Yesterday was an incredibly chaotic day in my world. Despite the tragedy in Connecticut, I found the chaos in my own world a more immediate thing to be able of effect. One of my co-workers has been having a difficult time within the past few months finding her equilibrium in her changing work environment. She is a lady in her 50's and she's been with the company for close to two decades and, though she won't admit it, she loves drama above all else.
So, she and I were sitting in the break room at lunch, just the two of us and she was fussing about the other people in the office. This is a normal thing for her. She uses her lunch break to decompress from the morning drama. However, yesterday, she was especially agitated. So, I opened myself up and began grounding her and asked her what was wrong. At this, she began a full on play-by-play of how there was a conspiracy to get her fired or moved from our office. It was everyone else's fault and they were all out to get her. The usual stuff. Then, I asked her, what had her so agitated. Once again, she started talking about everyone else.
At this point, I stopped her. With a gentle smile, I said, "You aren't answering my question. What's got YOU so upset?" This caused her to pause for a moment before she went on projecting her feelings on to everyone else again. I let her get these things out for a few more moments and I stopped her again.
We talked about perception and how we can see the exact same thing and take away from it something completely different because of our unique perception of this world. We talked about how our patients, sometimes, report that we aren't nice to them because we don't cave to their demands. We talked about not putting stock in others opinions of us. We talked about how to disengage ourselves from the negativity (or perceived negativity) of our environment.
Then, we began talking about peace, inner peace manifesting in our outward world. I asked her, "Do you know why everyone around here loves me and thinks I'm the most wonderful thing to walk into this office?" (This opinion seems to be the general consensus at the office and in administration and I find it quite silly, honestly.) She had no answer and was puzzled, I think, by my question. I smiled at this, because even she is among the people who think this.
I told her that people thought this of me, not because I work so hard and not because I am so wonderful. I said, "They think this because I come to work and put my chin on my chest and I do my job. I'm not here to impress anyone. I'm not here to make friends. I'm not here to engage in politics and take sides. I'm here to do a job for which I was hired. Others opinions of me don't matter, unless it is directly related to the job I'm doing and the job I'm doing is less than expected of me and then I need to be told, so that I can correct the mistakes. I come in and simply do what I do."
Her surprise was quite evident. She asked a few questions and I answered her as best I could. She wanted to know HOW I could simply disengage as I do. That is the moment we began speaking of finding inner peace.
I explained to her that I don't put stock in many people's opinion of me. I know that I have friends who are in my life forever. Their opinions matter. It's not my co-workers opinions because I may or may not be around them for years and years to come. They may or may not cement a place in my circle and become people who truly matter to me. I take them as they are, flaws and all. I don't make it my personal quest to change them because no one can change you but yourself. I take nothing personally. If I screw up, take acknowledge it and take my ass chewing like a champ and then make the appropriate changes and move forward.
I told her that I know who I am and I am, mostly, at peace with that. I confessed to her that I have more days than I'm willing to admit that I'd rather stay in bed and cry than be around people. I have to make myself smile because we all have days where it's either laugh or cry and laughing is so much better for us. She understood that statement. I also said that finding that inner peace and that equilibrium wasn't about a specific religion or practice, and that I'd found it to be more about what works best for the individual person, so what works for me, might not work for everyone else.
I also let her know that it had taken me years, literally, to find my own peace and ability to disengage. And, when we find and practice that inner peace and disengaging, sometimes we find our compassion. When we aren't personally invested in another person's problems, we can see more sides of the issue than simply their own. We can be compassionate toward their plight, their feelings, and their perspective without feeling their own feelings of injustice and negativity.
So much of this world is about putting other people down to raise our own self esteem. It is about using their problems against them instead of being compassionate toward their perspective on things. It's about shunning those who are different, grouchy, or who appear unlovable. Often we forget that there are times we are all unlovable. We forget that we all get grouchy. Because of this trend toward the negative, toward kicking someone when they are down, we live in a world that is intimately connected and yet vastly lonely. We hear without listening. We speak without compassion. We feel without truly feeling.
Change begins on the inside. It begins by accepting ourselves for who we are, seeing our own flaws and being okay with them, but acknowledging we have to work toward changing them. When we are compassionate with ourselves, when we love ourselves, that caring overflows and manifests outwardly. When we find peace within our own being, we find peace outside and in our world. How will you begin manifesting change within your own world? Will you begin today?
May the light of a thousand suns shine in your soul and may a thousand years of peace fall upon your heart. Brightest blessings my friends!