Sometimes when you see yourself suffering — you’re angry, you’re resentful, you’re frustrated, you’re irritated, you’re offended — it’s easy to see the suffering …
But it’s hard to let go, because you believe it’s the other person’s fault.
Imagine someone has done something very rude, inconsiderate. They should know better, right? You’re angry/offended now, which is suffering … but the suffering isn’t your fault! Why should you let it go when you’re right, and the other person is at fault?
You let go, because not letting go only adds to your suffering.
I know, easier said than done. But it’s a good thing to remember: the other person cause you harm, which you are unhappy with, naturally. That’s the first hurt. Then you hold onto that hurt, wish it didn’t happen, wish the other person would see the wrong of their ways and apologize, wish the other person could feel bad or be hurt in return. This is continuing suffering, that you’re causing yourself by holding onto the offense. This is the second hurt, and it’s actually much worse than the first hurt.
You’re causing yourself much more suffering, by holding onto the offense, than the person caused you in the first place by their wrong action.
Knowing this doesn’t make it easy to let go, but it’s a start. By seeing the harm you’re doing yourself, you might be more motivated to try to let go.
What helps me is to put the offense from the other person in persepctive.
Here are some things to consider:
- The other person is suffering, and this is why they did the offensive act. When someone is rude, they are having a hard time, and are acting badly because of loneliness, sadness, anger, irritation or other suffering.
- The other person acted badly, but we all do that. We all make mistakes, act out of irritation, act without thinking. You do it too, so being empathetic with the other person’s actions is helpful.
- In the big picture, this little offense means very little. It certainly means less than your happiness, and probably less than your relationship with the other person.
- The other person is just trying to be happy, just like you. You both want to be happy in this world, and are doing your best you know how. The other person acted badly but it’s consistent with what makes him/her happy.
- From your perspective, the action doesn’t make you happy … but instead of seeing it from your perspective, try to step out of yourself and see it from the other person’s side. How could this have been consistent with them trying to be happy and do good in the world?
- Try not assuming bad intentions. Assume good intentions. How does that change your perspective?
- The other person’s actions probably have very little to do with you. We tend to read things in terms of ourselves — why is he doing that to me, doesn’t she care about me, why can’t he do it the way I want? — but the other person is thinking about himself/herself. He’s probably not trying to offend you — you’re only reading it that way.
A lot of this means stepping outside our small view of the situation, and getting a bigger view. Seeing things from the big picture, or seeing things from the other person’s view.
When we are in a small view, it’s easy to get caught up in the offense of anything … but the big view lets us see things calmly and without getting caught up. We can watch the events float by like clouds, not having any particular meaning, maybe even a little beauty. With this way of looking at things, we can find peace.