OK, so somebody says something hurtful and it stings. Your feelings get bent out of shape and you fall into a downward spiral. Maybe you deal with the other person, maybe you don’t, but eventually you pull yourself together and find a way to keep going in spite of the offense. In any case, your focus is going to be on the event, on the other person, on what they said and on your shame.
The other person has exposed a vulnerability that you routinely conceal. Otherwise there wouldn’t be an issue!nAlthough you won’t like what happened, your pain doesn’t come from what they said, it comes from your reaction. They have triggered an old wound.
Allow me to illustrate: If the other person said that you beat your horse, you wouldn’t like being talked about like that, but since you don’t have a horse, and you haven’t been around horses since you were a child, the other person is clearly out of line! The truth is obvious. However, if her criticism is that you are selfish or unkind or something of that ilk, it’s going to be a different story, isn’t it? Why? Because somewhere inside part of you believes that it might be true! Like all of us, you’ve been unkind and you’ve been selfish at times, so it is possible that she could be right! Besides, her criticism falls into a context where you hold a less than wonderful opinion of yourself, making you susceptible to almost any criticism!
The unfortunate thing about an event like this is that because of your previous woundings, you get wrapped up in your hurt and pain and miss a significant opportunity. Stand away from the situation for a moment with me, and let’s look at it from a larger perspective: You hold some false beliefs. In your mind you are not smart enough, you’re not pretty enough, you are too insecure, you are inadequate, your thighs are too thick, your butt is big, etc., etc. – the list goes on and on. You use these judgments to substantiate the larger belief that you are unworthy.
Fortunately for you, The Universe does not see things the way you do. When you look at yourself you see flaws and inadequacies. The Universe sees a wonderful and special being who does not know who she is and who sometimes gets caught up by her fears and anxieties and then later beats herself up for her “failings.”
The Universe wants to help you find the truth, but since it can’t send you a letter, which you would probably ignore, it does something even better. It recruits another person to bring this unfounded area into your awareness. The Universe will go to a great deal of trouble to wrench to the surface (painfully to be sure), this belief that you have needed to address for some time, but have been reluctant to face. Since you have not been willing to do this on your own, it has recruited “a volunteer” to rip the scab off your old wound in order to hopefully get you to examine your beliefs.
After you get over the initial discomfort, you find that these situations give you the opportunity to stand away from the event and look at what was going on within you that caused your reaction, because the two events – the other person’s criticism and your response, although linked, are really separate. We rarely look at our part and in failing to do this, we miss, as I said, a very special opportunity.
Look back for a moment at some of the difficulties of your life. After you scrape away the surface conflict, you will find that within each situation is an opportunity to address your beliefs. Without your belief, there would not have been a “situation” in the first place. There would have been nothing to “hook” you. You would have simply shrugged and walked away, hopefully, holding compassion for the other person.
The biggest reason we don’t take advantage of these situations is that it can be a rough process. It is also very difficult to move beyond the pain and the shame and feeling wronged. Recognizing this, The Universe continues to present you with opportunity after opportunity, raising the intensity until you finally get it. Sometimes it has to push you to your knees before you will surrender your beliefs, but The Universe will do whatever it takes. And it will be relentless! The sooner you realize this and embrace what is really going on, you will be able to release struggle and work with what is being asked of you. Or, as my friend Sylvia used to say, “Release struggle and flow with life.”
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