Just before Christmas I was having a bantering argument with a friend and he threw the following insult at me:
‘Do you know what your problem is Keren? You just have too much love in your bones’
Best. Compliment. Ever.
Sometimes I sit and wish I was a bit tougher with people, that I could be mean to those that are mean to me, that I could stay angry when I’ve been wronged or that I could dismiss people out of my life when they deserve to be dismissed. I am not a walkover but sometimes, every now and then I wish I could channel my inner bitch a bit better.
The trouble is, grace always wins. And Love. I want to wrap the world up in love and fix its wounds. I want to gather the hurt people and soothe them. I cannot help but be a collector of wounded birds in the hope that I can help fix their broken wings. Maybe it’s the Libran in me or maybe it’s all the yoga.
I am reminded of Yoga Sutra 1:33 and Patanjali’s four keys to happiness. He groups people into four groups, the unhappy, the happy, the virtuous and the wicked. He then offers us four keys to happiness for ourselves, four ways of treating these groups of people that will result in maintaining our own contentment. It’s important to note that people are not always in the same group, we move in and out of them day in, day out.
So the keys…Patanjali says we should be friendly towards the happy people, treat the unhappy with compassion, delight in the virtuous people and show disregard for the wicked.
The key that rings most true to me is treating those in pain and suffering with compassion. This comes up for me constantly, if someone is unpleasant, mean or just plain rude to me my ‘go to’ thought is always ‘wow, their life must be pretty unhappy right now for them to be so bitter/unhappy/cruel etc’. And from that starting point compassion always follows. I truly do feel sorry for people who have such unhappiness in their lives that they go through the day trying to cause others pain (which of course only serves to cause more pain for themselves). I have nothing but compassion for them.
And if a normally happy friend turns into a bitch every now and then, you can rest assured it’s never normally your fault, something is going on in their lives to make them act that way. By choosing compassion rather than reacting defensively, we not only protect ourselves but maybe we can help our unhappy friend.
Of course, this key to happiness applies inwardly as well as outwardly. I’m no saint, I’ve said it before but enlightenment is not going to happen for me in this lifetime and every now and then my shadow side shows itself and act out. It’s usually triggered by fear. Fear of being a single Mum forever, fear of letting someone into my life, fear of not being good enough for Frank, fear of losing myself, fear of falling in love…fear fear fear. When fear takes a grip, this usually shows itself as me being moody, snappy, lacking patience and withdrawing.
So I’m learning how to show the same compassion to myself as I do to others.
This of course takes a bit more work but I can do it, I’ve got too much love in my bones to do anything else.
Happy New Year to you all. Sending oodles of LOVE.