Mental Instability In Others + The Importance Of An Open Mind

I cannot take the things my parents say at face value. I have to internally evaluate their mood, their mental position and try to uncover the intent. Otherwise, these interactions have the potential to be very damaging to me.

My Mam texted me something yesterday that ignited a rage in me. Lately, she has been almost consistently phoning me in the evenings when I’m at work. She knows I work evenings and that I’m incredibly busy right now so I told her this. She responded sarcastically by making a joke about how busy I was, as if to downplay it or make out that it was my ego that was the issue here and not her ignorance or self-centredness.

As I was walking home from work at midnight, I thought about this Teal Swan video I’d watched recently about raising your frequency. She mentioned briefly the work she does with sick people in hospitals, saying that in focusing on their suffering, she would be decreasing her frequency and so not helping to alleviate their suffering. However, if she envisions these people in perfect health and vibrancy, she is able to raise her own frequency and also that of the other person.

This is a tactic I’ve been using at work in the hotel lately when it is clear that the chefs are suffering and lashing out. It sometimes spills over onto me in the form of shouting, chastising, condescension and pointed ignorance. Every time I walk up to the pass in the kitchen to take the plates out, I try to bring a new energy, a new smile, a new hope that the chefs will be nice to me; knowing that there is absolutely no guarantee. I have been told I should smile by one chef when I didn’t respond to him deliberately nudging me as soon as I arrived at work. And then, during a particularly busy service, as I approached the pass in the kitchen, I was told by another chef: “Don’t smile. Not today.” During that service, I tried to envision this chef in his most vibrant form that I’d seen – his smiling face when he had once joked with me, the air of mischief that surrounded him in a good mood.

Along with envisioning people in their most happy and vibrant form, I’ve also been attempting to perceive them as having the best possible intentions. I’m trying to jump to the conclusion less and less that people are behaving in a certain way to hurt me or disrespect me. Jumping to this conclusion is incredibly easy in my current working environment because it’s stressful, cliquey and, at times, bitchy. But I’m trying to recognise that in this working environment, no one wins, everyone struggles at some point or another and we’re all coping in the only ways we know how.

Mulling over all of this on the way home from work yesterday led me to try and apply the same logic to my mother. I tried my best to imagine that she did not mean to dismiss my hard work or stress but that she was incapable of registering it and instead was focused on her desire to talk with me. Or better yet, perhaps her joke was her way of validating my current struggles after all.

Fixating on the idea of bad intentions provides cause for negative reactions and when dealing with those prone to mental instability, the potential for a full-blown relationship breakdown becomes great. We’d be doing ourselves – and others – a favour if we tried to intercept egoic patterns by seeing the best in others. In this way, we are coming from a place of love rather than seeing the worst because they have caused us pain. This is no mean feat, it requires constant effort. Sometimes reactionary and egotistical responses are so strong, we become blind to our strength of spirit. But I believe that it is a strength which can be continually uncovered and nurtured and from my attempts at practicing relating to people in this way, I’ve found that it can be the source of boundless joy and understanding.

“When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Thanks so much for reading! My next post will be a return to my manifestation mini-series where I’ll explore the power of a morning routine!

– SMUT. ❤ xxxx

Art: “chemical release” by @Rosehill

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