Habits. Twitches. Looks. Phrasing. Responses.
Often I see small or large things which irritate me. Some say that happens when I see a reflection of something I dislike in myself: sort of a skewed reflection of something I’d rather not see.
The advice to those of us moving toward less judgement of our fellow humans is to “look in the mirror;” notice what in yourself is reflecting and causing that unease. We can decide to make it more comfortable or not. Sometimes finding our own comfort, with ourselves as we are, can be arduous. Not changing things feels more reasonable. With another nugget of self knowing, though, we can choose to be less judgmental. Perhaps.
It looks from inside my eyes, that the person assailed by another for being fat might answer “that is my business” with the strong implication of “mind your own business.” More directly “I am the only one walking in my skin” with the implication of “you cannot know my story.” That’s a big obvious example.
The principle applies any time I stray from my own yard. Ruptures from needlessly inflicted hurts happen when I have a poor sense of emotional boundaries, both mine and others’. It’s as if I’ve allowed my puppy to run up and down the neighborhood tearing up tulips. That’s done in an instant and though the damage might be repaired, it may take several seasons. The memory of all those tromped-on petals will not soon be erased. It might be difficult for neighbors to see me, pup or no pup, and not think of my carelessness and lack of respect.
There’s more than a tiny tear in the trust-colored fabric of our lives and we can all see the mend.
Not all running amok is dramatic and large as swathes of wrecked tulips. It’s the quick word, the cocked eyebrow to one who so well knows its meaning, a shrug of the shoulder or less. But it is the same thing; a piece of trust is ruined. And the antidote to these behaviors, so habitual and prevalent among us humans, need not be particularly dramatic either.
Each tiny prevention counts.
In the space of one or two purposeful breaths I can make the instant response, the quicksilver snakebite, wait. I can leash the impulsive pup, allowing my amazingly fast brain to guess how the other feels and then decide if I want to let fly. Any answer is correct if it is what’s I intend.
Responses, thoughts, judgements can almost always wait the space of two breaths and that space might just make a difference many times its size. Perhaps even the difference of a season or two of repairs to the tulip beds . . . the bridges of beauty between us.
Two breaths, a moment of care, can preserve the connection which lies in the spaces between us.