OK, so your partner said something hurtful and it stung! You are wounded, angry and you feel betrayed. Inside, you feel like you have leprosy. No one likes being in these situations, even though we all end up there from time to time.
When something like this happens we usually get caught up in the drama and feeling hurt and wounded. This prevents us from realizing that there is something far more important going on.
Life brings us opportunity after opportunity to work on our “soft spots.” But rather than looking at these situations as opportunities for inner healing, we turn them into sources of pain. The encounter has already aggravated an old wound, and we make things worse by getting lost in being hurt.
There are a couple of techniques that can help you move to a better place with all this. The first is to realize that pain does not/can not come from a situation. We all feel empathy or compassion, those are our natural feelings, but pain and hurt are uniquely personal emotions. They come from the way in which we have learned to relate to life. They do not come from life itself.
The second thing to realize, and this is hard for some people, is that although your feelings can be hurt, you cannot be harmed. All your partner did was create some vibrations in the air. Those vibrations do carry energy, and you’re not going to like being around them, but they cannot hurt you.*
You are not going to like what he or she did, but the fear of harm is a holdover from when you were young and completely vulnerable to your parent’s unresolved emotional issues. That is a pretty vulnerable place to be!
Your partner did not create your response. You did. And if you are to look for a solution, you must take your focus off them and the relationship and look at what in your beliefs (especially about yourself) created the pain, because it is YOUR pain.
We focus on the other person. We don’t like having to deal with our inner pain. It takes us into our shame and makes us feel vulnerable in a world that has already hurt us a good deal. It is easier to focus on them – “They are off-base, they are jealous, or foolish. . . ” This allows us to not have to look at the wounds we drag into every interaction.
Getting caught up in the emotions of the situation isn’t going to help you. It actually blocks your ability to learn, which is its purpose. Your pain is a safety mechanism that makes you hold back from situations that the inner one feels are too threatening to deal with.
The theory is that we block things out until we feel safe enough to learn. Most of the time we get forced into a corner where the old ways simply will no longer work, and we have no choice but to change.
Blocking your learning is unwise. The Universe has gone to a great deal of trouble to call your attention to an inner wound that it is ready to be resolved, and you want to walk away from it! You can avoid dealing with your wounds today, but tomorrow it will be “Someone Else 2.0,” with a 2 X 4. That is why avoidance is not a good idea.
Some people play a game of “chicken” with God. They say, “Let’s see how much pain I can endure before I flinch.” They would rather endure emotional torture than open up their inner Pandora’s box of pain. These people push away the immediate conflict with the resignation to take even worse difficulty later.
Their childhood pain, whether they are conscious of it or not, is so great that they fear losing themselves or being cast into oblivion because they see themselves as hopelessly inadequate. Nothing could be further from the truth, but this is the path their soul has chosen in order for them to heal. It is a difficult path.
The central theme here is that the way you connect to a situation, not the situation itself, is what creates your pain. Our natural state is compassion, and when you come from that place, energy flows. When you operate from the fear of being hurt, you trap the energy that needs to move, and it turns into bodily tension and stress. And, Western medicine is just beginning to appreciate the devastating affect that years of stress takes on the body.
I once got royally chewed by a guy speaking Portuguese – a language I do not understand. It helped that I knew why he was upset and that I had done nothing to deserve his wrath, but I just stood there as he went through his tirade. It was uncomfortable, but it really didn’t make any difference, because I did not take myself emotionally into the situation (except to feel for his pain).
Of course it helped that I couldn’t understand a single word he was saying! There was no “soft spot” of vulnerability in me for this man’s words to attach to, because although he was obviously upset, his words went nowhere!
Connecting through pain is an unnatural and unhealthy connection. Connecting through compassion is natural and normal. That is where we will all go. How we get there is by learning from our pain.
If you think about it, there are many situations each day that you simply allow to pass by because they do not “trigger” you. But on the other hand, a look from your partner or a word from your mother, and you’re in orbit. Right? Those are your soft spots that are getting pushed. Otherwise, you would just let them pass by!
There is a helpful technique that Krishnamurti used to teach. It was his “secret to life.” Krishnamurti looked at every situation and reminded himself that:
“IT DOESN’T MATTER.”
We make situations matter, when in truth they don’t. (Especially when you realize that you cannot be harmed.) The people involved your life situations are important, very important, but that is a significant distinction.
If someone tells a lie, that is unfortunate, but if the lie creates a “situation,” then that means someone else’s wounding has been sucked into the vortex. We are headed for a cat fight. Everyone is going to get hurt and nothing will really be resolved. What Krishnamurti was trying to teach us was to make the situation not important, but to honor them and their pain.
Gay Hendricks teaches people to say, “So what!” to life situations. I want to be careful here. This is not a “screw you” to the other person. It is an attempt to separate out and break our typical connection to the situation, so that, interestingly enough, we can actually be more open to see and feel what is troubling them.
So your partner is upset. “So what!” She gets to be mad if she needs to. Be aware that there may be something here you need to look at for yourself, so always, always, always, see and feel their pain, because you may want to look at your behavior. But, don’t get hooked in the drama!
We never want to fully disconnect because, after all, it is through other people that we learn! That’s why social isolation, although sometimes attractive, is not helpful. It makes it more difficult to finish what we came to do. When someone gets upset with me, I don’t like it, but there is always an important piece of learning there for me. We need to find a way to stand back from these encounters and say:
“What has this situation come to teach me?”
That is when the payoff comes for all that spiritual work you have been doing.
* I am referring to emotional wounding. Physical acts operate under different principles.
copyright©Blue Lotus Press 2015