Hi there, and thanks for reading. Have you ever read something online that upset you; or dare I say, offended you?
So have I.
We all have. I promise you that if you were to scour the earth and speak with every person between Alaska and Zimbabwe, you would find that each and every person has been offended at some point in their life.
As I write these words, I too am offended. No, you know what? I am angry. I am beyond offended. I read words of hate – not online but in a personal message I didn’t deserve. At the time, I neglected the opportunity to demean them in the same manner.
I had the chance to lower myself and to hurl ignorant insults. I could have screamed until my face turned blue. In fact, the few loved ones I have shared the situation with in its entirety would have done much more than that.
What did I do instead? I was honest. I took their poorly thought through threat and insult, and I questioned it. I asked if they truly felt as though the situation at hand required such a reaction. The target of their threat was not me, otherwise I could have ignored it completely.
No, this person decided to take a threat out against my children. One such that even though no physical element was involved, it would result in the heartbreak of my little girls. In the past, any threat to my children would be met with no less than a rabid mama bear. I will spare nothing in my efforts to protect those two little angels, and the one we have yet to meet.
When this person lashed out in anger with a target clearly secured on the backs of my children, I knew I had to act. I also knew that I needed to be careful. I took my time to think through how to respond so as to minimize the damage my children might have to experience. When this person resorted to petty insults, I refused to take the bait.
I will be everything my children need me to be. I will not allow myself to be lessened as a person to goad someone else’s ego. I am dedicated to my path, and to embracing the four Dharma-like states in every way of life. I will not allow the selfish and destructive behaviour of another to deter me from my path.
In this difficult time, where my heart breaks and my head is screaming- I relied on the Brahma-vihara to get me through. I look in this stressful moment for the places where acceptance of the Sublime States will aid me and those around me.
How can love, compassion, empathetic joy and equanimity be helpful right now? The teachings of the many Buddhas reminds me that I must give myself love, even when others around me would not. I must love everyone, even current enemies. I cannot allow their hatred, their impurities and their doubts to force me to feel any less love.
I allow myself my own compassion. I accept the stress in this situation. I allow myself to feel the feelings this pain has caused me, but also I remind myself that it does not lessen me in any way to go through a stressful patch in life. I extend that compassion onto the person who hurt me. I step back, and look for the cause of their pain. I remind myself that they too, are only human.
Although it is never easy to partake in empathetic joy for a person who is lashing out at you in their time of stress, I do my best to remind myself why they deserve that joy. I know that they may serve me in no way other than a stressor right now, but that is only for the time being. I look for joy in their life, and use that light to banish the darkness that has settled over our relationship.
Finally, I must remember my equanimity. In my work; I have cared for all kinds of people- from all walks of life. In their pain and their suffering they are not always as kind to me as they may be to their loved ones. I look past their actions and their words, and remind myself to give them the best care I possibly can. I believe that all people, no matter where they come from or what faith they practice- deserve the highest standard of care. I do not limit that to only the people who happen to be kind. Even the worst sort of person deserves to have the best possible care, with no exception.
I apply this to my own stressful situations in life. Although this person may wish to hurt me now, they deserve my best self regardless. I deserve to be my best self, no matter what someone may say.
I owe it to them, and to myself to treat them with the dignity and respect that I would offer any stranger. Even if they would not appreciate my efforts, or if they might see them as superficial- I deserve to take pride in my actions.
I will not be as lowly as you claim me to be, and I will never allow another person to set the standard for how I behave. I will not apologize for not falling for your verbal traps and engaging you in arguments. I will not be lowered by the likes of you.
I am thankful for all the time I have spent over the past 10 years meditating on the Sublime States. I truly believe it is my efforts in this matter that have allowed me to be better able to handle things like this. I have the power to rewrite my thinking, and to keep myself headed on my higher path.