Truth is, we can cut a tidal wave of resentments off at the ankles just by deciding to be hurt only by people we know intentionally and maliciously tried to screw us over. This, as opposed to getting ruffled and feathery over incidents of thoughtlessness, miscommunication and insensitivity where no real malice was involved.
By way of example, a friend knocks our bowl of cereal on to the floor, making a mess and in addition breaking a bowl we quite liked. We might choose to take this personally, inventing a variety of interpretations around how we’re not valued by this despicable, thoughtless, clumsy and quite careless individual; how we deserve better, and so forth. On the other hand, we might consider whether we positively know that our friend intended to harm us. If they didn’t, we can, indeed should let it pass. There’s nothing to forgive. All of us injure and are injured with frightening regularity when there’s no ill-will involved whatever. Wouldn’t it be nice to cut others some slack, and in kind, have others assume the best about our intentions?
It is here that we move on from our first piece of Einstein’s wisdom: “No problem can be solved from the same consciousness (i.e. the same level) that created it,” to this:
question you’ll ever ask
is whether the Universe
is a friendly place.”
It is here that we shift towards the level of the impersonal. The first step is to crystallise our own beliefs about the relative friendliness of the universe. To help get started, here’s a couple of checklists. Tick the ones that resonate.
3. When a motorist cuts you up in traffic, you think, “his wife must be in labour and he’s off to help bring a new baby into the world — how glorious!” This does not apply in Kuwait. If you live here, delete this one.
2. When the waitress charges you for two coffees when you only had one, you demand to see the manager and try to have her fired for cheating you.
3. The teller at the bank is slow to process your transaction and you think this is a mendacious ploy to convey to you that you are worthless and undeserving.
4. You genuinely believe road menders are going out of their way to personally make you late for work.
Based on our responses, a pattern may emerge. For those who, as of this very moment, are thinking that all the latter examples are justified, and furthermore, that to refrain from acting vigorously and swiftly to avenge such slights would surely lead to their increasing in your life with ever greater and more malevolent frequency , I have some news. It’s not true.