When we are hurt, our automatic defense many times is to lash out and hurt someone else, even of they have nothing to do with the reason we’re hurt in the first place. It’s easy to make someone the target of our anger, fear, or pain, but, that is when we need to practice contrary action, take a breath, and be gentle to those around us, just as we would want others to be gentle with us.
I’ve spoken about this before, how a friend, who helped me tremendously at the start of my journey, commented that I had a barbed tongue, and I still can, I just try to cut that barbed wire now before it can hurt somebody, but every once in a while, it still manages to lash out. That barbed tongue is fast, and it’s viscous. It used to be something I was really proud of. Something I had honed over the years to protect myself. Something that always brought about the desired results, to be left alone. Really I wanted everyone to leave me alone to suffer in silence, in isolation, because that’s what I thought I deserved, and if I pushed everyone away, no one was going to discover how deeply damaged I really was. There, also, was a part of me that, the really damaged part, wanted others to feel as bad as I did, that wanted others to suffer, especially those who I thought valued me less than themselves, or, who I deemed had too much good going on in their lives, I played judge and jury and thought it was my right to knock them down a peg or two. That sounds really disgusting to see that in print now, but it’s the truth.
But here’s the real truth, when we are feeling down, when we are angry, when we are feeling less than, it’s important that we are gentle with those around us, to acknowledge the place we’re in, and to also not forget to be gentle with ourselves. Oh yes, we also need to practice gentleness towards ourselves, in fact, when we practice being gentle with ourselves we find it much easier to practice it with others, and, even find some compassion for them. When we recognize our own feelings, moods, and needs, when can then take action to find a solution to them, or at least take action to ease the pain or frustration, and when we can identify that in our own behavior, it gives us a window into those around us, we start to recognize those same feelings, moods, and angers in others, so even when we don’t feel like being kind, or someone isn’t with us, if we’re living in a state of gentleness, we can be gentle back, or at the very least, walk away and not engage so we’re not adding to their pain, and ours.
Here’s another truth about acting gentle towards others when we’re hurt. When we practice doing this our own hurt diminishes. True. When we are kind to someone else, we get out of our own head, our own problems, worries, anger, we shift the focus off of us and onto doing something kind for someone else, and low and behold, our own mood shifts, things become lighter, brighter, better. I know that may sound crazy to you other barbed-tongued SLAYERS, but it’s absolutely true, and, I challenge you to try it. It’s also a fantastic way to break your pattern, to change the direction of what you’ve always done, and create a new trajectory for yourself. It’s kind of the stop, drop and roll of anger management, instead of just igniting in a flurry of flames, or anger, stop, drop and roll, breath, take that breath, and then respond. Our breath is the fire extinguisher of anger, it will put out the flames every time. Practice compassion towards yourself, and towards others that come across your path, you’ll find yourself in far fewer altercations, and you might just start to identify with what connects you to those people on your path, and those connections, keep us in the light.
SLAY OF THE DAY: When you are in anger or in pain do you lash out at those around you? How do you do this? Do you feel badly afterwards? How does it make you feel? Do you apologize? How can you stop yourself from getting into those situations in the first place? Have you ever considered being gentle when you know you are not in a good place? How have you practiced this? How do you feel differently when you’ve practiced gentleness over when you’ve lashed out? How can you, SLAYER, practice gentleness this week? What steps can you take to ensure that you are taking responsibility for your actions? Be kind, be gentle, and remember that goes for you too. SLAY on!
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you