“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.”
~ Harper Lee
I discovered an amazing opportunity of compassion through creating a process I call, “a living life review.” This has benefited me in so many areas of my life. I would like to share a story from my childhood and how I used this process to help heal an event that otherwise festered within me.
When I was a young child, I did something out of play that wasn’t received well. For years I never understood why my mother would share this story with people and in doing so become angry with me. After hearing this story many times I became frustrated which created resentment toward her.
Around the age of three or perhaps a young four I was with my mother on her morning errands. Back in the day we didn’t have car seats, we roamed freely within the car. She made several stops that morning finishing up at the gas station. Shortly after climbing out of the car to speak to the gas station attendant, my mother discovered that her precocious daughter asserted her free will by locking both doors as the keys dangled in the ignition.
My mother tapped on the driver side window directing me to unlock the door. She recounts that I smiled and turned my face away from her, giggling. (Let me state I do not recall this event at all other than hearing this story from her.) She states that I turned my face from side to side, eyes closed, and smiling while ignoring her pleas. The gas attendant got involved by walking around to the passenger side of the car, tapping on the window, instructing me to unlock the door. Again, according to my mother; I turned my face away from him. This went on a few minutes until the attendant noticed the “wing window” was open, he fashioned a wire hanger into a hook, fished it around the lock and could break into the car. Eureka, crisis averted!
Fast forward 43 years and I can tell you that this story is as raw to my mother today as it was the day it happened. Every time she shared this event it re-established her feelings in that moment. Through this I grew to resent her for being so mad at me for being a child and not knowing any better. Often I would become angry at her for trying to reprimand me in front of friends and boyfriends over this. In time as a defense I made a mockery of it.
So, I did a living life review of the situation, by opening my heart to her perspective. What transpired that morning, was embarrassing for her. Yes, logically we can see it through the idea that it was a young girl being silly but it was mortifying to her and on some level in her mind it defined her as a mother. I believe she worried how others judged her. As a defense mechanism she took all of her judging fear out on me. When I opened my heart to understanding her instead of getting wrapped up in how this made me feel, I was able to realize her hurt. I could feel her shame and pain. It made me realize with open heart, that in order to move past this I will need to put my resentment to rest. I see now that this is her best and although it is not how I am wired, I do not feel anything but compassion and love for her. In letting go of it, realizing it is her deal not mine I am helping myself move forward.
We all have perceptions. None of us are cut from the same cloth. It is through our experiences and our soul’s journey of expansion we have both the choice and the opportunity to be forgiving, loving, humble and kind. Even if our perceptions do not match or resonate to one another we can choose grace and dignity above all else. Trust me it is never worth getting caught up in the battle of who is “right.” Perception is neither right nor wrong; they are only different. It is these differences that usher in expansion and growth. Finding tolerance in situations rather than discord will go a long way. Focusing on the discord creates more discord. Each time she revisits that memory she is perpetuating the cycle of those emotions. I chose to break that cycle with love and humbled heart.
Tolerance is a powerful tool toward healing this life, this journey, and this world we live in.