STOP. Whatever crazy shit is going on in your head, just stop RIGHT NOW. Take a step back. What are the FACTS that are bothering you. Not your interpretation of what happened, but the actual thing or things that took place. Not the reasons why you think it happened, or why you think it’s fucked up or unfair. JUST THE ACTUAL EVENTS THAT TOOK PLACE. The things that were actually said or done.
Okay, now here’s the reality: those things happened. They happened. You don’t know why. You don’t know what was going on in that person’s mind when he or she did it. You have some guesses…and you’re pretty sure they’re right. But, remember, however educated those guesses may be, they are in fact just your opinions. Theories, unproven hypotheses. Even in the case that the person was to tell you his or her reasons behind what they did, there is no way to tell if that person is actually telling the truth. Even if they think they are telling the truth, they themselves may not even be aware of the real reason behind what they did or said.
We are all complicated people. But, we are also very simple. This is the fundamental problem with us living as sentient beings here on earth: we live in a state of duality. We see ourselves and everything around us as separate from each other. Just the sound of the statement: you and this chair are one and the same sounds absolutely ridiculous and unfathomable. But that is a universal truth: we are all one. Not just “we all” as in all us humans. Every fuckin’ thing. However, given the way our minds, psychology, and consciousness exists today, could we ever comprehend and believe a statement like that? It’s unlikely. But, here’s something we can wrap our heads around: We’re all just doing the best we can. We are all just trying to survive. We all just want to be loved and feel significant in some way.
Now, the “best” of someone may seem really shitty to us, but to that person, they may just not know any other way. And not to absolve any of ourselves from the role we play in the people we become, but none of us get to choose the lives we are born into. Our parents, our upbringing, the values that were (or weren’t) ingrained in us from an early age…we don’t get to choose any of that…just like our parents before us didn’t get to choose what they got. Really stop and think about it: how many of your characteristics/traits do you genuinely love? Our bias for negativity, our quickness to react and get worked up over the littlest of things, our inability or refusal to push our fears aside and unwaveringly go after what we really want in life…how many of us genuinely want or choose to act this way? So have a little compassion for that person that is causing you grief. I know it’s easier said than done: 90% of the time I get carried away and have imaginary confrontations with people where I tell them what idiotic assholes they are. But that other 10% of the time, I catch myself right before I get on that train of mental fury. I realize that train ain’t gonna take me anywhere I want or need to go, so I turn around and walk away. Sometimes I don’t catch myself until right after I get on the train, which means I have to jump off the now moving vehicle. This is clearly more difficult, but if the train hasn’t caught much momentum yet, it can actually be quite invigorating.
Another tip: whenever I’m successful at not giving in to my natural tendency for negativity, I take a handful of seconds to let my victory soak in. I take a few breaths with a smile on my face and I let that blissful feeling of accomplishment flow through my body. Because once upon a time, not too long ago, I got on that crazy train 100% of the time without ever even thinking about it, without even realizing I had a choice. Now, I know it might seem like some of us really don’t have a choice, like it just happens before we can even do anything about it, and that’s because a lot of times, it does. We live a majority of our lives on autopilot – going through each day unconsciously and unintentionally. But try increasing your awareness of the present moment. Try being open to what is happening right now, instead of what happened a few minutes ago or what might happen tomorrow. Try to remember the next time something or someone upsets you that you have a choice: you can get on the train or you can walk away. And if you can keep choosing to walk away (even if it’s only 1% of the time), you’ll see that it gets a little bit easier after each time. This is not to say that it ever gets easy, at least not for me, not at this point…but it definitely starts to feel more and more possible.