What do you do when someone slaps you in the face?
I hope you are enjoying this lovely fall day. I just got back from New York City where I attended a conference with inspiring speakers and a fantastic audience. I was also able to experience New York for its heart – its ability to come together in the hardest of times.
People are good.
And whatever we can do to support this area in this time of need is a reflection of our abundant love.
Ruminating on how people are good almost instantly brings up scenarios in my mind where people have treated me in ways that sucked for me (my mind trying to disprove my hearts wisdom… annoying!)
It got me thinking about Don Miguel Ruiz’s brilliant writings on not taking things personally. It’s such an essential practice if you want to be happy. When I was first exposed to this idea, I understood it and agreed with it, but still only practiced it about half of the time.
Luckily, I’ve been given a great teacher who exemplifies this practice so elegantly that I’ve been inspired to integrate it more fully into my life. And no, it isn’t one of the brilliant speakers at the conference I attended or a spiritual guru. It’s my four year old daughter, Sabina.
Let me tell you a story.
Once, Sabina and I were at the playground. She was totally absorbed in her play, climbing on the play structure, going down the slides, and hanging on the bars, when another girl came over and slapped her on the face. They didn’t know each other, there was no conflict – just smack! – and then she ran away. I was shocked! Sabina was hurt.
Sabina came over to me crying, and after I cuddled her up in my arms and she stopped crying, I asked her what she thought about that. She said, “I wonder what her problem is?” And not in that snotty, “What’s HER problem?!” kind of way, but an innocent, curious inquiry. Like, what is going on with that girl that would cause her to want to hurt me?
I was amazed that her reaction was so different from what my reaction would’ve been. If it had happened to me, I would’ve thought, “Why doesn’t she like me? What did I do?” It was a moment of pride for me, as well as a huge aha. I got it.
When someone causes you pain on purpose or unintentionally, it isn’t because there is something wrong with you, it’s because something is going on for them. You don’t have to take it personally. In fact, taking it personally is kinda silly.
So the next time someone unfriends you on Facebook, or scolds you in a store, or puts salt in your bed, or sugar in your gas tank, or gives you a wedgie, remember, it’s not about you, my dear.
This week I want you to practice curiousity about what may be going on for other people. Can you do that? Let me know how it goes.