Somebody yelled at me the other day. It was a road rage sort of situation and I’m not really sure what happened, or whether or not I was at fault, but it really doesn’t matter. This lady was SO angry! And it seems that I gave her a perfect target for her venom spitting.
I was devastated.
My line of work doesn’t have me out in public too much, which is kind of nice for me because I’m a more introverted personality. I get out and do markets during the Summer months, and I’ll occasionally participate in art shows, but mostly I get to stay home. Which is SO nice. My home and art studio are like a nice, cozy little bubble of Heaven and I’ve taken great care to create that for myself and my family. I’ve also taken great care to create a similar inner environment of warmth and loving tenderness within myself. It has taken me a very long time to become aware of my own negative self talk and change the culture inside my head. I hold my heart very gently these days, and thank God, because the outside world seems to try do just the opposite with human hearts.
So, a bunch of years ago I had this grand epiphany. It was a similar situation in which somebody said something very mean to me and I realized that his nasty words had absolutely NOTHING to do with me. I knew that I didn’t deserve his spite and realized that he was just venting in my direction. I also saw that he wasn’t doing this intentionally, but that he was hurting and just misplacing his emotions in an attempt to heal. It was a big deal at the time. I extrapolated that if this man needed to lash out unconsciously in an attempt to to deal with his own pain, that maybe everybody else did the same. Perhaps that is the real reason why humans hurt each other. We are all just trying to heal, but don’t know how.
My take away from this experience was that I didn’t have to internalize other people’s “stuff”. If it wasn’t mine to begin with, and really had nothing to do with me, then I didn’t have to take it personally. This was a nice place to be, because I found myself not so easily triggered anymore. I likened it to a type of force-field created by my new awareness.
This was AMAZING! Especially since I have been super sensitive my whole life and have always felt SO affected by the outside world. It was almost like I was granted with this new found sense of immunity.
Fast forward to a couple of days ago and I had to wonder, “what the heck happened?” Where was my force field? Knowing what I know, why was I now so affected by this angry woman in her car? Well, I see that at some point over the last while I have disassembled my “force-field”. It wasn’t fully intentional, but I’m thinking maybe a result of some of the personal work I’ve been doing.
These days, I am really increasing my level of presence…..with my own emotions as well as those of others. I don’t often feel triggered by other people anymore because I know that each person lives within their own little drama, and sees the world through their own, personal filter…read: I stopped taking things so personally. And as I mentioned, my epiphany of a bunch of years ago helped me to separate what is my own “stuff” and what belongs to others. Meaning, if someone gets angry and starts yelling in my direction, I don’t own it. So, what is happening now? If I don’t get angry or defensive or triggered in response, but also don’t let it bounce off of me, how am I experiencing it?
Well, what I experienced a few days ago was a very deep sense of sadness. Despite what many people think, I don’t believe anger is ever a core emotion. I think that if we dig deeper into our anger we will always find fear. So what I saw in this woman was a lot of fear, which immediately generated a sense of compassion inside of me. Sure, she is yelling her face off……but underneath that anger she was experiencing fear. Well, fear is the worst, isn’t it? I am flooded with compassion when I experience someone in fear because I can’t imagine a worse place to be.
And then I feel very, very sad. I feel sad for her, I feel sad for me and I feel sad for the human condition. We are lost and fearful……..and SO disconnected. We separate ourselves from one another when we are unable to experience the truth of ourselves and what we are feeling at our core.
And I think this is the reason I’ve let down my guard. Because in a world where there is so much misdirected, misunderstood emotion, I sense that we need more connection, not less. And if I can remain in a space with somebody who is experiencing anger/fear….and directing it at me because they don’t know how to appropriately discharge their negativity, and I don’t get triggered and yell back, or block them out entirely, then I might just provide a mirror for them to look into. When they look into my eyes, expecting to see fire and instead see water….a reflection…..their anger may soften so that we are both able to see truth of what is really going on.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be a martyr or “save” anyone. LOL. I’m a lot selfish in this practice. For me, it’s really just about wanting to experience the truth of people. People are not bad or evil. And although there is a lot of anger and hate in this world, things are not as they appear.
I am learning to love better.