It’s not you, it’s me. It’s not me, it’s you.
Chances are, you’ve got these two flipped and and it causes you much suffering every day.
Allow me to shed some light on this dark matter.
Typically, when you experience a reaction to another person’s words or actions, you hold that person responsible. It’s their fault that you feel anger, jealousy, or sadness. They hurt you. You desire that the person recognizes their wrongdoing and makes it right. Right?
You also fully believe that what they’ve said or done was about you. You take it personally, because you were the recipient. They said or done it to you. It’s an easy mistake. A mistake, nonetheless.
I propose an alternative view. If you apply it, it will decrease your suffering significantly. You may have a reaction to it, initially. Maybe even a very strong reaction. But please put away your pitch fork…. ahem… I mean, reserve your judgement until you’ve experimented with it. You might discover that it’s actually hugely empowering and liberating.
This alternative view, as you might have guessed, is as follows.
The bad news is, when you react to another person’s words or actions, it’s NOT THEM, IT’S YOU. Whoa. Take a deep breath. And another.
Here’s the good news. The negative message of which you are a recipient, is NOT YOU, IT’S THEM. Yep. Here’s how it goes.
You see, another person’s words or actions, even when directed at you, are NEVER ABOUT YOU. They are ALWAYS about them and their own stuff. Kind of disconcerting. But think about it. We only have to offer from what we’ve got inside. And it’s from what this person’s got inside that this dubious offering has emerged in your direction.
They have pushed your buttons, sure. But they were not the ones who installed the wiring. You get it? Your buttons have been there all along. It is your privilege and responsibility to de-power them. In fact, ONLY YOU have access to the hardware controls—no one else. It is your stuff that’s being triggered by another person’s words and actions. Use it to map out these buttons to overtime take them off line by doing the healing work.
You may wish that your offender engages in their own healing work, and it’s a nice wish. Let’s leave it at that. For now, let’s simplify things and leave them out of it.
Here’s what you can do. When you find yourself reacting to something another person has said or done:
1) Re-mind yourself: Their words or actions have nothing to do with me—it’s their own stuff.
2) See them with compassion (even a speck of compassion goes a long way, for it shifts you from a painful reactive place): it’s out of their own pain and turmoil that this negativity is coming from. It sucks to be them right now.
3) Wish them relief from their suffering or with that they go to hell—for our intents and purposes, this part does not matter. Just leave them out of this, whatever it takes.
4) Re-mind yourself: My reaction is it’s not about them, it’s my own stuff.
5) See yourself with compassion. Localize the site of the injury and clean it of the thoughts that enhance your suffering (that’s how our wounds get infected—by picking at them with rumination). Notice how the wound actually feels in your body. Breathe deeply into the sensation.
6) Identify what button has been pushed. Each time you don’t go into an automatic reaction when a button is pushed, you de-power it. You liberate yourself.
7) Congratulations, you’ve done the most difficult thing in the world—operated on yourself and rewired your brain. Celebrate this gain. How does it feel in your body-mind? Allow yourself to imprint this feeling as your possible new normal, as an aspect of a new you.
You might have noticed that I’ve spelled “remind” funny. You might have thought: “I knew it, she’s out of her mind.” And you are right. In my BEST moments, I AM out of my mind. Our minds are so conditioned to produce automatic responses that they become the tools of imprisonment.
Thankfully, they can become the tools of liberation as well. But it’s not going to just happen. We have to actively RE-MIND ourselves, by recognizing and de-powering habitual reactive patterns. Or, as it has become popular to put it, courtesy of Neuroplasticity findings, by “rewiring our brains.”
In this post, I am speaking about minor everyday offenses that we inevitably endure and perpetrate in our interactions with the loved ones, coworkers, friends, and strangers on the train. I’m not talking about deep transgressions. This technique is meant to be applied to treating paper cuts, not gun shots.
We have to start with treating paper cuts, because this develops our soul muscles and enables us overtime to do deeper healing work. Don’t neglect paper cuts for they seem small and insignificant. It IS possible to bleed to death from minor wounds, if they’re insidious. Or to get an infection and die.
These experiences are deadening for the soul overtime. For they cause us to harden protectively, develop and armor, enclose ourselves in a shell. And that, my friend, is the opposite of what we came here to do. We came here to learn to soften and open so that we can fully enter into a reciprocal embrace with the world.
So apply this ointment. See what happens. Share your experience.
I love you. From my paper cuts to yours.