Do You Turn The Other Cheek?

The other day something happened that, in the past, would have made me really upset. Mad, sad, resentful, annoyed, something. But for some reason, I didn’t really react, and not because I was trying to be stoic. The normal vein pulsing, stomach-dropping feelings just didn’t present themselves. I’m kind of waiting to see if the other shoe drops, wondering if this sense of equanimity towards the matter could really last. And do I even want it to?

There are different schools of thought on this.

You can practice ahimsa and compassion—see the other person’s suffering, avoid hurting them more at all costs (even if they’ve done you wrong), and all that lofty good stuff. The other? Express your feelings. Don’t bury things. Be hurt, angry, sad, because not only are you entitled to feel a way about stuff, but not expressing it can be damaging to your sense of self, and even to your health.

Typical Pisces that I am, I totally see both sides of this coin! I’ve spent a lot of my life not recognizing how I truly feel, and boy did that behavior bite be in the tush. I definitely believe that owning your feelings, and expressing them somehow to the person who provoked them, can be a healthy thing.

But since I’ve started meditating more of late, I am noticing that I don’t sweat the small stuff as much. I work with an excitable young group, and often feel like the old lady who tells everyone to try to get along. As for this other thing, I just hope that I’m not being self-deceptive, as I once was—but we’re never the best judges of ourselves, now are we?

What’s your take on this? Do you try to be zen in the face of conflicts, or does a healthy dose of expressed anger/sadness/annoyance remind you that your human—and help you move on? The floor is yours, friends.

Comments
8 Responses to “Do You Turn The Other Cheek?”
  1. Rebecca Bailey says:

    Totally depends. I find I am much more zen than in my younger days. But I still can’t abide letting an a-hole get away with being an a-hole. I try to assess what behavior on my part is likely to make me a better person, make the world a better place, help someone else become a better person, etc., and behave that way. I can’t say I’m always successful in manifesting my intention, but I try. Sometimes that means being understanding, and sometimes it means kicking butt (or at least calling out the other person for their behavior).

  2. Alex says:

    Depends- if it’s someone I love in a crappy mood, I try to just let it go. I know I can be snippish at times too ;-P If it’s someone truly saying something unnecessarily cruel or hurtful, I will lay the smackdown. I used to be so scared of people not liking me that I would try to please at any cost, and it still didn’t work anyway… now I just speak up and feel 1000% better. I don’t want to be liked by jerks anyway.

  3. Anne says:

    I’m a big proponent of feeling what you feel. But It’s important to take a deep breath and evaluate those feelings, and make sure we don’t jump to conclusions or do anything rash. I tend to make mountains out of molehills, so I know that if I don’t make myself aware of what if causing me grief, it will all spiral out of control, but if I bury things and try to be too zen, everything bubbles up into a volcano at some point. So I guess mindful feeling is what I’m proposing? Yes. That’s it.

  4. comagirl says:

    Rebecca, I’m with you, but I will add that this is most often a conscious choice and not merely a reaction. Essentially, I don’t believe in burying feelings and emotions, but I’m aware of when my buttons get pushed and choose my response.

  5. therese says:

    I have noticed that I am starting to be able to let things go peacefully. I attributed it to yoga and meditation. I had an incident recently too and was surprised that I was able to walk away calm and not lash out. I think your reaction needs to be based on where the one lashing out is coming from. If they are obviously going through something then nothing you say will help. I agree that sometimes you need to speak out. I am learning to do this from a calm state( very difficult). The proof comes in how you feel afterwards.

  6. Emma says:

    What a great – and timely – post! I just completed my own 30-day meditation challenge, where I practiced at least 30 mins of mindful meditation daily and then added some visualizations on top for the heck of it, and I have to say I surprised myself on two occasions recently, where I would have become truly undone by stressful situations.

    Instead, I felt more aware of where the other person came for, a greater capacity for compassion and a better ability to judge my own self/actions that lead to this situation. I am a big believer that all situations, good and bad, come to us to teach us a lesson. It is in our hands to take the lesson instead of choosing to avoid it, otherwise it will definitely come back again, typically with a vengeance!

    @Alex I was so scared of not being liked too – I would do anything to avoid a conflict and just bury my feelings, or completely flip out months later for no reason. Now I feel the right way is to acknowledge these feelings and be totally conscious about my choice of how to deal with them on the spot. The only challenge is how to express your own anger/sadness/hurt feeling with respect and dignity (\I message\ anyone?!).

  7. christina says:

    one of the best things i learned this year was something Deepak Chopra says: that everyone is on a different level of consciousness. it has really helped me to evaluate things based on that scale. oh, my mom tried to manipulate me into doing something earlier this week? eh, she was doing her best & thought she was helping. i feel compassion for her. my sister stole my pictures and put them on her blog? hmm, kind of irritated, but i’ll share freely & wait to accept what comes my way.

    totally different from my former, “i will kill you all” responses haha.

  8. Faith says:

    Christina – I think what Deepak Chopra says is absolutely true. However it is not an excuse for any kind of behaviour. Life and love are the same thing, it’s you and your perspective alone. Which means that if you always see if from someone else’s point of view you might as well stop existing, because you’ll never get to be you and enforce your existence. Life is duality, good and bad. If you don’t accept the bad in yourself and others you’ll lose yourself guaranteed.

    I have one more point. Turning the other cheek in a sense is a transformative thing. At least if your not just doing it with your head. If you entirely change the way that you are because you’ve felt everything you needed to feel.., that’s when you create more consciousness and that’s when you evolve as a person. Evolving doesn’t mean never being angry again or never feeling sad or anything negative again. The difference is like a metronome; You’ll get to know more and more natural rhytms of who you are and discover you are two sides of the same coin. It’s discovering that life will always begin and end with you. It’s a circle. Life doesn’t begin and end, it’s you, your soul sort of speak.

    Basically if you never tell your mother or your sister the truth; that it did bother you, in a way your not taking them seriously. Being differently conscious of oneself is not a reason not to treat eachother as an equal. And by not telling people how you feel or felt (if you’ve already taken your own lesson from the experience) you take away their chance to speak for themselves, because you’ve already interpreted for them. We are all worth the same but we’re not equal, or something like that.

    Okay, if you’ve made it to the end of my little rant, hopefully some of it makes sense. One more thing; don’t take Deepak Chopra or any other you read about to seriously. He is just like you, just a human being and however smart has, in my opinion, his own lessons he could still learn. He’s not the inventor of wisdom. The wisdom he writes about is also inside of you and everyone else on the planet.
    Every major life question you may ever have, the answer is already there. Where else would the impulse to ask the question come from? Except from the answer.

    Forgive me, if you find all of this rubbish,
    Faith

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