I’ve had cause to disappoint some people this week. This brings feelings of stress and tightness in my heart center, as I always want everybody to be happy in general, and especially not to associate disappointment or bad feelings with me. There are a few good lessons to be learned from these situations.
One is that we are never ever responsible for anybody else’s feelings. This is easy to say, but more difficult to remember when we are wrapped up in the moment. It’s worth bearing in mind, though. We are each our own little universe of experience, emotions, feelings, perceptions, thoughts, and memories. That said, when one person has a reaction to another’s words or actions, there is no way to tell as an outside observer what was the root cause. Unassuming us might have used the same words that their mother used when they were young to punish them. Or perhaps we’re wearing a t-shirt that reminds them of an ex. Or maybe this is the fifth time in an hour where something has not gone as planned, and it just happens to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. There is no way to know another’s heart and mind. We are each responsible for our own reactions, and we have the choice in each moment to act from compassion or fear. Just as I have that choice, so do you.
Here, the lesson of compassion is helpful. All this self-work we do, from yoga to meditation, reading, writing, talking, exploring ourselves and our worlds breeds more consciousness. We are able to then move from a strong space of awareness in our actions and responses. With compassion, we’re able to remember when our actions were led by unconscious fears, lessons unlearned, or reliving old scripts and memories. With this compassion, we can pull our egos back from a situation or confrontation and remember not to take things personally.
The second important lesson in these moments is that it is vital to stand in your own truth. Yes, we are each compassionate human beings moving within the world and helping each other, teaching each other, lifting each other up. In order to fully give of ourselves, we need to take care of ourselves. This means recognizing our limits and boundaries and healthily, gently communicating when we are not able to do for others as they may like. We will never be able to please everybody in every moment. It is important to move from our own intuitive space to recognize what best serves our souls in a particular moment, and to then rest comfortable in the knowledge that you’ve done the best you can.
Finally, we must exhale and release. Notice if any tension has come to your physical body due to confrontation or stress real or imagined. It’s amazing to think of, but much of the stress we carry from situations is self-inflicted doubt, worry, or fear. When you become aware of knotted shoulders, a tight belly, or another response your body has to stress, send your full light and consciousness to that tension and exhale with the intention of releasing the built up energy and tension.
With this compassionate practice, we may find that life feels a little lighter.