It is said that when things happen that harm us, it is our own past karma catching up with us. Causes and conditions – the law of the universe. You know, what goes around, comes around. Just lately and in the last few years I have felt the sting of people I have confided in sharing my personal message with others. By this I mean that I have spoken or written something to somebody in confidence and they have chosen to share this message with others which has, in turn, damaged my relationship with those others. This has played out at both a personal and professional level. It really, really hurts because third parties misconstrue the message and formulate an opinion about me that is, I feel, not correct. Try as I may, once these third parties have formulated an erroneous opinion of me, there’s no changing their mind. It’s like you can’t change a first impression. Has this ever happened to you?
The reason I’m writing a blog about it is because it has affected the trust I have in people and this makes me slightly melancholy. I want to be open about my thoughts and feelings, express how I feel from my side, however, after being stung by the tentacles of disloyalty, I find myself holding back and not being so forthcoming. It’s like I’m always slightly protected, slightly on guard, not sure if I should speak up or not for fear of the consequences. Whatever we say or do these days out loud, on Facebook, on any type of social media can, and will be used against us.
What this has taught me is to try and guard what other people tell me; to hold their words in my vault and to keep them there for all eternity. When people realise that what they say to me will go no further, they develop a relaxed trust. This is priceless. I’ve seen relationships between friends and family members disintegrate because one person has chosen to share a confidential message with others. It leaves such a sour taste in the mouth because, like I said, you become overly cautious about what you can and can’t say to this person. So, you may be thinking, well, just be careful about what you say and keep your thoughts to yourself. Right, you mean live with my 80% filter on? I could, I guess, but that’s not how I want to live. I want to share thoughts, feelings, concerns with others …..
This topic becomes very pertinent during separations or divorces. Suddenly, the whole world knows all the things that your partner has ever said or done that you found hurtful and unacceptable. Friends start to take sides. People formulate a delusional opinion about you and the situation. Of course, when these words or actions are taken out of context, they are distorted and dangerous. We’ve all seen movies where people are in court and the lawyer will ask the one in the witness box whether he/she said x or not. The person being questioned always wants to supply some context but the lawyer cuts them off and says, just answer the question, “yes or no?” So frustrating!
In my training as a marriage and funeral celebrant, which I just completed (yippee), I recently had to write a Renewal of Vows Ceremony for a married couple. This couple had been married for 8 years, had a 5 year old son and then the female left the marriage and lived with another guy for 18 months. The married couple afterwards reunited and the ceremony I had to write was to strengthen their commitment to one another and celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary. I was told in the brief that the husband’s family had still not forgiven the wife for leaving the relationship. This is the sort of stuff that causes feuds for generations. Sometimes, it feels kind of delicious to hold a grudge, have you noticed?
We are human, and we all have opinions about pretty much everything in life, don’t we. Opinions about ourselves, about others, about what I eat, what you eat etc. etc. etc. No wonder I wrote a poem called Opinions in Life’s a Mango. I reckon it would do us all the world of good if we could hold these opinions lightly, like holding sand in your hand with fingers slightly open. Our opinions can damage relationships because we approach the person based on our past experiences and the thoughts, we have of them.
My lesson then? Maybe to approach those who have been disloyal to me as if they haven’t been. Yeah. To see them as afresh, a bit like when we encounter a stranger whom we know next to nothing about, to sit on my meditation cushion and practise forgiveness; forgiveness for that family member’s or friend’s disloyalty but also forgiveness for myself – for all the times when I have been indiscreet and shared words that would have been better off staying in my vault. If I had never, ever been indiscreet then it wouldn’t be coming back to bite me now, would it?
I must be the change I wish to see in the world. Yeah, baby!