Our thoughts have no power until we attach ourselves to them. A street bum whom I did not recognize was rooting around in trash cans outside my apartment today, and when I casually walked past him to my car, nibbling crackers on my way to yoga class, he started saying a string of horrible things in my direction, like f$*k you, you bitch and just went on and on as I was driving away. Just angry, terrible things.
And I thought at that moment, I had a choice: (1) I could attach myself to the words he was saying and start to analyze them…maybe I should have looked him in the eye, maybe I am a bitch, was I being a bitch? Am I a horrible person? OR, (2) I could just disregard his words immediately & completely, knowing that his issues were his issues, and they had nothing to do with me, and he was just choosing to be angry and wicked.
I chose the second route and peacefully drove off to my yoga class. There was a sprout of sympathy and concern I felt for him, but mostly just disregard. It is nice to have that tool in your back pocket of not taking everything that happens to come in your direction too seriously. What if he wasn’t really talking to me? I would have agonized for nothing. What if I reminded him of his ex-wife who took everything he owned? Again, nothing to do with me.
We have a choice to involve ourselves or not to get involved with the thoughts and ideas that enter our own brain. Many of the things we perceive end up getting twisted in our thoughts and mental analysis, or are immediately shaded by paradigms we developed as children that aren’t necessarily valid anymore.
We can immediately act on our thoughts, or we can realize that a thought is just a thought until we decide to do something or feel some way about it, and NOT necessarily a truth, or a thing worth our time, energy, or focus. What is your peace of mind worth? What do you take seriously?
Bozeman has left me feeling the same way. People want to be rude and act as though you are their problem, when really they must be incredibly unhappy and insecure in order to have convinced themselves that they are somehow better than I am. My friend in Billings is always angry when she goes out into public because people tend to say nasty things or scowl at her, but I had to laugh about it because it is their choice to be so angry and if they could just figure out that life is much better when you find peace with yourself, they wouldn’t act the way they do. You can’t controll or make everyone happy, so I don’t worry when I smile at people and they just look the other way anymore. Unless they do not have a conscience then my smile should have some effect on them. And that’s all I can do.
Thanks for the insight, Jewels. I had another thought along these lines…If you have to try so hard to keep a random street bum from disturbing your peace, how much harder is it to keep someone you see every day, and love and care about from disturbing your peace? But it is still just as important, if not more important to be real yet not to overeact to things our loved ones say or do.