Some recent developments in my life led to another profound spiritual lesson that I want to share. I was feeling really angry at some people in my life (I was feeling judged, bullied, hurt and unappreciated). This time I decided to apply what I’ve learned from Teal Swan, Ralph Smart, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle, Adam Peacock, my son and all my wonderful spiritual teachers. I took a closer look at the emotions I was feeling and the thoughts that were fueling them. I discovered that I have a strong pattern going back to the beginning of my life. I have always seen myself as a victim, sometimes on a subconscious level, sometimes in full awareness.
The very definition of victim tells us that something external from us is causing us harm. Everything I have learnt thus far has taught me that truly nothing external can harm me. That is nothing can harm the eternal me; my Higher Self, my Soul. I can be harmed physically but I can never be harmed on an emotional or spiritual level unless I allow it to happen. Therefore, the pain I experience is by my own choice. If I accept the concept that I’m connected to everything and I am a part of God energy I can choose to never harm myself.
I see now that right from the beginning, the first time someone told me something negative about myself, I accepted it as a valid definition of who I was. I have a vivid memory of children rejecting me in the playground and telling me I was bad. This was the first experience I recall that led to the development of this belief.
When these children in the playground bullied me I chose to think that they had a negative intention and were out to harm me. I found more evidence of this thought throughout my life (a teacher yelled at me for talking out of turn or a boyfriend cheated on me, etc.). I have turned that thought into a belief. If you, like me, have a lot of negative experiences in your life, especially in your childhood, it’s easy to see how the thought that everyone is your enemy could develop into a very powerful belief.
Once I recognized that my subconscious assumption was that people have a negative intent towards me. Maybe my assumption is wrong and I can allow for a new possibility: they are not out to harm me. This, then allows me to question my knee-jerk reaction to future situations. I can stop seeing all these people as bullies and perpetrators. I realize that I can choose to see my negative experience instead as a growth opportunity. That these people are not my enemies, they are in fact my teachers.
Actually, there is no such thing as an enemy at all. Of course, I still need to set boundaries and stick up for myself when needed. I would never tolerate abuse from anyone in any form. But I can chose not to take things people say or do to heart.
Don Miguel Ruiz, author of the book, The Four Agreements, reminds me that when people say painful things or do hurtful things what they say and do is more about them and their path then it is about me. He says:
“Whatever people do, feel, think, or say, don’t take it personally. If they tell you how wonderful you are, they are not saying that because of you. You know you are wonderful. It is not necessary to believe other people who tell you that you are wonderful. Don’t take anything personally. Even if someone got a gun and shot you in the head, it was nothing personal…”
So when I hear something I don’t like (or even something I do) or experience something I don’t enjoy I can choose to look for a constructive message in it. I can also learn when to recognize that what I’m hearing or experiencing is not about me at all; which is all of the time according to Ruiz. I can realize that my negative reaction to what I’m hearing or experiencing is what I really need to examine. Ruiz also reminds us not to put too much stock in people’s approval and positive feedback. To have unconditional self love and respect; a positive self regard (as Ralph Smart says) that is completely separate from other’s feedback or comments – that’s true authenticity and the ultimate form of self acceptance and love.
Teal Swan speaks about recognizing even the people who commit the most horrible acts terrorists, murders, rapist and child molesters as teachers. This is a very difficult spiritual practice to master. In order to truly believe this we must fully accept the concept of oneness and the idea that we are all Source or God. We must fully understand that who we are is so far beyond the human understanding of good and evil, positive and negative. That this reality is not real. That we have come here to experience all aspects of life in order to aid the expansion of our true Self. That even the most horrible things we experience we attract into our lives with our thoughts. When we manifest these awful experiences we create the opportunity to challenge our deep negative beliefs and turn them into positive beliefs; therefore facilitating our personal growth and connection to our Higher Self. Anyone who harms us (or any difficult circumstance we face) is truly our teacher, our catalyst for spiritual evolution. We have complete control over whether we choose to let someone or something be our teacher or enemy. The only enemy that exists (either internally or externally) is one of our own making. Therefore, I can choose to believe that there is no enemy at all. You are not my enemy, I am not my enemy.
This belief allows me to stop myself from my usual reaction of anger or fear when faced with negative feedback or treatment. A strong emotional reaction like this comes from my reptilian brain (as Ralph Smart reminds me) not from my higher consciousness. These kinds of reactions always result in a negative outcome in my life.
But now I have another choice. I can detach with love as I learned in Al-anon. I don’t have to feel a defensive compulsion to react with an angry outburst or passive aggressive resentment. Instead of assuming that this person means me harm I can assume that they were attracted into my life in order to facilitate my growth. I can go within and identify yet another belief that is holding me back from living up to my full potential, being in harmony with my Higher Self. I am free to love the person that I once saw as an enemy. I am free to love the part of myself that I see as a threat.
A world without strong reactions to every negative interaction is a more peaceful world. A world where I don’t have to rely on external praise is a limitless world. It is living a happy, serene life. A world where enemies do not exist is a safe and loving world.
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Matthew 5:44
**Note – I experienced a major synchronicity just as I completed the first draft of this post. I decided to watch a Ralph Smart YouTube video entitled “How to Perfectly Respond to Negative People” and as it turned out he was speaking on this exact subject. I then included his comment on the reptilian brain and emotional reaction in the next draft. The fact that I found this video at the same time I was writing this post was incredible. I suggest you watch this video as it elaborates wonderfully on the subject of this post. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saRLuuLLtjI