By Natascha Jones, Guest Blogger
“If you spend your time hoping someone will suffer the consequences for what they did to your heart, then you're allowing them to hurt you a second time in your mind.” ― Shannon L. Alder
Today is my father’s birthday. We don’t speak; I don’t even have his phone number. If it were any other person I would be waiting like the Surprise Lady from Saturday Night Live, ready to dial their number the second the sun came up. But not for my dad. I actually would have forgotten, but my mom reminded me.
A lot of girls have anger towards their father. We either want them to hurt as much as they have hurt us, or we want to forget that they ever existed. Both of these tactics are easy, short-lived bursts of satisfaction. They make us believe that we have the upper hand now, he can’t tell us what to do anymore, he can’t hurt us anymore. But I think we’re only hurting ourselves.
I’ve been researching Compassion quite a bit and one of my favorite teachers on the subject is a Buddhist monk named Thich Nhat Hanh. Thich explains in his teachings and writing that compassion enables us to let go of our anger (which actually controls us) and have more genuine freedom and happiness. He says, “When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That's the message he is sending.”
To practice becoming a better person is an interesting thing. We think it’s impossible to integrate some of these philosophies into our lives or we think it’ll never work. I read a short story Thich had written about an awful pirate and I saw how he was able to have compassion for the pirate instead of hating him for what he had done. This amazed me. I knew I wanted to have this ability so I kept reading and kept studying, thinking this will be a great tool when I’m stuck in traffic, or working with a difficult client or just cranky.
That’s the funny thing about becoming a better person, you don’t get to choose who your gifts bestow themselves upon. My default move of wanting my dad to hurt on his own special day was all of a sudden being pushed out by this other emotion, rising to the top like those weird yummy bits in a bottle of Kombucha. Without even knowing I was doing it, I all of a sudden imagined my dad, alone on his birthday and sad. Even though he put himself there, he’s still sad. Even with all of the pain he has caused my family and I, he is probably suffering more than we ever have.
At that moment I regretted ever deleting his information. I wanted him to know that someone in the world wanted him to have a good day. It hurt my heart to think that I couldn’t do that.
Do I think we’re going to be fixed now? No. Do I want to get him on the phone and have a long conversation? No. But I don’t want him to hurt, especially at my hands.
I challenge you to learn and practice compassion. Not for anyone in particular, but for the gifts it gives to everyone.
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While she would have to inform you that her “day” job is in esthetics and makeup artistry, Natascha truly spends her days in sunny Venice Beach laughing with her friends, riding her bike, and telling grandiose stories encouraging others to laugh, cry or think. She is passionate about her efforts to live life fully and push her comfort zone, which is why she spills her guts to you and she hopes you’ll still love her.