I like to consider myself a kind and caring individual with a lot of wonderful qualities. I would also go so far as saying that I’m a very aware kind of person—alert to any dangerous ego imbalances. I spend time “working” on my principles of body, mind, spirit balance and I follow a daily practice that keeps me on track. So, it was quite a blow when I realized with that really icky feeling in my gut that I’d acted totally inconsiderately…to one of my best friends no less! Here I was concentrating on how someone over here who I feel had really wronged me and you have no idea how inconsiderate and hurtful they had been (this was the running tape in my mind) when all along I was mirroring that behaviour towards a close friend of mine. For shame.
It really hit me like a ton of bricks. I won’t lie when I say I probably looked like one of those gaping-mouthed morons that says, what are you talking about—ME???!! I was not called out by anybody except for the very merciless Universe (in other words you are the only one in the room and all arrows point straight into your shocked face). When those aha moments come at you they really zoom in on the bullseye. After I’d recovered from the dizzying notion that I had acted without regard to someone’s boundaries and generosity…ok lets just say I bulldozed right through them…I felt sick. How could I call myself a spiritual and aware person when I acted this way?
This is when my awareness expanded. Here are some ways I took the opportunity to see what was presented to me, so that I could work towards remedying the situation.
- I threw out the idea that I don’t make mistakes.
Of course I know this, but sometimes I skate along nicely for a good long time under the false impression that I’m really gonna make it through without hurting others, screwing up or creating conflict. I’m like phew! I’m past the point of no return! Nice try. Life is about living in awareness when hurt, conflict or upset comes along-not foolishly trying to eliminate it altogether.
- I felt all the ickiness.
I allowed myself to feel ashamed and embarrassed for what I had done. I allowed myself to feel angry for not seeing it. I allowed myself to feel that I had acted like a jerk. However, I did not tell myself I was no good or unworthy or banished for life to the ends of the earth. I have learned that the best place to start being compassionate is within ourselves. Accept and acknowledge your mistakes, but don’t crucify yourself for them.
- I asked for help.
Whether you call it your Higher Self, the Universe, Source, Higher Power—whatever way you say it—this energy is there to help us. I poured out my feelings about how I’d acted. I asked to see what I needed to see out of this scenario and also what my next action step should be. A good place to start is always an apology—to the person effected and to yourself (for acting out of integrity).
- Then I took action. I put into motion a plan to remedy the situation. Sometimes there is really nothing to do except to fully accept the circumstances and to love yourself anyway. In other words forgive yourself and respect the person for their reactions. Maybe it’s not all warm and fuzzy and they are really angry with you or don’t want to interact with you for awhile. Acting out of integrity means allowing others to have their own feelings and respecting them for it. We can’t control others and we certainly don’t want them to feign niceness out of any sense of obligation or falseness. We can be grateful for an honest reaction. It allows us to realize where we stand.
The bottom line is that even if our own icky actions catch us unawares, it’s alright. Beautiful lessons and expansion can occur if we are willing to face ourselves and bravely admit our failings. This takes courage and dignity. In the end, you will grow from it and hopefully recognize when you are driving off the road for a time. I am personally grateful that my friend is very aware herself and that we will build a stronger foundation for future adventures in friendship.