What happens when the people that are around us are not on our same path? Sometimes when we embark on journeys of personal growth these people may be our family or even our spouse. I have been asked this question before by clients who feel like they are living from a different place of personal awareness and concern for self expansion than they may feel like those around them live from. And sometimes this can cause dissonance in our relationships with those people.
We always have choice in how we respond to others and to the situations we are in. And sometimes we all can get caught up thinking that our way is the ONLY way. And what I have found as the best mantra to employ is to live and let live. I try to walk my talk and speak my own truth as much as possible. Sometimes the people around me strongly disagree or do not even remotely see things the way I do. When I embarked on the spiritual path that I am on now, I wanted everyone to join me! I wanted to convince others of the incredible truths I had come upon that make my life so much easier to live and that leave me being happier than I have ever been in my life. But not everyone has the same desires and world views.
We all look at the world through our own perceptions. And the best thing we can do is to continue to grow ourselves. Be the change we want to see. And unapologetically and fearlessly speak our truth. Sometimes that might offend or even freak out others who see the world very differently than we do.
But part of life is navigating our way through the many differences that our personalities take on. One of my favorite teachers, Eckhart Tolle, said something in an interview once with Oprah that struck me so deeply. He was speaking to the tenet of “love thy neighbor as thyself.” And he gave an example of having a neighbor living across the street who is nasty and inconsiderate and who is very difficult to love. And what Eckhart explained was, that we are not looking at this neighbor and trying to love their personality when frankly we detest it.
Rather, we can look at this person on a soul level and love from that space. We can acknowledge that this person has heartaches and struggles like everyone else and we can take it one step further and say that as we all were created from a creator, we all possess divinity in our hearts and that we are all connected. So we can love that neighbor from a higher place, from our own highest self, and know that on a soul level we are connected. That does not mean we have to stop by and spend time with someone who just rubs us the wrong way. But we can cultivate compassion for our fellow human beings anyway.
It can be easy to look at those we deem unaware and feel frustration. Especially if these are people we spend a lot of time with. But we give our time to these folks because we love them. And sometimes the frustration can even stem from modes of behavior that we once employed and have moved away from . Because for us to recognize something, we must have known it at some point.
We can look at all people through the eyes of love, and we can love others as we love ourselves from our soul and higher self. We can see the pieces of us in them . We can work to acknowledge what we do love about them and know that it’s ok to be different. And we can recognize that those around us and our relationships, are our mirrors. They serve to show us what we have going on within ourselves. For example, if I am having trouble walking my talk, or being unapologetically myself and I am feeling judged by someone, I can look within to find where I am actually judging myself.
So on the one hand we can allow everyone to be as they are, the same way we desire that allowance for who we are. And then further we can acknowledge who we feel connected to as our tribe and choose to spend the majority of our time with those people. And then do our best to simply be our own true selves around all, and as Eckhart said, love thy neighbor as thyself, not from your head, but from your heart space.