No one is perfect. Not our religious leaders. Not our presidential candidates. Not you. And not me. And now that I’ve offended you, pause and take three deep breaths before continuing.
More on that later. Between then and now, contemplate this.
Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience. -unknown (often attributed to Mark Twain)
Replace stupid with mean, angry, hateful, or any other negative attribute, and that sums up this past week in America. I thought we’d hit our low point prior to the 2016 Presidential election when even the Dalai Lama chimed in to poke fun. That was until the masses of personal attacks against one another on social media, in schools and in the streets after the election.
Because someone says something mean-spirited that we don’t agree with does not mean its right to return it with the same spirit. “But…but…but” you may be sputtering.
“BUT it feels good to give them a dose of their own medicine.”
“BUT I need to avenge myself.”
“BUT they’ll never change.”
Let’s address why the inverse of each of the above reasonings is a better solution. Perfect? No. But let’s start somewhere.
Since we’re talking about imperfections, my memory is certainly one of them. I can’t for the life of me remember the title, but I read a book authored by a Buddhist woman who dedicated a chapter on training yourself to pause. Throughout your day, pause momentarily to detach yourself from any situation (in line at the supermarket, in the shower, etc.), and it will retrain your auto-response when facing an anger-evoking situation. Take three deep breaths. Those few extra moments you pause before responding may prevent you from reacting in anger, and more thoughtfully respond to a tense situation. She (still waiting for the author’s name to come to me) said nearly 100% of people who lash out in anger regret their actions after the fact. 100%! We’ve all heard the definition of insanity (doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results). With all the other kinds of crazy within each of us, let’s not add to the insanity by lashing out at others. P.S. If you know the name of the book, please comment at the end!
LOVE YOURSELF FIRST
Anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
That quote sums up my favorite reason to not act out in anger. For self-love!
Another reason to not lash out is for the love of others.
From a young age, I remember sitting on my grandma‘s gold velvet furniture as she explained why we need to “turn the other cheek” when someone hurts us. Always learning and improving and loving, she gifted me with “Creating Power: The Secrets of Success and Happiness” home study course from Karim Hajee. In his audio presentation, he talks about the science of energy.
Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather, it transforms from one form to another.
Hajee asks us to think about the effects of negative energy. When we think negatively and when we lash out, we transfer our negativity to others. We send it out into the world. We effect others who effect others (who effect others) every day, both positively and negatively.
It’s not up to our President to be the example for our younger generation. Do you remember what your Presidents said when you were a child (or is it the words from your family and friends that stuck with you into adulthood)? It’s not up to athletes to be the example. It’s up to us. When you have the choice, choose kindness.
HOLD OUT THE OLIVE BRANCH
We all face difficult situations in our lives. Something is unfair. Someone is unkind. It’s natural to want to fight back. If you’ve never heard about the Weissner’s and Larry Trapp (a Jewish couple harassed by a KKK clan leader), it’s an inspiring example of the power of fighting hate with a simple kind gesture. Their kindness made him stop and think. Trapp eventually ended his hate-speech radio show, renounced the KKK, converted to Judaism and became close friends with the Weissner’s. How many lives did they effect, including their own, when they had the courage to be kind?
What if we all had that kind of courage? It can start with a thought. Rather than add more negativity to the world, genuinely send a positive thought, prayer or wish of happiness and healing the way of anyone hurting you, and then let it go. When the feelings come up again, breathe. Repeat. Don’t let someone else allow you to become a more hateful version of yourself that you reflect onto others. Stop the negative ripple effect, while freeing yourself from anger and resentment.
Hold out the olive branch!
A photo posted by Native Gypsies (@nativgypsies) on
Life is about what we make it. If you live in the United States and you have a computer or a phone in order to write on social media, you already have much to be thankful for! While I am saddened by the politically-charged, hate-filled rhetoric on social media this week from both sides, I’m thankful to be from a country that grants us the right to free speech. I’m writing this post from another wonderful first world country, but they do not grant their citizens the same freedoms of speech. Since the Presidential election, various comments online from Americans suggested they no longer felt safe in their country and were “seriously considering moving” to a country with racial equality, and the country I happen to be in was brought up many times. While the country is beautiful and offers many benefits, racial and religious tolerance and the safety of its citizens are in question right now. But, the grass is always greener in our minds. Rather than looking for an out, let’s first look inward. Starting with ourselves.
The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. -Benjamin Franklin