My life seemed to be going well.
Until, one day I was abused, persecuted, bullied, thrown out, crucified. It happened overnight—I was never given the option of a defence, nor an explanation.
Since then, I’ve had time to reflect and develop a deeper understanding of the experience; I have some theories and thoughts I would like to share.
I created my enemy as much as my enemy created me.
Hatred is a context for illusion and for suppressed fear and anger to express itself. Every path takes the ‘hater’ back to himself.
It’s impossible to hate something unless we disown it. We fear what we hate and we hate what we fear. Hate and fear are not so far apart. Unlike love.
I’ve felt hatred; I’ve been hated before. My enemies never gave me the gift of explaining their hatred.
Was there reason to hate me so much—I’m not the kind of person who usually inspires such strong feelings of malevolence?
I didn’t know how to cope with it.
What could I have done that was so bad? I couldn’t think of a single specific example. My conscience was completely clear. Undoubtedly there was some reason why someone hated me? I couldn’t find it.
Then again, did it have to be based on hate? Or rather, jealousy, feeling intimidated, being made a scapegoat? Or projection? Something about me ignited negative feelings. They wanted to impeach me. Once we are treated with suspicion, nothing we can do can ever be right again. Beliefs are everything. Scientists have repeatedly proved the power of belief in how we make decisions and relate to other things and people.
For instance, if there’s a $200 price-tag on a pair of jeans, the majority of people will find something in those jeans to focus on that is luxurious. Present them with the same pair of jeans with a $20 price-tag, and they will see and experience (and choose to focus on) something completely different. It’s the same with how we treat people. If someone is the CEO or a celebrity, we will tend to focus on very different elements compared to a lowly pageboy or girl Friday.
Did I just have the bad fortune to be caught up in someone’s projection?
Projection intrigues me. Whatever I am presents a mirror for others to see themselves. So if they react to me, or over-react to me, something in me has triggered something inside of them to be addressed, to be looked at. It doesn’t necessarily reflect anything to do with me at all.
I have never felt that I created much jealousy, as I’ve never felt that I have really succeeded at anything. Well I’ve had small successes, but nothing I considered major. God knows what others see in me and if others are jealous? Who defines success? Is it really my business?
Only when it affects my life.
Since I’ve called it into my experience—there must be something there for me to learn about myself, too. Nothing happens accidentally.
Cruelty is a horrible thing—and, we can all be very cruel. We can make one pay for one’s sins not only by accusation, but by demonstration. And then, perhaps worse, by judgement, by reputation. That’s why accusing someone of something is so damaging—it can go way beyond the supposed crime itself.
“True injustice is paying more than once for each mistake.” ~ Miguel Ruiz
In this scenario, I did nothing untoward. Yet, I questioned myself, I questioned everything (even God). Was there something I had done “wrong”—could I have done it differently?
I have come across some who, in retrospect, envied me/were intimidated by me—their behaviour defied logic. Since I couldn’t find any reason for it, it seemed to be ruled by irrationality. Is it my authenticity that offends people the most? Is it my truth, my vulnerability, and the deepest part of me, my essence, that peeves people? Authenticity in another can confront a person to the core.
(I don’t claim to be perfect of course!!!)
I did have a particularly bad series of incidents which affected me deeply, painfully and it even tarnished my reputation. We can all spread hearsay, rumours, gossip at a drop of a hat. Our society doesn’t naturally have an in-built filter for gossip and plain slander, even the media reports accusations as if they have happened.
One may see something in another, that really is holding up a mirror for one. An analogy: A thief may see the thief in other people.
It is self-justifying; it makes him feel better when he sees other people steal; a person with suppressed homosexual tendencies may persecute somebody who is openly gay.
We like to have a scapegoat.
What do I conclude? How others behave is not all about me. At times, it has little to do with me at all. I may just have got in someone’s way, or caught them at a bad moment. Their attention was more likely placed on themselves, or on their difficult teenager at home, or philandering partner.
“Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”
~ Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
Ultimately, I can only attend to myself. I’m only responsible for my own behavior, not the behavior of others and certainly not, how they react to me. It is “I” who has been abusing myself. My true enemy is myself. Who or what is the true enemy—my reflection?
If there is something to hate in myself, I will find something to hate in others. I am the enemy I’ve feared. I am the only one I’ve been waiting for to heal, and cleanse away the hatred I feel. I am responsible to release myself, to liberate myself from myself.
I have the ultimate freedom to accept and love my reflection unconditionally.
“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
People hurt based on their wounds inside. We punish ourselves and find ways to suffer to prove that we deserve to feel the pain. I judge myself just as much as I judge others for not being good enough.
“The moment you see how important it is to love yourself, you will stop making others suffer.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
If I can learn to accept and love myself with all my imperfections, then it will naturally expand to accepting and loving others’ imperfections. Then the cycle of human suffering ends with me. I am the cause and creator of suffering. I am the cause and creator of my enemy. I am the cause and creator of healing, love and acceptance.
“Where there is hatred, let me sow love.”
~ Francis of Assisi
Inside me is a universe; inside me is the sky; inside me—the freedom of my heart. I choose to love myself.
All my suffering brought me to this point. I am finally home.
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