We all have THOSE PEOPLE in our lives. You know, the ones whose beliefs are different from ours. The ones who are “asleep.” The ones who are judgmental, inconsiderate, angry, pessimistic, self-centered, obnoxious, etc. The ones we don’t understand. The ones we don’t want to understand. We experience their energy like an out-of-tune piano, causing us to feel disharmony, discomfort and sometimes even the physical pain of stress. So how do we deal with THOSE PEOPLE, especially when they’re in our family? Especially at the holidays? Especially when they are people we love?
We can begin by intending to understand that:
- The moment we place someone in a category to which we feel we don’t belong, we have separated them from ourselves, and it is this illusion of separation which causes us to feel disharmony, not the person or their beliefs. Therefore, it is not so much the actions of words of THOSE PEOPLE which is creating the discomfort as it is our labeling of them.
- As different as someone’s beliefs may seem, they spring from the same desires and intentions: to be loved, safe, accepted and cared for. As stated in A Course in Miracles, every action is either an expression of love or a call for it, and that call for love can come from a place of disempowerment, emptiness, and fear which is a place of disconnection with the divine, a place of desperate loneliness. Remembering this can rekindle our compassion.
- We do not have to like someone in order to love them. We do not have to agree with someone in order to show them kindness. And we do not have to resonate with someone’s energy in order to feel the human connection. All beings occupy a sacred space in the rich and varied tapestry of our world, even when we don’t understand the meaning of that space.
- We are not obligated to take on the energy of those with whom we do not resonate, nor do we have to feel responsible for their enlightenment. Our power lies in working in our own energy, standing in our own truth and responding from that sense of truth. The energy we emit has far more influence than the words we say.
- This does not mean that we need to be passive and silent in the face of abusive or hurtful behavior. Standing in our truth means using our greatest spiritual gift of free will to discern what we will allow and how we can best respond in a way which honors us as divine beings. Saying “no,” speaking our truth and refusing to engage in that which hurts, dishonors and disrespects us or others can be the ultimate form of self-love and compassion.
- We can prepare for encounters with those who challenge us by setting intentions, raising our energetic shields, centering ourselves in love and dropping our expectations of how we think someone should act, speak, and behave. We can create a ritual or carry a talisman or crystal in our pocket to remind us of our intentions and keep us grounded. We can ask our guides, angels, and Higher Self to help us respond in a way which is in the highest good of all, and we can remind ourselves to pause and breathe before any response. Then we can plan for some quiet time afterward to nurture ourselves and release any inflamed emotions.
It is true that those who challenge us can be our greatest teachers, and it is also true that as emotional beings we may feel the energy of those challenges in a deeply personal way. Anger, sadness, frustration and grief are not signs of spiritual weakness, they are reminders of our power to choose our responses and return to the energy that animates and balances all things. When you are feeling these conflicting and challenging emotions, when you are unsure of the best way to respond, when you are thinking that there is nothing you can do or say, when you are disappointed, saddened and hurt . . . stop, breathe, and return to the essence of who you are.
Just love them.