The other cheek

As already discussed in another of our articles, life is suffering. We all know that and we’ve all been hurt at some point. Maybe even now, while you’re reading this. More or less, we’ve all been lied to, deceived, and betrayed. We’ve been humiliated, oppressed, and chained. We’ve been misled, violated, and abused. We know suffering. Whether physical or mental, we know it in depth. If that’s not the case, you should know by now that you are a minority. A lucky minority. As for the unlucky majority… well, life is still suffering.

It seems that some wounds never heal. Sometimes we are broken so bad and so hard that we don’t even know if we’ll manage to stand up again. And yet, we do. That’s the whole point. Overcoming everything and everyone. People often hurt us and that’s for a fact, deliberately or not, just a bit or big time, but they do. Sometimes they torture, sometimes they play, sometimes they are just mean with no evident reason.  Or manipulate us to get what they want, making us feel weak, inept and empty. And some of them are so bad that they make us believe it’s all our fault because we’re no good, or not worthy enough, or we don’t deserve better. They sell us their lies and expect us to buy them. And we do, because they’re incessantly messing up with our heads, undermining the faith we have in ourselves. Insecure people are easier to manipulate, to influence upon, and of course, to affect.

Now, the Bible says: “Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. But I tell you not to resist an evil person. If someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.” But should you really turn the other cheek and let people abuse you? Maybe, but I’m not that advanced. It must be a sign of real virtue to let people do you wrong as much and as long as they want to and still remain unaffected, knowing that they are not really able to hurt you or take your freedom away. It seems like the end of the rainbow, at least to me. I find myself very far from that biblical concept that you should let people hurt you in any manner whatsoever because this is deemed divine. It might be, it ought to be, but personally, I’m not there yet.

So, let’s say you’re not one of them saints and one fine day you say it’s enough. You tell yourself this was it, the very last drop and you can’t take it anymore, so you take your own path. But even if you break the chains and you wisely decide to shut off those people hurting you and abusing you, that chain is still there. It still rattles and you feel it tightening around your neck. The leash is still there. It’s inside of you, as are all the hits you’ve taken, physically or otherwise. You’re still wounded, you’re still hurt. Maybe you imagined that if you parted, it would all go away, but it doesn’t. The pain is still here. To haunt you and torture you like before, as if nothing changed. You could have stayed, but you didn’t. You broke free. So why aren’t you happy now? Where did you go wrong? Why doesn’t your life seem that wonderful as you thought it would be? Because you’re holding a grudge. Because instead of enjoying your beautiful present, you keep living in the past. You keep living the memory of your sad experience, day after day, with no hope of resurrection. You keep blaming the people who made you feel so miserable, who hurt you so much and tried to destroy you in their own vicious way. Out of the blue, all that you’ve been through hits you and you realize you haven’t made an inch further. So you start hating your abuser(s) from the bottom of your broken heart, you curse them and you hope they died. Quite understandable, at some point all that hatred turns back to you and eventually you start blaming yourself (if not already). Thinking that if you had made a different choice, a different decision, all this wouldn’t have happened. And the worst part is, that you didn’t do the right thing, you didn’t make that change happen, you did nothing to mend the situation. So you punish yourself for what you have or haven’t done and start living a life of guilt and regret. Towards yourself and all those people who have hurt you. But mainly yourself.

Truth is and perhaps you’ve heard it before, nothing changes if nothing changes. That is, nothing will ever change until you found the strength inside to forgive and let go. People make right choices, but also wrong ones. People make good decisions, but also bad ones. More often than you could imagine. But you can’t blame yourself or them forever. What I’ve learned from experience, is that if you want out of the mud, you must make peace with yourself. First, forgive yourself for making the wrong choices. Don’t even call them mistakes. Theoretically, there’s no such thing as mistake, there’s good experience and bad experience, so consider that a bad one and make the choice to have only good experiences from now on. And no matter how hard it may seem to you, forgive others for making their wrong choices too. I know, I know, when abused for a long time one way or the other, it’s not an easy one to smile, reconcile and let go like that. But you should. If you want to get anywhere, you should. There’s a very useful means to practice forgiveness, it’s called metta, or loving-kindness meditation and it basically teaches kindness, towards yourself and towards others. But not only people-you-like kindness, kind to people you dislike or even hate as well. I’ll take a closer look on metta in one of the next articles, for it’s definitely worth giving a try and it helps a lot.

To summarize, there would be no good if there were no evil. There would be no light without the darkness and you would have not been the person you are today without all of your experiences, good and bad. So give gratitude for them all. For they all taught you something, they all made you strong. And don’t forget to give credit to yourself for who you are today and where you stand. If you think you’re reading this by chance, you’d better think twice. You’re here for a reason and you’re right where you’re supposed to be. Remember, your future is just a matter of choice. Your choice.


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