You’re in the middle of a heated discussion, your heart is pounding, your throat is constricted and you can feel the steam coming of your head. If you’re not familiar with this situation, no need to read any further.
To me this situation is maybe a bit too familiar. By nature, I am a very stubborn person with strong opinions and a hot temper. Ask anyone who knows me as a child and he will remember vividly my temper tantrums and loud shrieks.
These characteristics have been haunting me ever since. Even now. But after years of reacting and feeling that pain of wanting to be right, it’s time now for a change. If you read my previous post, you know that my utmost priority as an adult is to take responsibility for my feelings.
Nowadays, I try to pause rather than react whenever I feel this irritation, feeling of injustice or feeling of being misunderstood coming up. It has brought a lot of peace and happiness in my life. I didn’t even notice before how energy draining holding on to being right can be. Nor did I ever imagine letting go of being right to be so easy after some practice.
Some simple insights have helped me tremendously in putting my ego aside. In this post I would like to guide you through the insights that have helped me being a more relaxed and balanced person.
There’s no truth
In case you are discussing about an opinion, be aware that there is no truth. There’s only personal truth. Be aware that everyone has different experiences and sees the world from different angles. There is no absolute truth. Knowing and accepting this makes it a lot easier to agree to disagree.
And what if it’s better for their own sake to see the world the way I do?
I often catch myself wanting to convincing others from my spiritual perspective. Not to be applauded for my insights, but for them to apply it to their own lives. However, the spiritual path is not particularly in line with most of modern day mainstream thoughts. I often get confronted with questions such as: “How do you mean, forgive him? He cheated on me!” or “How can I relax and “trust in the universe” if the world is a freaking jungle? Ever heard about the survival of the fittest? I will never survive if I relax!”
Especially if I care about someone I really want them to acknowledge my message. Seeing the world from a spiritual perspective and living by it has greatly relieved me from pain and suffering. And all I want is my loved ones to do the same. But there are two thoughts that keep me from trying to coerce them into their own happiness.
- The universe is perfect. Every single person is exactly where they are supposed to be on the spiritual path.
- The other is perfect. I can trust in the others strength to find their own happiness. As long as I subconsciously believe the other needs me in order to grow, I’m energetically disempowering him or her. All I can do is send them my love and trust that they will find their own way.
You are not in danger
This might sounds strange. Consciously you are probably perfectly aware that you are safe. However, your bodily reactions tell you another story. The symptoms I summed up in the introduction to this post are a sign that your body goes into a fight or flight response. This reaction causes unnecessary stress in our bodies.
As soon as I am aware of these symptoms, I consciously breath in and breath out. I consciously tell myself that I am safe. However the conversations continues, I will most probably be alive by the end. Whenever I do this, I can literally feel my system slowing down and my body relaxing.
Empathy & Compassion
Once you have calmed down a bit, start to reflect a bit on yourself. Can you remember those days that you were so fiercely convinced about your point of view, it even hurt? (I do!) Deep inside you would feel that it’s not about the topic anymore. It’s deeper. It’s your ego that is hurt. At a certain point you want to drop the discussion, you want peace. But your ego simply doesn’t let you. “Loosing” this discussion just seems too painful.
Now, just imagine the other might be in just the same position. In fact, he is not himself anymore, but his ego has taken over. But just like you know that you are not your ego, you can know for sure the other isn’t his ego either. And just like it’s difficult for you to let go of your ego (even if you really want to!), it’s equally difficult for the other. Once you can recall the pain of being ego-driven, it’s a lot easier to feel compassion for the other.
Take a deep breath and turn your attention completely to the other. Tune in to him and see and feel his agitation, frustration and pain. Can you recognize yourself in him? Can you recognize how you are both controlled by your ego’s? And can you send loving compassion to both of you?
Would you rather be right or happy?
If you are in a discussion that’s too deep or your ego doesn’t allow you to feel genuine empathy and compassion for the other, egoistic measures have to be taken. In that case, just think of your own happiness. If you can’t feel love and compassion for the other’s sake, do it for your own. This is the only way you can reach true happiness and peace. But the bottom line is that you have to truly understand and forgive the other, before you can sense the feeling of mental and emotional freedom within yourself.
Don’t get me wrong, I still fall into my old patterns and let myself be guided by my ego. But in a way, that’s perfectly fine. Whenever I fall back into my ego, I am so heavily reminded of how painful it is. Whenever I feel this familiar pain, I can see the red flags and calm down before I run into the trap again.
I am a flawed human, just like all of us are. But I am slowly grasping the perfection of my imperfection, because it’s my imperfection that leads me to my perfection. So, instead of seeing my negative sides as inherently bad, I consider them to be warning signals that merely remind me of my emotional and spiritual construction sites. The construction sites we all have and which turn us into the unique human being which we all are.