We’ve all been there. We’ve all had people around us in our lives who we have found at times difficult to treat as we would like to be treated. Maybe we’ve even felt downright hatred for other human beings on the face of this earth at some point in our lives. Maybe parts of us even feel this way now!
We see it more and more in our immediate environments. There is so much pain in this world right now. Many social divisions are surfacing and unearthing great polarity and division within so many people and within the world as a whole. And there are so many hateful things being thrown around to every type of person, for any reason we could think of.
If you’ve ever read any of the comments sections, tweets, or responses on different public social media, you’ve seen it or have experienced it. And if you’ve ever felt really frustrated by any of the people you see on an everyday basis—coworkers, family, friends, etc.—then you’ve definitely experienced it. We’ve all felt that hostile energy in our lives—either within ourselves about other people, or from others directed at us or anyone else.
So why is it so important to fully feel and then transform these very human feelings? And how can we really accomplish that within our daily lives?
Great questions! ;)
I’m going to base my answers to these questions on a very powerful, basic belief that I have about all humankind. This belief took its roots from my studies of human psychology.
Here’s my basic belief:
All humans have an immense, ever-present potential of inner worthiness, love, compassion, empathy, kindness, abundance, and inclusion within themselves, no matter what ways they may act on the outside.
That means to me that the greater a person’s actions stray away from showing and sharing this immense potential of worthiness, love, compassion, empathy, kindness, abundance, and inclusion, the greater they may likely be denying the existence of that potential within themselves, even if they don't realize they're doing so.
To keep it even more simple, here are some short examples of what people may think or say when they deny this potential within themselves:
“I’m not worthy of my own love.”
“I suck at life.”
“Who cares if I’m healthy? We’re all going to die anyway!”
“I never felt that I was any good at anything.”
“I don’t deserve to receive nice things or favors from others.”
“I hate myself.”
“Other people are so much more deserving than me.”
“It’s not humble to feel that I’m special.”
“Thanks for the compliment, but I can’t accept it.”
“Life is so depressing. Nothing good will ever happen.”
Sometimes when people are in denial of their amazing inherent potential, there is still a deep part of themselves that knows this subconsciously and is angered by it.
But instead of looking inward to transform themselves and accept that potential, they may choose to take out their anger on others, especially others who they feel or see are sharing that similar great potential which they also equally possess. For example:
“I don’t deserve your love. I’m not worthy of your love.”
“That person sucks.”
“Why do THEY always seem to get special privileges?”
“Must be nice to have THEIR life (gifts, money, house, car, etc.). I’ll never have that!”
“Why does everyone care so much about THIS group of people (often a minority)?” (subtext: "Because they're getting a lot of attention, it makes me feel like me or my own groups are not enough!")
“I can’t stand the way she’s acting lately!”
“That person constantly pisses me off!”
“Why do people always treat me like crap?”
Now, these are obviously very general statements, and we’ve all likely thought or said them at some point in our lives. This doesn’t mean that we are constantly unhealthy. We are dynamic beings, after all. Often, we fluctuate in our levels of mental, emotional, and social health. This is normal!
What I’m referring to here is when these kinds of thoughts, feelings, or statements become much more habitual patterns in our lives and then start influencing the way we act towards others and towards ourselves. That’s when our sense of health can really decline.
And that is seemingly what we’re seeing more and more of these days, with people now having quick outlets, such as the ability to make a social media comment or tweet, or the ability to snap at someone in a personal relationship, in order to try to offload their anger, denial, rage, sadness, heartbreak, pain, despair, cynicism, bitterness, etc.
Often, these kinds of actions can naturally trigger any of those same difficult feelings within ourselves, leading us to react or to take them in and saturate our own hearts with similar sentiments.
But in addition to feeling whatever we're feeling and understanding how to healthily release and transform those feelings, there are other ways to handle all of that pain. And one of the ways I’ve found relates directly to actually admitting to and committing to own all of that immense potential for goodness that I believe every single one of us inherently has within ourselves.
If we have the potential to create great pain and destruction, then we have the equal potential to create great joy and love. That’s the potential we can claim within ourselves! And that’s how we can start to find it in our hearts to love all of those around us—even those people who are in the greatest denial of their own goodness.
I want to give you a simple exercise to try out this week. If you encounter someone who really makes you angry, someone who you just can’t seem to forgive, or someone who seems to really be denying their own potential for love—whether that is a particular person in your life directly, a stranger who may be acting rudely, or even, perhaps, someone or some people who have run for high office—here’s what I want to ask you to try. Just for fun. ;)
When you see this person acting in such a way that they are obviously denying their own inherent goodness or attempting to deny or strip another person or group of people of THEIR inherent goodness or love, it's okay if it makes you angry, sad, or upset. And yet, see if you can let yourself envision that love within that person anyway.
Let yourself envision them as if they weren’t acting in the ways that they are at all. Let yourself envision how they could act if they made some different choices. If they owned up to their inherent potential for love and goodness, which is equally as powerful as your own. If they treated themselves and everyone around them with love, instead of any of the ways they may be treating people.
“But isn’t this some crazy form of denial in and of itself?”
Valid question. ;)
My answer is, not truthfully. And here’s why:
That person may never act as you envision them. This is very true. This isn't about denying how they actually are acting, and it doesn't mean that you shouldn't feel angry or saddened by their actions. However, you can acknowledge that they also have the potential to act in love, no matter how they actually act. And just in this very acknowledgement, you are finding that space of equality between you and them.
You are acknowledging that they have the exact same capacity for love and goodness that you also have! And that means that you can love that potential.
If you can really practice coming to love the potential, even in those people you may find it most difficult to love, you can eventually come to really treat them with kindness if you ever do interact with them. Because you can begin treating them based on a huge part of the truth of who you BOTH really are!
This is different from any type of passive-aggressive treatment, where you fake treating them kindly even though you still feel disdain for them. That’s another kind of energy, and that can be felt just as powerfully. This kind of treatment stems from genuine kindness and unconditional love, no matter what they may or may not be able to receive from you or give back to you. And this does take practice. But it's a practice I've found to be totally worth it.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should run out and agree to spend huge chunks of your time with people who seem to be habitually denying their potential and who may continuously treat you in very unhealthy ways. You can still set boundaries in your life, for your own mental and emotional health.
Setting those boundaries may mean that you commit to spending less time with or even completely releasing contact with others who continuously treat you poorly or continuously attempt to offload their pain onto you, even if you’ve tried to communicate your feelings about that to them before.
So now, if you find yourself in a situation where someone acts rude to you, where someone on TV or social media says something really hateful about another person or group of people, when someone just really makes you mad, you can go back to that practice of envisioning them as acting in a much different, perhaps much healthier way. And as you do that, you can love the potential and keep the necessary boundaries so that you can maintain your own levels of health.
As a practice, sometimes I actually seek out these kinds of opportunities purposefully now. (I didn’t start this way! I started with some of the very people in my life who I found it hardest for myself to forgive!) ;)
But now at times, in very limited time chunks, I actually go online and read some of the public comments out there. And with a good sense of boundaries in place, I witness the probable deep fears that some people must feel in order to say some of what they say. I witness the sense of scarcity they must feel, the sense that there isn’t enough goodness, love, or resources for them. I know that for some of them, this scarcity may indeed be their reality. And so I witness the anger, the rage, the jealousy, bitterness, and cynicism. Sometimes I feel angry or saddened by it myself. And after that, I send love.
I see that potential for greatness and love even within those who I can see are the most deeply hurting, even if I don’t know them—because I can sense their pain from what they write. And I send love.
Even so, I’ve created much greater boundaries in my own life ever since I decided to practice owning my own inherent potential for love and goodness more consistently. I hide a lot of things on social media. I don’t watch the morning or the nightly news, even though I still find out things that happen. I’ve lovingly released relationships in my life that consistently began or continued to feel static and in certain circumstances, draining.
I still love those people deeply. In fact, I find that I can feel more love for them now than I could at times when we were in relationship together. Why? Because I am able to envision them as owning the light I truly believe they have within them, no matter how they may have acted towards me otherwise. And I am able to see that same light within myself and to forgive myself for any pain or hurt I may have caused them in the past.
So, how do we love those people we really don’t want to love? Boundaries, and practice! Seeing them with the light that is truly inside of them, just as it is inside of us. No matter how they act, that potential is still there, and it always will be. And so we love the potential, and use boundaries when it feels in our best interests and for our own greatest health to do so.
Why does this matter? Because if more and more of us practiced seeing the great inherent potential and love not only within others but within ourselves, and then treating all people based on the deep understanding of that potential, I believe this world would transform so much more quickly into a much more peace-filled, accepting, inclusive, kind, empathetic, compassionate, and loving world. And isn’t that the kind of world we all want to live in? ;)
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I’d love to hear from you! Shoot me a personal note through my Contact page, or leave a comment below. Have you had different experiences with finding it hard to love people around you? How have you dealt with those situations?
Looking to become more aware of what is in your own mind and heart, so that you can grow in peace and contentment? Check out my first book right here.
No matter what, always remember this: You are deserving, you are worthy, and you are good enough. Keep being you, keep shining, and keep growing!
With great love,