Deflecting Negativity: Behind the Scenes

Yesterday the Universe sent me a test. Or what I presume was a test. I’ve been ruminating heavily on my last article on MindBodyGreen.com “Three Ways to Respond to Negative People” since it was published, and spent a long time contemplating the topic before writing the piece. http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5653/3-Ways-to-Respond-to-Negative-People.html

So when I was approached yesterday, by what I would go so far as to call a “nasty” human encounter, I was saturated in disappointment at how I reacted. I was literally talking myself through the event as it unfolded, I was consciously reminding myself of my own advice and my beliefs…but my thoughts were no match for the situation. It was like my mind’s consoling monologue was being uttered in a gentle, quiet whisper and the situation was shouting over it in a brusque, aggressive tone. It was drowning out my mind’s voice, and I was letting it.

I had the urge to argue with myself, “But this is different, this isn’t just a negative person, this is someone taking advantage of me, this is someone harassing me!” I had the urge to believe those words, when deep down I knew what my advice would be to someone else…does another individual’s (a complete stranger’s, mind you!) unjustified, cruel, emotional persecution of you in the span of a few minutes really deserve your attachment any more or less than someone cutting you off or giving you a dirty look? They’re all the same. Negativity is the same in that it will absorb into your body and become yours if you let it.

I managed not to absorb this person’s negativity but I did allow myself to become overwhelmed with sadness at such a poor show of human nature. I felt harassed. I felt abused. I felt frustrated that someone had just treated me in a way that I’d never dream of treating another person, much less a perfect stranger.

Having slept on it, I see it all more clearly now. I see that I could have embraced that sadness for an instant and then bid it farewell. I could have, but I didn’t. I fought back tears. I held it like a weight in the pit of my chest until I was able to take a break (yes, I was at work, hence the feeling of victimization – no the other individual was not a co-worker but a customer…I feel the circumstances matter far less than the principles of the situation). I feel now that this exchange was sent to me, from the Universe, for a reason. Perhaps it was a test to see if I am as adept at living out my own words and beliefs as I am at preaching them? That sounds a bit condescending and “put your money where your mouth is” but I don’t mean it that way. I mean it in a positive way. As if the Universe is saying to me, “Okay excellent, you get it. Now do it.”

My emotions were complex yesterday. While I feel my emotional vulnerability is partially linked to the coming full moon, which I’m grateful for, I feel this happened yesterday for a reason. I felt a lot of emotions at once, but I was able to remain fully cognizant of each individual emotion rather than being swept away by the tide of negativity. I felt very aware that I will choose not take a situation to heart like this ever again. I felt sad and hurt, for reasons I’ve already explained. I felt defeated in my quest to deflect negativity, and yet I felt compelled to ride the emotional waves of this situation, somehow knowing valuable lessons awaited me at the end of the ride (aka: this morning). I also felt accepting of my reaction. I accepted the fact that I hadn’t deflected the negativity and that it did not make me a failure.

As my beautiful mother said this morning, “Nobody is an overnight success. Practice combined with awareness changes behavior.”

Practice combined with awareness changes behavior. 

That sounds a lot like how we get stronger in our asana practice. It sounds a lot like how we get better at anything. It sounds like my affirmation for the day 🙂

Let’s not expect ourselves to be perfect and react perfectly to situations simply because our intentions are pure. Pure intentions are the first step. Implementing them through practice and awareness is what makes them evolve and become our natural behaviors. We are works of art, human beings, and we have the power to positively change ourselves, to plant seeds, water them and watch them grow. The secret ingredient is patience. Water those little seeds with copious patience. May we have patience and kindness in dealing with ourselves, and with others, and may we never base our worth on one single experience or one single day. All you can do is…

Be better today than you were yesterday.

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