9 October 2005

A less selfish view

Filed under: General

In my younger years I was of the “everyone sucks but me” mentality. I thought everyone and everything was out to get me and it was my job in life to hack my way through all that to get what I wanted and the hell with anyone or anything that got in my way.

When I began to study Buddhism I learned that rather than everyone being out to get me and everyone sucking, they were in truth just trying to be happy themselves. Their actions, which at the time might be against my interests, were for the most part not particularly against me. I’m not saying that they were always not out to get me, because that might have been part of their plan for happiness, but for the most part it was just how I was looking at the situation that was causing my feelings.

Once I began to look at others as fellow happiness seekers like myself, it became easier to walk a mile in their shoes, and see their lives through their eyes, as opposed to my own self-filtered view of their lives and actions.

It made them, everyone really, human. Everyone was at their core, just like me, a human being who wants to be happy and loved. How could I hate that?

I’ve been very fortunate to be able to apply this in my day to day life. It has allowed me to take situations where someone is really pissing me off with their actions, which may be in direct competition to my actions and goals, and look at them from a less selfish view.

Why are they doing this?
What do they expect to gain?
How do they feel this will make them happy?

This view permits me to see things through their eyes, and perhaps see how I am standing in their way. Perhaps it is my actions that is causing them to “act against me” rather than them being a “total jerk.”

So the next time someone really gets your goat, step back, take a moment and meditate on why you think they are doing this? Look at them as a fragile human being looking for the same thing as you in this life, rather than as an antagonist who is standing in your way.

If nothing else it may soften the blow you’re experiencing by not getting your way. However,  it may allow you to make another person happy, and that is pretty cool.

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