Sabotaging Our Own Peace

Peace dwells where power exists. For most of us, that is exclusively in ourselves. As much as we may think we have influence or control over others, this is an illusion. Even in ourselves, depending on how conscious we are of our thoughts and actions, power is potentially limited and we instead respond out of pre-programmed instincts and reactivity, a state of mostly unconscious existence. In this state, we give power over our peace away to others. We return to peace when we take our power back.

Perspective and Choice

We often think that we have little to no control over how other people make us feel or in how we respond, especially if they purposefully did something to hurt or upset us. Though at first this may appear to be true, changing your perspective reveals that you do have the power to choose both how you feel and how you respond. The words or actions of others carry the potential to hurt in a couple of ways. 1. When someone’s actions or words indirectly upset us, meaning, they didn’t knowingly or purposefully do or say anything to upset us. 2. Someone purposefully and/or knowingly does or says something to upset you. In the case of the former, this is generally due to the action or words bringing a past unresolved hurt or flaw in ourselves to the surface and is actually a great opportunity to discover and heal an unresolved issue. The “offender” was merely the messenger. In the latter, the act of someone purposefully trying to hurt or upset you is likely a subconscious projection in themselves where they may have and/or feel a range of unresolved hurts, poor self esteem, complexes or other issues. Compassion for their unconscious suffering can help whatever they did or said to roll off your back realizing their action was more about them than it was about you.

Beyond this perspective, you still have the choice to take it personally and induce suffering, beginning a potential downward spiral, or recognize the situation for what it is, learn something about yourself, or others, and continue on your merry way. The following story illustrates this approach:

A monk and his student were walking down the road. Suddenly someone ran up behind the monk and forcefully pushed him down. The monk rose to his feet and continued on his way without even turning to look at whoever had pushed him. The student was very surprised by this and asked the monk why he didn’t turn to face his perpetrator. The monk simply replied, “they are not my problem”.

Anytime you allow the actions or words of others to upset you, you have consciously or unconsciously given your power away. In this state, your instinctive reaction will most likely serve to perpetuate or worsen an already undesirable situation. Not taking it personally and recognizing you have a choice to continue on your merry way is very empowering to maintaining your peace. You cannot be bothered by others, unless you choose to give them that power. Knowing a choice is involved, why would you choose go down that road?

Disclaimer

None of this should be interpreted to say you shouldn’t protect yourself or those in your care. If real danger is sensed or innocent victims at risk, actions to move to safety or to protect yourself and others should be taken.

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The approach I am advocating here is that of choosing not to let others hurt you with their words.  Their words are really a reflection of what is inside of them anyways, or how they feel about their own insecurities and such even if just subconsciously.  Boundaries should of course be defined for our own safety, however, we cannot control the thoughts, actions or words of others and so confronting a boundary breech which they may or may not have been aware of may not result in the desired resolution of the breech, at least if not done in a tactful and respectful way of the other individual, but may just escalate the confrontation further.  Just my experience and opinion though.
Well said, and I agree.
Attitude after the fact if everything.  It all depends on how badly you've been harmed.  If you've been hospitilized by a spouse that's going to take you home, because he always finds you anyway, I call it "The waiting to get crapped on syndrome."
I agree to a point, but also disagree to a point.  The nature of most bullies while in the act of bullying is to get a reaction, which is what gives them a sense of power or control since they can see how their actions create a desired reaction in others, but only if you react to them.  Most bullies are cowards at heart and only maintain their sense of power by the fear or control they perceive themselves to have on others.  When you refuse to buy into their game, aka, walk away as though "they are not my problem", you are in turn not giving the bully the very thing they are looking for.  They might try to get a reaction out of you several times before realizing they have no power over you to upset you and then move on to their next victim to regain their lost power from someone who will give them what they want.  This doesn't mean you should ever give in to the bully if they are making demands, nor leave yourself vulnerable to manipulation, but that with tactful wisdom, you may be able to defuse the bully completely from seeking you out.  Just my 2 cents and understanding.
Perhaps in the process of defusing a bully, the opportunity may present itself to befriend the bully and pass along some wisdom about how they might heal their own inner shadow that is clamoring for attention and control, that is if they will hear it.  If the bully is really that dangerous, I see no harm in warning others of said bully, or making it known how they might take advantage or manipulate others.
oh, and thanks for the kind words.
What really needs to be examined is the illusion of control and influence.  We ultimately cannot control a damned thing anyone else chooses to do.  We may be able to influence some of the consequences (such as calling the police when a bully has taken things beyond the law etc), but in the end, we really only have control of ourselves.  I could spend every waking moment worrying about where the world will be tomorrow due to all the lies, corruption, bullies, conspiracies and problems that exist in the world today, however, most of the greater problems of society are outside of my control and influence, nor is the outcome of tomorrow predictable by anyone, so why worry about so much of those problems when you have the choice to not to?  This doesn't mean apathy.  This means realizing where our control really lies and seizing it.  If were in me to run for a political office to seek a better world tomorrow, I would do it.  Maybe it will be someday.  But it's not in my path at the moment so that is not part of my current approach.  I still try to wield my influence when influence is due by sending letters to government officials, signing petitions or attending rallies or protests.  Those opportunities present themselves in the moment however and would be prudent to not always dwell on them nor let them rule your life.  So I take the approach of living today, within the boundaries of my own locus of control, and being at peace as much as possible with everything that happens outside of that.  Follow what wisdom makes sense to you.
We can take the higher road where we are concerned, unless we've been physically assaulted and have to dial 911, but when a child is being bullied, there is NEVER a good reason for ignoring it.  Our society is plagued with bullies.  My husband sees it at school every damn day, and it's not getting better, it's getting worse.  And then the parents come in because the kid is in so much trouble that they have to come in to meet with "the team", and the mother, father, or both, ususally act like the kid does.  I stood by my car once when my daughter was in kindergarten and watched an older girl run up behind her and slam her violin case into my daughter's head.  I chased the bitch down, pinned her up against a tree, and told her I was getting her kicked out of the school.  By the time I was done with her, she was a whimpering idiot, who, by the way, never bothered another soul.  And over the years, I should have been a good Christian, but I was not, and she'd try to talk to me, or smile at me, or whatever, and I just ignored her.  Make a mama bear mad, and things ain't pretty.
TruthR, We never take a passive road where bullies are concerned.  Never.  It causes permanent trauma in victims, and sends future bullies to jail.  Ignoring a bully is the worst kind of parenting anyone can possibly espouse.  What is this, a fight it out scenerio with the meanest bully winning?
As was recently shown about me, our persona, or past, is not easily disguised, and others do indeed take delight in exposing us to others.  We think we are safe online, but the bottom line is, we are not, and we need to be aware of the fact that there are individuals who do get some kind of "buzz" out of exposing us.  And the fact that this kind of bullying happens here without repercussion should give us all pause to think very carefully.  It appears that the posts have been key on "understanding" the person who bullies, and not holding any accountable for those kinds of actions here.  It's not about fairness for all.  It's about who you are friends with.
Would you please quantify your statements "the fact that this kind of bullying happens here without repercussion should give us all pause to think very carefully" and also "not holding any accountable for those kinds of actions here"?  It has not come to my attention that such bullying has happened or been allowed here.  While I don't read every post made on LAM, I have yet to come across anything serious enough to be quantifiable as cyber-bullying.  If you can point me to an example post, I will gladly take it up with the user who posted it.
That is what I am thinking too Bar.

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