As our world becomes more and more harsh, peace of mind has never been more important as well as seemingly elusive.
Recently, I read about how a pair of Mahatma Gandhi’s glasses were sold at auction for $340,000. While I don’t have an opinion as to whether or not that’s the correct price for his actual glasses, I wondered what the value of his perspective would be.
Before I go any further, some background on Gandhi. He was born October 2nd, 1869 and died January 30th, 1948 at the age of 78. He was an Indian lawyer, anti-colonial nationalist, and political ethicist who employed non-violent resistance to lead the successful campaign of Indian independence from British rule and inspired movements for civil rights all over the world. Gandhi is unquestionably one of the most significant humans ever.
So, back to the value of his perspective and how it would benefit us in today’s world. I think reflecting on some of his more famous quotes will help us to get a sense of what that his perspective truly was;
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
“Hate the sin, love the sinner.”
“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”
Those are powerful. In a time when we’re at one another’s throats on everything from politics President to how to handle the pandemic, I think Gandhi’s perspective would be invaluable.
So why not adopt it? Why not start seeing the world through that perspective? You and I can make the decision to do that anytime, why not now?
Would the world, your world, our world, be better if you did? I think yes.
I’d like to share my thoughts on those three quotes and invite you to spend some time thinking about how you might be able to apply them in your life.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”
Reminds me of the ancient proverb “To err is human; to forgive, divine.”
Holding a grudge is easy.
Harboring resentment is easy.
Neither require confronting the problem head on. Neither require a difficult conversation.
When we’ve been wronged by someone else, we have choice.
We can choose to not address the problem. We can choose to hold a grudge, think bad thoughts about them and plot revenge which we’ll probably never take.
Or, we can recognize we all make mistakes and we all treat other people poorly from time to time.
We can have the courage to take the problem head-on, and to have conversation with the person. We can have the courage to forgive them.
And here’s the thing; even if you don’t feel and think you’re in the wrong, you can still forgive and move on.
A strong and confident person recognizes that in every disagreement, each party has some culpability and needs to take ownership of it.
Be strong, forgive, and move on.
I know I’ve certainly been guilty of holding grudges and wanting revenge. And I also know I’ve never benefited from doing it.
How about you?
Is there a relationship in your life that’s been strained or broken by an inability to forgive and move on? How would your life be different or better if you could forgive?
How would forgiveness improve your peace of mind?
“Hate the sin, love the sinner”
I’ve got two young children. My love for them is unconditional and absolute. But I sure do dislike their behavior sometimes.
That’s an easy example of separating an action from the person who took it.
One of the hardest and most profound examples is the life of Nelson Mandela. Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years.
Upon his release from prison, he worked with those who had persecuted him to heal the problems and divisions of his country.
It’s really hard to separate the human being from the action.
When we’re able to shift our perspective by taking a step back, we can look at it differently. This helps me a lot.
I’ve also found it’s important to allow time to pass, and to give myself space to reflect when I’m frustrated with someone over something they’ve done.
Once I’ve done that, I’m usually able to better understand why someone did what they did. Even if I don’t like it.
Can you think of a recent experience that’s happened to you? Were you able to separate the action from the person?
Would doing so make your life better?
“Nobody can hurt me without my permission”
This is powerful and profound.
I know I’ve given my power and agency away.
And for what? And to who?
Social media can be so triggering, and it’s easy to get worked up and upset over things other people are doing or saying.
When we let the words or actions of someone else negatively impact our moods and peace of mind, we’re giving our power away. And a lot of the time, we’re giving it away to strangers on the internet.
When you think about it like that, it doesn’t make much sense.
No one controls how you think and feel but you. When you find that’s not the case, I urge you to remove yourself from the situation.
If you’re in a conversation, leave the conversation. If you’re getting worked up on social media, delete the app.
Adopting this mantra will help you maintain your peace of mind. Don’t let others steal it.
Approach each day and every interaction (both in-person and virtual) with Gandhi’s perspective of forgiveness, love and personal empowerment. Be quick to forgive those who wrong you.
Recognize that it’s their behavior you dislike, not them.
Realize the only person who has power over the way you feel is you. And when you forget and come up short, give yourself the same forgiveness and love.
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