For as many people as we know in this life, that’s how many versions of us exist. For some we are the friend, the teacher, the student, the reliable one, the trustworthy one, the happy one, the energetic one, the one that pushes us to be better, the one that brings us peace and calm, the one that offers great advice, that always picks up the phone or answers the text, the one that we love, and so on.
But, for every great version of our self out there, we must acknowledge that for some people in our lives we are the enemy, the victim, the liar, the cheat, the disappointment, the one that enrages us, the one that brings us down, the one that is never there for us, the one that we hate, and so on.
This can be tough to consider. Especially when you are living a life where you are always working to be your best Self. Having someone believe we are somewhat lacking or sincerely lacking can eat at you as you try and correct their perception of what you are.
I have had people in my life that have treated me poorly. And it is my job to forgive them. It is not easy. It is The Work. And I do The Work for selfish reasons.
When I forgive them, I am released from the situation. It is no longer about what they did to me. It is about how I respond to their actions. Hurt people, hurt people. And even the people that try us the most in this life, are doing the best they can.
As a yogi, I practice ahimsa, or non-violence. It is part of the code of ethics that I prescribe to, yet violence still exists around me.
The small violent acts of our modern-day life – unfriending or blocking someone on social media without explanation or discussion, the silent treatment, nasty text messages, gossip, white lies, big lies, downplaying someone’s achievements to make yourself look better, treating someone as a disposable object…. the list can go on, but why let it?
How do I work through these things? I acknowledge that there are other perceptions of me out there that exist that have nothing to do with who I truly am. AND, that there is nothing I can do about it. If someone chooses to believe the worst about me, I cannot stop them from it.
A Course in Miracles states that there is really only one of us here. Meaning, that as we treat others, we treat our Self. We are all Divinely connected. So, I choose to believe the best in everyone around me. I choose to work to hold the highest perception of them I can.
This does not mean I do not have boundaries. I have the good fortune of choosing the energy I am surrounded with each day and I work to bring positive energy to each space I inhabit and have it reflected back to me with every breath I take. This is easier said than done.
Having a spiritual practice does not mean that all of your problems stop. You simply handle them differently.
When someone offers to show you their perception of you is wildly different than the person you are working to become, acknowledge that, for them, that might be the role you are supposed to play for them in the narrative of their life. It is not who you actually are. Work to forgive them, so that you are free from this perception.
I am not saying that you don’t have the right to be angry. Be angry. Anger is part of the process of letting go and, actually is healthy. But don’t hold onto it for too long. There is a time to let that go.
Hold a place for the other person where you can both meet in peace and love. They might not ever meet you there, but hold it anyway. The great thing about perceptions is that they can change.
Tori Hicks-Glogowski is a yoga instructor and yoga business coach and mentor for yoga teachers. She is the author of the book, "Views from the Podium: The Life & Times of a Hot Yogi," and has been writing and sharing her yoga experience for the past seven years. Find out more about Tori now.