Sunday, June 22, 2008

suspicious minds ...

“As human beings we all want to be happy and free from misery… we have learned that the key to happiness is inner peace. The greatest obstacles to inner peace are disturbing emotions such as anger, attachment, fear and suspicion, while love and compassion and a sense of universal responsibility are the sources of peace and happiness.”
~ Dalai Lama

Lotus Pond - Bruno Baumann

The other night after yoga, I was speaking with another student, discussing his hip problems and the spondylolisthesis of my spine and how yoga is so helpful. He told me of a therapist in LA who'd really helped him and that he'd give me the man's number. I thanked him but told him quite honestly that I probably wouldn't drive all the way up to LA and that a friend had recommended someone who was closer.

The man's response: "Well, you must not be hurting that bad if you're not willing to drive to LA."

I thought it was an odd comment at first, and then I gave it my full consideration, thinking about whether there was any truth for me in his observation.

Some might have thought his comment was insulting. This was the first time we'd spoken and he didn't know me or what I've been through with this condition, as well as other pain issues (from fibromyalgia, sciatica, scoliosis, transitional vertebra). Maybe he was being intentionally rude ... or maybe not. I don't know and really what does it matter if he was? The only one who knows the intention behind that comment is him. Any speculation on my part would be just that: speculation.

I'm not big on speculating about other people's motives for doing or saying what they do. I know of people - co-workers, family, friends - who often second-guess other's intentions: "I know that he did that just to spite me." "I know she did that because she wants his money." Uh, no, you don't know.

One person in particular is prone to spinning her theories and suspicions as if they're the absolute truth. When I gently counter with the fact that she doesn't really know, she insists that "well, it's obvious what she was trying to do. Anyone can see that!"

Hmmm ... I think I may be missing the "righteous indignation" gene ...

Have you ever had anyone misread your intentions? I've had a couple of occasions where I've said or done something with the best of intentions ... and later found that the other person assumed something entirely different than I'd intended. I would apologize for any hurt feelings and discuss the issue with a listening heart to both explain my intentions and also to better understand the other's perception.

Many misunderstandings arise from an incorrect perception. I could have perceived the fellow student's comment as rude and thoughtless, but that would be merely my perception, and not his truth, which only he knows.

These kinds of assumptions can really damage a relationship, so I try to never speculate about the intent behind another person's actions. Well, that's not entirely true. I do make one assumption: I always trust first in others' positive intentions. And I hope that others trust in my positive intentions.

I believe that it's very rare that anyone would be intentially malicious and hurtful to a friend. Am I being naive? Maybe. I've been told that I'm too trusting of others. Do I miss signals when someone is truly intending to be rude or disrespectful? Probably so. But what harm is there in that?

If someone is being rude, that's on them and has nothing to do with me or my happiness. I'd rather be naive and trusting in my happy little bubble of bliss than be suspicious and hurt for no good reason other than my own misguided assumptions. I'm much happier feeling that everyone in my circle is a good, kind, loving person and that we all have one another's best interests at heart. It's a nice way to live.



Amber said...

You always write such thought-provoking entries, Rose.

You know, I think this is where tone and body language are so important. Was this guy trying to be rude? Perhaps you could tell in his tone. He actually makes a good point, as you mentioned.

I think you have to find the balance between keeping an open heart and mind and also allowing people to abuse you.

It wouldn't be good if someone constantly heaped rudeness at us and we never drew a boundary for their behavior.

On the other hand, we all know people who are so hyper sensitive and defensive that they actually get off on being offended by everything people say. You can't win with them, so why bother trying?

Thankfully, I think most people fall in the middle. Sometimes we put our foots in our mouths, sometimes we are too sensitive. But by and large, we should try to give people the benefit of the doubt, turn the other cheek and to be sensitive and kind in our own remarks.

PS--Wishing you much relief from your pain! Your peace and calmness through such challenges is so amazing.

dec0r8or said...

Oh, I know that I have been mis-read a number of times! If people don't know me well, and don't "get" me, then it's difficult for them to read what I write and get that I really am a nice person! I'm just a wise-ass! LOL! YOU, however, come off as a sweet, honest, sincere person no matter what, Rose.

I think it's a good thing to assume someone's intentions are good until finding out otherwise. And you are also correct in saying that we just never REALLY know what others' intentions are unless they make them perfectly clear to us. I know that people attatch "stories" to others, while not really knowing anything about them or their lives. I've had this happen to me, and have been shocked at how off-base they are with regards to what my life is REALLY like, or what my intentions REALLY were. So it's a balancing act--reality, and people's perceptions of it. Interesting post, Rose. I wish you continued success in battling your pain as well.

Rose said...

Amber - He has an accent (maybe Russian?) so it may just be that culturally he's direct and says what he thinks without considering the effect? No matter, really. I don't let things like that affect me. Others may heap rudeness on me, but it doesn't matter to me since I don't acknowledge it. Kind of like the old "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" (Can something exist without being perceived?) If I don't rise up and get upset at someone else's rudeness - if I sit calmly and peacefully in my center - does their rudeness exist? It doesn't exist in my heart, although it may in theirs.

Thank you for the good wishes for the pain. Over time, I've found ways to manage it, so it's not as inhibiting as it used to be. A few days ago, it was so bad, I almost took an aspirin, but was able to tough it out. :-)

Rose said...

Sharon - Personally, I totally love a wise-ass! hee! And I know that you're a really nice, loving, generous, creative, terrific person, too. Thank you for the nice words; most people don't really "get" me. I sometimes get the "are you for real?" response from people - lol!

That's such a great point about how others attach their own stories to us, and how truly shocking it is to discover how completely off-base another can be about our intentions. I have a wonderful friend who totally misread me initially and once we had a talk (and tears) we totally broke through the walls of misunderstanding and became good friends. Communication - it's a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rose. Heading out on vacation with in laws, and the timing of checking in here couldn't be better. I'm going to go for living in a bubble of bliss, lots of inner peace and happiness, and ONLY infer the best in others comments and actions. God Bless!

Carol (stewcarol)

nanatrish said...

I think you choosing to think it was not malicious is so positive for you. After all, we cannot control how others act or behave. You are having a very positive spirit by choosing to let it go instead of being down about it. You had some very good insights.
I love your blog and the music.

Lynn said...

It IS a nice way to live, Rose. Thank you for that reminder...I've found myself really needing it lately.
I miss you, your words of wisdom and loving support. Hopefully I'll be back online and not just borrowing a computer once in a while soon.
I'm hanging out at our Stream, waiting to comfort YOU for a change.


Anonymous said...

Hi Rose,
I dont read between the lines. Never have...maybe I lack sensativity? Lack of manners in another person isnt really my problem. Is it? Id have to respect this person and care what they thought of me for their rudeness to hurt. My first response would be excuse me? Gives the person a chance to reword what they said or repeat it. lol!
Having occassional foot and mouth disease happens to the best of us.

I hope your pain is better today. Im sorry youve been suffering.

Sharon...I live with a whole house of wise-ass people. lol!