10 Questions to Ask Yourself When You Want to Fight Back
“A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love.” ~Marianne Williamson
Spiritual teaching says that there are truly only two emotions: Fear and Love. Everything is derivative of one or the other at its core. So how do you know when you are not leading with love?
If you think about the times when you have been the most judgmental, defiant or indignant, the real truth is this: you were afraid. That fear may be from some old wound, the scary unknown, or about facing someone that believes very differently than you. The fear might be about being judged, rejected, not loved, betrayed, invalidated, misunderstood, embarrassed or made to feel unworthy.
On days when I am truly connected to the divine, I act differently.
I practice stopping myself when I want to judge and look back on what is stirring my thoughts and turning over in my gut, creating an emotional reaction.
“What am I afraid of in this person?”
If I can see that the root is actually fear of feeling a certain way, I try to rest in that for a moment and recognize where I am. In my best moments, I sit back and reflect before reacting. I look within and pull up old memories and beliefs from my file drawer of Life that feel similar to what is happening there.
Ultimately, I find the person or the experience that this interaction is reminding me of and realize how it is making me feel. This is usually something that hurt me deeply in childhood and a pain that is still wrapped around me like a poisonous vine. If this keeps reoccurring, it is because the lesson has still not been learned – the lesson of self love, acceptance, surrender and not taking things personally. The lesson in staying connected to God and not the circumstances here that try to push me off the cliff.
And when I am my Best Self, I own it. I pull up and away from the situation and realize that this is about something bigger and before now. The feelings are mine and not about the person who is here wronging me – likely unknowingly.
Then I take a deep breath try to find compassion for the person (which, let’s be honest, can sometimes take a while). When I have found a place of neutrality, I recognize that there is an established belief inside their mind that is just as valid as mine. Just as valid for them. Likely also rooted in fear. Maybe different, maybe divergent, but it is theirs. And it is there for a reason.
I tell myself to listen and try to understand their story. Their side. Even if the “rest of the story” remains silent, like the jagged bulk of an iceberg frozen beneath blue waters. Because somewhere in between we must be alike inside of ourselves. We must love something the same way and surely have the same need to be happy and not suffer in this world. We just go about things differently.
What if we all practiced being our Best Selves more often and had better moments of reflection, then reaction. that were not stirred in the pot of fear, but rather basted in love and compassion? The world would be a more beautiful bowl of soup.
Here is a start to finding that place of harmony.
Ask yourself these questions when you feel an emotional reaction to someone:
1) Why do I want to hurt this person right back? Am I afraid of something?
2) Am I feeling betrayed? Disregarded? Unworthy? Unlovable? Rejected? Misunderstood?
3) Does this person have any idea that his/her words are affecting me inside like this?
4) Who does this remind me of? Who also treated me this way and hurt me?
5) Could my reaction be about something in the past more than this right now?
6) Can I wait for a little while before I speak my truth to see if I can neutralize?
7) Can I find it in my heart to consider this person’s past experiences?
8) Could there be a reason that this person is this inconsiderate, unfeeling, selfish or irreverent?
9) Can I remember that he/she has a story too, and maybe there is pain and fear there too?
10) Can I find compassion in my heart for this person . . . just like I need myself?
Then do. As often as you can. And, over time, it will become a practice that is rooted in love. Others will experience it, and those who are ready, will be inspired to do the same.
The best part about it, is that love goes out like an echo . . . and comes right back.