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Someone dis’d you on Facebook. You feel angry, upset, disrespected, exposed. How do you respond? Your choice can either fuel the fire or have a huge, positive ripple effect, possibly even touching people and places you’d never imagined. In my last post, I talked about how words can emit energetic violence. I’m back on the topic to stress what an enormous effect being really honest and vulnerable can have on ourselves and the world. If someone around us is negative, we have a choice; we can either react with indifference, more negativity, or love and compassion. Each choice creates its own energetic wave that carries with it our intent.

So what do you really want to do? And what does it take to truly send love and compassion to those who have hurt us? This is where the vulnerability part comes in; it can feel pretty scary to let people know how we’re really feeling, especially when someone’s been less than kind.

It’s no joke

If we see, read, or hear something that we deem to be offensive or hurtful, we have a choice as to how to respond. We could make a joke that belittles the other person. We could use a derogatory label such as “hater”, and tell her where we’d like her to go. We could counter with an insult or image that attempts to make the other person look foolish. We could use sarcasm or even jokingly threaten violence. Any of these things could be construed as funny by some people. But there is an old adage that says, “Behind every jest is a grain of truth.” To me, this implies that often these jokes are cover-ups for our true feelings of anger, sadness, unworthiness or fear. I know this to be true, because I’ve experienced it myself.

If we react to a hurtful comment or situation by fueling the fire with more insults, jabs, and jokes, we’re adding to the negative vibe instead of transmuting it into something better. Is it really possible to transform a bad experience into a positive one? And can we change the ripple effect we’re creating? Absolutely. All it takes is a deep breath and a leap of faith. And with practice, it becomes easier and begins to feel more natural (and less scary)!

In the words of Jackie DeShannon: I hope when you decide / kindness will be your guide

What would it mean for us to refrain from using labels, to stop making retaliatory remarks, or even to come right out and admit that we’ve been saddened or hurt by another person’s words or actions? Do you think it is possible to do this with love and kindness not only for the other person, but also for ourselves? Can I share my anger or injury in a straightforward way without feeling “less than” or feeling like I am overly-exposed? Yes, sometimes it’s scary, and sometimes we get hurt. But the truth is, each and every one of us has within us a foundation of peace, love, and compassion. Sometimes I fear exposing myself because I forget that through all of that “raw” material just underneath my skin, there is a core that can’t be shaken by anyone. If I can remember this, I can forgive anyone – even myself – and respond with an open heart.

Of course, I won’t do it perfectly. So I will keep trying, stumbling, and getting back on the compassion wagon. And I will keep reminding myself of the words of the Dali Lama: “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

Cheers to the possibilities!