Until the whole world is free to agree with you or disagree with you, until you have given the freedom to everyone to like you or not to like you, to love you or hate you, to see things as you see them or to see things differently — until you have given the whole world it’s freedom — you’ll never have your freedom.”
Until you decide that you’re going to allow others to live the way they choose to live and you’re not going to interfere; when you discover that you’re willing to let everyone off the hook; when you discover that you can feel good because you can focus your mind in a way that does feel good — you will consciously give yourself the key to freedom you’ve been looking for. Those around will feel better too because when they discover that you’re not holding their behaviour responsible for the way you feel, a big weight will be lifted from them and they will want to be with you more.”
Let’s get real here. When it comes to the general population it’s relatively easier to give them this kind of freedom. Yet how easy is it to give the person you live with, your life partner, this level of freedom?
It’s something I’ve grappled with for a long time. Of course I’d like to be able to say I give this kind of freedom to the partner I share my life with, yet the truth is, when his choices and actions directly impact me because we live in the same space, or raise children together, or whatever other way our lives are intertwined — it can be one of the most challenging things ever!
When I don’t see eye to eye with people in general, it’s easier to say “let’s agree to disagree”, because we go our separate ways. It’s not in my face all the time.
When I don’t see eye to eye with the partner I live with, I can’t just walk away. And when one of us is in a bad mood and we’re not on our best behaviour, sometimes you can’t get away from that either.
Mutual respect is obviously important. The other part of this is to stop taking things personally. Easier said than done, right?
The real message here is: master the art of no longer taking things personally. It’s the journey to ultimate freedom and inner peace.
Stop taking things personally.
How do we do this?
It’s about realising that not everything is about us. People have their own stuff going on, and for the most part, they’re more often thinking about themselves than they are about you.
They may be reacting from their own pain inside them that they haven’t dealt with yet. If we can recognise this, then it’s easier to have compassion for that person — and avoid taking it personally.
Or they could just be in a bad mood, and you happened to be in the firing line. Everyone goes through bad moods, it’s part of being human.
And sometimes we behave in ways that we wish we could take back. If we know that we do this sometimes ourselves, then it can be easier to see that happening in someone else. It means we can know it’s just a bad mood — and avoid taking it personally.
Quite simply, if we know we’ve done nothing “wrong” in a situation, it usually comes down to one of those two things: the person is coming from a place of unresolved “pain”, or it’s simply a bad mood.
Next time someone upsets you, and you start to take it personally, see if you can stop yourself and see where that person might be coming from? Is it possible that it really is nothing personal against you, and that it’s more about them?
DISCLAIMER: What I’ve written here is information in general. It’s important to use your own discernment about acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, and who you will and will not share time with. Sometimes there are people we have to be around because of work or family obligations, and this is when this kind of approach can be applicable.
Like I said though, use your own discernment about who you share time with.