But sometimes things just happen. Somebody might say something or act in a way that hurt us. Or that we feel (even rightly so) is not in our best interest. We can even feel abused.
So what to do?
Thing is, sometimes it is what it is. People are people, and not everybody we encounter will necessarily have our best interest at heart. In fact, few may. So we read wonderful quotes, and on a good day it is easy to nod our heads and say "True!", but when you are actually in the situation and feel that you have been wronged, it might be harder to put into practice.
I'd like to offer context and solutions that may help with this, relating each to a phrase, practice or quote we may have heard before.
1. Don't make assumptions
Don Miguel Ruiz lists this as one of his "agreements" in his book, The Four Agreements. It is indeed so that we see things not necessarily the way they are, but the way we are. You never know what lies behind it. You cannot know the other person's story. And in fact, you don't need to. Even if you think you are correct with your assumption, and even if everybody else says so, stay detached and drop the assumption - false or not. That is hard to do, as humans have a basic need to know and we are wired to analyse or justify it. Don't assume anything about the other person's motives or behaviour, do not even label it. Try it; try to stay totally neutral and not assign a name to their behaviour, especially not anything where you use the word "because", or "he/she is..." ( like in he is doing it because he doesn't care, or she is full of herself). I know, not so easy. But necessary.
2. Accept what you can't change
This is not a passive resignation. You are not a doormat and you are not training to be one either. It is to keep your side clean, do what you can, and then allow whatever outcome to happen. Accept responsibility for your behaviour, but theirs is not your issue. It's just the way it is. It is part of the story line but you are not the director; you can't take over their lines. But did you notice I said keep your side clean and do what you can? It means having an active acceptance.
3. Change what you can’t accept
It follows on from my previous point. If it is not good for you, change it. But don't waddle in false beliefs and protection. Just be careful, not being a victim does not mean you have to attack. Change your environment if you need to, and if you can't change your environment, change your attitude. Ask yourself if what you are doing is good for you, good for others and ultimately, for the greater good. Then act accordingly.
4. It’s all about perspective
What is it costing you to be right? What is it costing you to "set the record straight"? Will it matter in five years' time? Or will you still be dragged down by shackles of resentment, anger and frustration?
5. Let it go
Ah, the biggie. Tons of quotes on this one. Imagine their action or behaviour as water, literally rolling of you. Literally off the duck's back. Feel it. Visualisation is a very powerful tool, so come back to the image again and again if it helps. See it (your reaction to what they've done) as a thought, and then ask yourself what you would be without the thought. See where that leads you.
6. Look at yourself
How are you showing up? What is the story you are telling yourself, and others? What cue are they taking from you? In talking about taking responsibility for our own reactions, we are often quick to say "I know I shouldn't/did/didn't, but....". Leave the 'but'. How are you showing up? A practice I find helpful is to imagine myself as a fly on the wall watching myself. Forget about the other person - to an outsider (or to the fly), what do they see about the way you behave and the story you tell? What are you attracting (or not) by the way you show up? Get my point?
Yes, it is a burden to carry and we gain true freedom through forgiveness. But there's a catch - it is not about you forgiving them about what they 'did to you'. Neither is it about making something right that clearly is not. It is about asking who or what needs to be loved and forgiven. Not for any reason. Often it is you. The easiest way to do this? Be love and spread love. There is nothing to forgive if we spread love.
8. Ground yourself
You may see that as spiritual if you so wish, but you can also view it plainly as being firm in your belief and your own self-worth. The trick is to not make it egocentric, as in not being flexible. Just stay centred and if you "lose" it (of course it may happen), just come back to that inner alignment; that grounding, a connection with the earth. A tree's roots make it stand firmly and straight, but it also seeks out the most nutritious and less disruptive way through the soil. That is grounding - standing firm and completely balanced but finding the best way for the tree (you) through your roots. (Grounding is a simple yet powerful practice, and can be taught very easily).
9. Stand in your power
Understand where your power comes from. It comes from loving yourself, from knowing you are worthy. Take a long, hard look inside. Forget the ego for a second. You power does not come from the ego, as that is often fear-based and can falter. True power and self-worth cannot. Take a look at each of the following statements, and be honest about whether it stems from an ego-based fear or from a genuine sense of internal power:
• I will not stand that
• He/she will not mess with me
• My reputation is at stake
• He/she has got another thing coming
The ego also wants to be protected from "looking bad". Honestly? Guard your genuine power, but be strong enough to cut through your fear-based needs.
10. The truth will prevail
Know this. Even if it is about your "reputation" (and it probably isn't, but even if you believe it is), it is hard to keep a lid on something really strong. If your light shines brightly, even if it flickers for a while, it will not be dimmed. Action speaks louder than words, it truly does. I want to add that being speaks louder than acts. It truly does.
Please understand there are way more to these practices that meets the eye. This is not meant to be a quick fix. There is nothing to fix really, as it is all about growth and empowerment, but it starts with awareness.
The challenge is to apply it when we need it; that may require more work. It may require coming back to it again and again, it may require outside perspective, it may even call for hindsight and be a lesson.