“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”
I have a confession to make. I’ve felt wronged by someone, and it’s taking me a while to get over it. But time doesn’t heal all wounds, so I wanted to share with you my process around it. Because I imagine I’m not alone.
Have you ever been stuck in a grudge against someone?
Part of me has been laughing my way through this. After all, my “thing” is to write about freedom and ways to work with our suffering. And here I am—not free and suffering.
I spent a couple of months in a blaming mindset. My mind could definitely justify why I was wronged and how the other person shouldn’t have done what she did. I even made a list of the things I did for her that sounded like the old cliché, “After all I’ve done for you…”
I did do a lot for her that seemed effortless and natural at the time—it’s easy for me to be there for someone else—but now that the tables are turned, I can see how attached I’ve been. I didn’t even know I had expectations until things went out of balance.
Has that ever happened to you?
I finally got the memo that there is something in me that got hooked. And I know that it will become unhooked only by finding a different perspective on my inner experience. So I wanted to share with you what I’m doing in the hopes that it will be useful for you.
The Solution Is Not in the Story
As much as my mind wants to rev up into a story, this only keeps my emotions in place. Even though the story gets going, I’m seeing it happen now, and I’m giving it up—over and over.
Story…take a breath and relax…story…take a breath and relax… And without the story, immediately I become aware of the feelings that are present.
Without the story, I begin to feel unstuck. There’s now some movement that I’m curious about.
Looking within, I notice that my body is on fire with anger and hurt. And just realizing that, I can love these feelings. I feel the burning in my chest and behind my eyes and welcome it in.
Something in me softens deeply, as I can tell this is what’s been missing. I’ve been trapped in the story and ignoring the feelings. And my body is loving this space to be.
I’m also realizing that some of these feelings need to be expressed. There is an energy inside that wants sound and words.
I don’t yet know if I’ll express the feelings directly to my friend. But giving voice to them—alone or with another trusted friend—seems to feel right.
But this is tricky to navigate. I let the energy of the emotion be expressed in words, what Robert Masters calls a “conscious rant,” but I don’t use it as a way to again get caught in the story.
I’m also invoking a practice that sometimes helps my clients and now myself. It’s simple—you complete sentences. I take my time with this solitary exploration because it feels important. With the other person in mind, say or write:
- I’m sorry that___________________________________
- I’m sorry for____________________________________
- I realize I_______________________________________
- I realize you____________________________________
- What I can learn is_____________________________
- Thank you for__________________________________
Take the time to let all the answers come. This exercise offers the potential to cultivate compassion and let down barriers.
I’m not waiting for the other person to hopefully make things right. I’m exploring beyond this personal problem to shed layers of limiting beliefs and dissolve the division that is at the heart of the conflict.
I want peace more than anything, so I have to move past who is right or wrong, as that way of looking at the situation doesn’t serve. I don’t know what will happen next or how things will turn out, but I’m glad I’ve now opened up a fruitful investigation.
I’m definitely leaning toward freedom.
What About You?
What happens when you get caught in the web of feeling wronged? What helps or hinders? I’d love to hear… And if you’re reading this by email, please click here to go to GailBrenner.com and to comment.