Right now I’m feeling left out. Some friends of mine planned something and I didn’t get included. My name wasn’t mentioned when it came to setting a time to get together, etc. It hurts, feeling left out, and that’s ok. Me denying that it hurts won’t make it less painful. Now, reading into things here is the thing to refrain from. I don’t know why the others didn’t include me and jumping to conclusions like “they don’t like me” or “they don’t care for me”, is neither helpful nor necessarily true.
To have this not eating away at me and my fantasies run amok I acknowledge that this hurts. I acknowledge that I don’t know why this happened and that it serves me and everyone else best if I just let go of my hypothesis. I notice them come, I choose to let them go.
I then decided to reach out to one safe person in the group. Telling him I needed to share this so I wouldn’t isolate in my hurt, making it even harder to reach some sort of conclusion. Not reaching out to make the feeling go away necessarily, but to again acknowledge that this is going on. And now I’m writing about it. Writing about hard things helps me put them in perspective; that yes, this is what occupies me right now, but it probably won’t be that way soon, something else will have happened. Feeling hurt is just another facet of the human experience, this too shall pass.
This way of approaching things, whatever they may be, is inspired by the Zen peacemakers’ Three Tenets (originally formulated by Roshi Bernie Glassman in 1994): Not knowing, Bearing witness and Taking action. I like to think about Taking action as Compassionate action.
Not knowing: we don’t know all possible perspectives of how and why things came to be. It is helpful for me to think that it is very likely that the thing that happened is not personal when I feel hurt. At the same time, my perspective is as valuable as anyone else’s. To go into things with the attitude of “it is probably not personal” is not the same as “my perspective is not valid”. It is valid, and so I everyone else’s.
Bearing witness: this, what is going on inside and outside me, is going on. There might be more to it. There might be others suffering. There might be dire consequences. I choose to hold it all in my heart.
Compassionate action: I choose to take action compassionately, whether it is responding immediately with force or seemingly not doing anything. Sometimes bearing witness and realizing we can never know the full picture is compassionate action. In this instance with me feeling hurt, I chose to reach out to a friend and to take the time to process it in writing, reminding myself that “this exists too” and is part of my experience today.
“Just like that” (eye roll) I find myself in a different space. The echoes of hurt still linger in my awareness but there is also gratefulness. I’m thankful for me taking the time to acknowledge this, being curious about it and compassionately helping myself go through it. I’m grateful for my friend who lent his ear to me. I’m also grateful for life, the universe, or whatever label it might go under, that keeps providing me with the life lessons I seem to need.
Today I was hurting. Tomorrow it might be someone else. I find these tenets helpful no matter what situation I’m facing really. Maybe they can be helpful for you too?
Originally posted on the 8th of January 2023.