Over the past few days, I have been haunted by sadness. It’s not that our old friend, the existential sadness which comes by time to time. I’m talking about the sadness that arises when there are traces of deception and disappointment. Actually, I just noticed the word – dis + appointment. Seems really obvious, doesn’t it? You, or someone else, make an appointment just to wash it away later on. Dis + appointment. So basically we get disappointed when we, or someone else, bail on us. Then, of course, we get sad. Who wouldn’t be?
My sadness came in the sequence of multiple recent disappointments… with people. You see, I think I gave up on being sad with myself or, to be positive here, I have given myself permission to be human and I have also treated myself to a good dose of loving-kindness. If I make a mistake or blow up a plan, I talk myself into putting my head and heart in order first, so that I can get on my horse again… gently. So maybe, just maybe, I should improve this same exercise and extend it to others. Stabbed me in the heart? No problemo, here’s some love and here’s some kindness.
If you can do this easily, well, I take my hat off to you. You’re definitely a more evolved human being, and I do hope to get to your level one day. However, I don’t think I’m there just yet, and I still hold on to my pain and scar tissue like a monkey holds a fresh banana after being lost in the desert for many days. In other words, I hold on to my sadness over someone’s behaviour and character, and I replay the same question in my head, over and over again – how, how can a human being be so mean? And why, why is this person trying to destroy my peace of mind?
The true underlying questions is, nonetheless, the following: how does this person dare to violate my expectations? All these questions make me think that, perhaps, being sad about what someone did or didn’t do is a waste of energy. We have been told that already, right? It’s a very logical conclusion… but at the same time I struggle to brush away what others throw at me. If we picture it, we can say that people just talk all the rubbish they have inside themselves. They are discharging their toxins. In the moment, they are not really worried about whether the crap is going to hit you in the face, are they? They just want to get rid of it.
As social creatures, we have expectations and we like to think of civilised norms though. We would say that only cavemen and cavewomen would have the audacity of pooping and discarding their rubbish wherever they wanted. If such thing happened with our neighbours next door, we would get disappointed because we had expected better from them. So what happens is that whenever reality doesn’t meet our expectations, we get disappointed and eventually feel sad if we interpret other people’s actions as a way to get to us. Hence, being sad it’s up to us, isn’t it? We can always choose whether we are receiving and keeping someone’s rubbish bag or simply say no, thank you, and let it fly over our head.
Some people say we shouldn’t have high expectations, so that we don’t end up disappointed and sad with people. I don’t agree with that though. We need standards and we need to raise the bar if we want to lead a life in which we keep learning and developing as human beings. Can you imagine if everyone goes back in time and starts throwing what is left of their pooping activity out of their windows? I think we must have high expectations and filter people based on the contrast between those expectations and what happens in reality, because otherwise we will allow and tolerate people whose behaviours only show self-interest. Think about domestic violence for instances – would you really say that it is a partner’s job to be quiet and be hit every single day? Of course not! So why should we be quiet and be hit by someone’s rubbish bag, full of projections and judgment?
We must learn how to manage and deviate any rubbish that people try to throw at us. Once we master that subtle art then we won’t be upset or sad over such thing. We will know that only a higher power can take care of that person’s rubbish. It’s not our role to take everyone’s trash and we can choose to simply step aside and let the bag pass us by. Let it go. You don’t have to feed the drama, because the more you stir it, the smellier it gets and the sadder you will be. Take care of your own rubbish, that’s your only responsibility. Take good care of it and make sure you incinerate it. And if by any reason you get hit by the bag and you don’t know what to do with so much crap, cry. Cry as much as you need, but then here is what you ought to do: burn it. Burn the rubbish and ask for strength to forgive whoever sent it out to you, because that person didn’t know what was truly being done. That person doesn’t even know to be drowning in self-hate. It’s their karma… it doesn’t have to be yours.