How often do you judge yourself based on other people’s words or behaviors? How often do you adopt other people’s stories as your own? How often do you become part of their problems?
When someone seems to be attacking you or the world, take a look at any assumptions you might be making. Did what that person say or do actually mean what you thought it meant? Remember that we often make assumptions about some person’s intentions or thoughts, which for the most part we can only understand through our own veils of interpretation. If you stopped interpreting for a moment and just sat with your own feelings about you, how would you feel?
Even more importantly, recognize that this is not about you, but them. It’s imperative to realize that people are often too stuck in their own suffering to actually see you or consider your feelings. If you become defensive and angry yourself, thereby making it about you, you add to the aggression, you add to their suffering and you are now suffering yourself. Rather, aim to have compassion for the suffering their experiencing. I know this is difficult. We have natural defenses to protect against attacks. But you getting defensive does neither you nor that person any good. If you stay unmoved in your own self-concept no matter who says or does what, every situation will be easier. I know this is also difficult. So for those of us who are on a Spiritual path, it’s our job as spiritual warriors to determine which exchanges are actually attacks and which are simply an expression of someone’s suffering, fear, and sadness, and then act accordingly.
No one and nothing can say or do anything to take away your essential being. If you feel worse about you, that is YOUR doing. You must own the choice to feel worse about yourself or about the world as a result of adopting someone else’s story. By taking ownership, you realize that YOU have never lost any of your own power or essence, and so at any time you can choose to be compassionate for others and to get back to a state of inner peace and self-acceptance, regardless of anyone else. Don’t take other’s people “stuff” personally. Remember, it’s about them, not you. Only YOU have the power to choose how you feel. Own it and get back onto the path.