This week's post stems from a personal encounter this week. On Tuesday, I had someone spew their pain on me in the most verbally violent way I had ever experienced. It came down to being in the wrong place at the wrong time, which was such an inconvenience to this person, that they attempted to destroy my human dignity using their words alone.
I was in utter shock as there was no way I would've ever anticipated an encounter like this. Afterwards, I felt raw. And unsure what to do with myself to recover. Several days have now passed, the sharpness of the words have faded and space has provided me with the opportunity to employ a few strategies for building myself back up again.
Here are three mind-shifts / reminders / inner actions you can take to lift yourself up and regain your sense of personal worth and integrity after someone desperately tries to take you down:
1. TUNE INTO YOUR INNER SANCTUARY.
Right after this encounter, I felt raw and cut deep. But the depth that these harsh words reached actually gave me access to a deep well of inner resources that I didn't know I had.
I always talk about how we each have an abundance of tools for living, loving and healing within us and I truly believe that. However, this was the first time I ever encountered it on a true experiential level. At a time where someone tried to rob me of my worth and bring me down, I had never felt so valued and lifted up.
I felt an innate sense of love, gratitude, personal beauty, and worth that I knew that no one could touch, no one could break, no matter how hard they tried. I realized that this part of me, this inner sanctuary, was completely unstruck from the recent encounter. Their words did not reach it. Their words did not change it. This part of me was infinitely removed from any efforts to be damaged, hurt or destroyed.
In the yoga tradition, we call this inner sanctuary, Anahata. Anahata is the name for the heart chakra, or energy center located at the heart. It holds and protects the inner light of awareness, purusa, or the thumb-sized flame of the individual soul, atma. Anahata literally means "unstruck" and it is the innate, unchanging part of our being that is unstruck or undamaged by life circumstances.
The Bhagavad Gita says, "Weapons cannot cut this, fire cannot burn this, water cannot wet this nor can wind make it dry."
So when sometime tries to intentionally inflict suffering on you, take refuge in the fact that no matter how hard they try, they will never be able to access or harm the depth of your being.
2. TRY TO ACCESS THE SOFT SPOT.
Pema Chodron says that any experiences or strong emotions you have can become doorways to bodhichitta -- the vulnerable, tender spot beneath the pain. As we begin to track our passing states on the path of mindfulness, we observe that pleasant and unpleasant feelings or experiences are not innately conflicting but rather co-creators that teach and inform each other. Fear gives us access to peace. Grief gives us access to joy.
Whether you are experiencing grief, anger, disappointment, fear, or despair, you can begin to see it as your link to all of humanity. Pema says that we can begin to dwell in the goodness, the sun quality, beneath the turbulent mind.
The trick is to stay with the soft spot and not harden over it. When we get hurt, frustrated or stuck, it is actually possible to touch the soft spot of what it is you're trying to cover over. The anger, rage, frustration, grief, and despair are all mechanisms to cover and protect the bodhichitta: the soft spot, the tender spot, the vulnerable, open heart and loving mind.
3. REMEMBER THAT NO ONE CAN MAKE YOU FEEL INFERIOR WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT.
People can and will say whatever they want. But you get to decide the power their words have in your life and your view of yourself. Of course, it is natural to feel hurt or upset by others speaking poorly of you. However, only you can give them the authority to be right.
So let these encounters serve as reminders to take back your power and define for yourself who you are and what you will or will not tolerate from others. Find your voice and stand up for yourself. Not by putting them down as well. But by simply informing them who you are, that their words have no authority in your life and you will not engage them any further.
3. LET THEIR WORDS REFLECT THEIR CHARACTER, NOT YOURS.
Someone who just verbally attacks you or is spending their time and energy maintaining a personal vendetta against you is suffering far more than the pain they just tried to inflict on you. As much as they will try to make it seem that their ill words and behavior are justified due to something about your character, it truly only reflects their own.
Only a person feeling low and shitty would try to make someone else feel low and shitty. Period.
Yes, no one is perfect. We all make mistakes sometimes that, whether intentionally or unintentionally, inconvenience or hurt others. However, someone's reactivity and conditioned response is always their karma, not yours.
4. DO SOMETHING ESPECIALLY KIND FOR YOURSELF.
It's difficult to recover from someone saying hurtful things to us. And many times they can leave scars. Do something to help you process your feelings and response in a mindful way -- whether it be journaling, meditation, a gentle yoga class -- something kind and healing that holds space for and validates your feelings.
How do you recover from being hurt by others? What techniques help you to recover and hold true to your worth and sense of self?
Remember to head on over to Instagram and post a pic of your #selfcaresunday ritual and tag @jessicayogaguide!
Blessings and love,