We are all story tellers. We tell our stories from our own perspectives. Sometimes our stories can create empathy, sadness, anger or helplessness for ourselves and the listener.
I have met people who are passionate about their stories. One story that comes up many times is when somebody has done someone harm and the one harmed does not wish to see that person any more. Yet, the one who was harmed continuously talks about the person that they hate!
Sometimes we are so entangled in our emotional issues and our suffering that we may not see the most obvious solution. If we hate someone, why do we talk about them so much? If we do not want to see someone at all, why would we place them front and center (mentally or emotionally) by continuously talking about them? What is our outcome by talking about this person so much?
There may be many reasons for constantly talking about this person. Maybe we are grieving the emotional hurt. Maybe we are indirectly punishing our self, by not forgiving the other person (what is worse than remembering someone that you hate every minute of your life?). Maybe we just want to tell our story to get sympathy for ourselves. Maybe our story has defined who we are. Maybe …
In any event, we do not know what the intention of the story teller is. It is unproductive to guess their intention (they may not know either!). In such a situation, sometimes a simple question, “What would you like this hatred to turn into?”, may shift the focus of the story to a desirable outcome. A desirable statement of outcome can be, “I hate him and I choose to forgive him and to live my life with joy and peace.”
In the context of Tending to Your Garden Within, it is important not only to state what a current situation is (there are weeds in my garden within), but state what we choose/wish to turn the current situation into (a beautiful flower bed in my garden within). The poem below conveys this concept further.
Turn Your Attention
Focusing on what has happened
may be a necessary part of our grieving and healing process.
Focusing for a long time
on our grief and hurt
may only reinforce what we are trying to move away from.
State and acknowledge what you
believe the truth of the situation is.
His/her action has hurt me.
Turn your attention toward what
you would like your current situation to turn into.
I forgive him/her and I choose to transform my hurt into
compassion, joy and insight.
Very simple and yet very powerful.
Copyright @ 2011 by Shervin Hojat