someone who is having a bit of a rant over something they are upset about (even if it is to interject with a helpful comment) they need to start over again expressing their upset! A sigh is our clue that they have finished expressing their grievance.
So during my phone conversation, where my friend who was needing to express upset over the NBN and other more personal tricky things, I did my best to resist the temptation to interject with some helpful advice and let them finish with a sigh. I was then free to respond more wisely, which may include, to say nothing or to validate their upset without blame or criticism. The trickier aspects of this conversation were more difficult, however remembering to be more compassionate, kind, loving and appreciative of all, including myself, really helped.
Have a great fortnight - I look forward to connecting with you soon