It’s easy to blame others for our own feelings of discomfort, especially when it seems as though another person’s inconsiderate or poor choices are directly the cause of our suffering. The frustrating truth is that these feelings and reactions are in actuality our own doing and therefore our own responsibility.
That is a tough pill to swallow.
Especially when another person’s words or actions are offensive or cruel. And we as humans can be terrible to each other at times. But in these moments when we feel hurt or hard done by, it is wasted effort to try to transfer or infuse our own pain to the person we have decided is the cause. It will never work. We may succeed in making another person feel some guilt, shame or even remorse, but this is not the salve to heal our own wounds.
This is an important topic to me. I’ve wasted precious time and energy on fighting for the principle of the matter. And even the few times where I could say I won, I lost. I lost my time and a bit of my sanity, and I got nothing truly valuable in return.
If there are people in your life that constantly leave you feeling angry, hurt or betrayed take this as an invitation to lovingly let go of the relationship as it is. You can and should continue to love those dear to you but it’s okay to stop putting yourself in positions where you constantly come out hurt and frustrated. It’s okay to take a hard look at your relationships and say, it just isn’t working. From this point comes the real opportunity for growth and reward. The relationship can now end or it can evolve. Either way, we get to sit in the driver’s seat of our own emotional wellbeing and this includes cultivating loving and equitable relationships that are worth our energy.
Intuition is a seemingly innate ability to sense a correct course of action without any supporting evidence. Statements such as I just knew are often associated with decisions attributed to one’s intuition, but I’d argue against doing so without considerable reflection. Not because our gut feeling might be wrong, but because I doubt the existence of intuition.
I feel that we are shaped by so many different experiences and interactions that it is hard to be completely conscious of them all. I believe what we often credit as intuition is actually a subtler example of learned behavior. Perhaps we experienced a negative interaction at some point with someone wearing an orange shirt. We may not even realize it but our brain has probably held onto that information and the next time we see someone wearing orange, our body gives us a sense of insecurity that may feel as though it is without cause, and thus attributed to intuition, but is in fact because of our past experience. This is more a shaped instinctual response than anything mystical.
Why does this distinction matter? I think we should care because it is easy to get on automatic pilot and react without much reflection or consideration of deeper pulls for our knee jerk decisions. We may miss exciting opportunities because we are trusting our guts, when in fact we are letting past trauma and fear steer the ship. Or we put ourselves in harm's way because we just have a good feeling about something, when we are actually allowing something that feels positive like excitement act as the captain because excitement has felt good in the past, and not because we are necessarily making the best decision in the present moment.
This is not an argument against trusting ourselves. Absolutely not. It’s actually a plea to do just that. While I question the existence of intuition in its inexplicable and spiritual incarnation, I wholeheartedly believe in mindfulness and trusting our own goodness. When we can do this, we can push through fear, excitement, lust or sadness, without attaching to these experiences as having deeper meanings in need of blind action. We can open to what is honest and truly in line with our values as interconnected beings. We are open to the input of our thoughts, feelings and emotions, but we see them for the fleeting experiences that they are, rather than allowing them to become erratic and unreliable guides.