Now that February is here and we are all surrounded with pinks and reds, hearts and Valentine’s Day messages, cupids and talk of love everywhere we turn, I wanted to chat with you about the opposite, what’s at the other end, the haters.
We all see it and feel it. Maybe it is someone at work, something you saw on TV, a nasty post on social media, a snide comment from someone you know. When we experience this, even as a bystander, we often take some of it in – that anger and rage – and allow it to grow, fester and impact our wellness.
After spending 2 decades studying yoga and mindfulness, I have put together my top 5 lessons I have absorbed from some of the best teachers and gurus on this topic. So let’s dive into understanding what is really going on here in these instances when we feel haters in our presence and how to best deal with them.
- They had it before they walked in the room. The first thing to know is that people that utter words of hate, contempt or just general unkindness, developed these emotions a long time ago. Well before you posted that funny pic of you on vacation and got that reaction, a long time before you sat down for Christmas dinner when they made that comment to you. They have been carrying that fire – that pain – for a long time.
- It has nothing to do with you. We all have issues that have built up way deep inside of us. Even though we might not know it, we are all looking for outlets to get that pain out, to release it. The saying “The straw that broke the camel’s back” comes to mind where we snap, we lose it, we shout or kick the wall or utter words that are unkind to those around us. It has nothing to do with the person on the other end of your release.
- They want you to carry their fire. Think about the instances in your life where someone else was spewing fire with their words or actions. They have been carrying this fire for so long, that they are basically saying “Here, you carry this. I don’t want it anymore”. And that is what happens. As you are reading that not-so-awesome facebook post, listening to them gossip, you start to get angry. You are now carrying their fire. They won.
- Let their fire fall to their feet. Working in the area of detoxing and helping people constructively rid themselves of toxins (I think of it as emotional and physical sludge), that has built up, I know how important it is for us to have an outlet – tons of outlets – to get our crap out. Sometimes we do that by having a good cry, writing down what we are feeling, or just being honest with ourselves (I find yoga always helps). The goal is to get this crap out, away from us, but not to load them onto someone else’s shoulders. So when we encounter this hate, take a step back from them and let their fire fall to their feet. That fire is not yours to bear. Don’t take it on.
- Send them love and light. I do this every single time I see an instance of someone wanting to spread their hate. I stop and really look at them. I take time to truly see them (thank you Yogi Kevin Naidoo @kevinnaidoo for this lesson), and understand that they are in great pain. They have so much fire and they desperately need a constructive release. I do this yogi thing where I envision them surrounded in a beautiful, healing, warm golden light and I mentally send them these words “You are beautiful. You are perfect. I see your pain. I also see that you are so much more than your pain. Know that you are loved. Know that you are a gift”.
Okay, cool. So now we have given the haters in our life a serious yoga-ninja-flying-drop-kick, but what if those words of hate are coming from you? We have all had bad days where maybe we lean on the horn a bit too much on our morning commute. Maybe your coffee didn’t work (happens to me at least once a week). Maybe you are being pushed to your limit physically or mentally at work and you are the one that says something not so awesome.
It’s okay. We have all been there. The other day when I was racing around getting the kiddos ready for school and it was -51C outside (found out that is an actual temperature that is possible on Planet Earth!?!) and they were arguing about LEGO and I couldn’t find a single toothbrush in the house, I told them that I needed them to go to school now or I was going to lose my mind. I said that. My 4-year-old told me if I lost my mind he’d find it for me. Kids! They push, pull, expand, sink and elevate your heart in more directions than you ever thought possible.
Anyway, back to you: In yoga and mindfulness, we have four helpful questions that are trained to ask ourselves before we speak:
- Is what you are about to say TRUE?
- Is it KIND?
- Is it really NECESSARY?
- Is it better or MORE HELPFUL THAN SILENCE?
I hope this helps you. So let’s get back to all the February love business now.
Please know that you are loved. Know that you are a gift (even better than chocolate).
Love and light – Marla