On some level, every friend, foe or stranger you encounter these days is most likely going through something you are completely unaware of. They may not appear to have any problems or life concerns, but even the most unsuspected individuals may harbour inner fears and demons. Just look at how “Twitch” from the Ellen Show left the world in stunned confusion. He seemingly had it all.
You may scowl at that mother that shows up at the school perfectly pruned, with the best-baked goods and volunteers at every PTA meeting. When you are lucky to have time to comb your hair before dropping the kids off and forgetting you are still in your pyjamas. But we really do know what lurks at home for that perfect mom. She could be in an abusive relationship that forces her to present herself in a certain way to others. The point is that we do not know, so instead, we assume and, in the process, force our biases and frustrations about our lives etc., toward others.
In every life situation, there is at least one person that gets under your skin, knowingly or not; they can get the hair on the back of your neck standing up. There are days when the behaviour of strangers can leave us scratching our heads or shouting obscenities. They turn your naturally caring demeanour into a rabid animal and cause you to speak or act in a manner that is unbecoming.
We are human! So first, give yourself a break for your behaviour; as mentioned, you most likely have something going on in your life other than the situation that causes your unnecessary reaction.
What if we all practiced being “unmean.”
“Unmean” is not a word in the dictionary, but we will use it to help describe this practice toward others.
To be “unmean” is putting your best foot forward, even in your darkest moments. It means thinking before speaking and pausing before acting or reacting. To be “unmean,” you must practice restraint when another person annoys you or interrupts the flow of your day. To be “unmean” requires you to take responsibility for your own life and refrain from judging someone else’s behaviour. Their behaviour is their responsibility; you are responsible for your own.
To be “unmean” requires allowing someone to merge into traffic, even if how they approached the intersection is rude. It means putting your shopping cart back into the carousel rather than dumping it in the parking lot. It requires you to refrain from flipping off someone in traffic because they broke driving etiquette.
To be unmean requires changing how you approach your anger towards a loved one. Instead of saying you never do anything around this house, try saying, “it upsets me that you left the table without offering to help. If you have a screaming child in the throws of a temper tantrum, pause before you react and rather than yell back, choose words you would prefer to hear when you are angry. “I am sorry the situation has angered you” “I realize you are upset; when you are ready, let’s talk about why.”
To be “unmean” requires you to refrain from commenting on everything. If there is no good reason to comment, hold back your opinion and spend more time listening than talking. Most people spend more time waiting for their turn to jump into a conversation and often cut the speaker off. While your intention is not to be mean, you are putting your needs first, which can appear mean and bullying.
To be “unmean” requires you to try to imagine yourself in another person’s situation for a second and consider that there are most likely things in their lives causing them to be mean. Rise above their behaviour.
To be unmean means you do not follow the unkind behaviour of your friends when it comes to trash-talking other people. Remember, you are not always at the table and can just as easily be judged.
Realize that your meanness comes from within you. It is not something that others are doing to you. How other people behave is on them, and how you choose to react to them or the situation is on you.
This Holiday let’s practice the “Unmean” movement.
Give Yourself Permission to Breathe
Wherever you are in your life, we hope you give yourself permission to breathe. We hope that you take time every day to take stock of all the amazing parts of yourself, and you check personal criticism at the door.
The world we live in today is not easy; demands and stresses are bearing down on us every day. Our hope for you is that in a world that is always rushing, you can find a moment of stillness in your life to just be in the moment. Whatever that moment is.
If you feel grief, give yourself permission to feel it. If you feel tired, give yourself permission to take a rest. If you feel joy, then allow yourself to celebrate happiness. If you are not sure what you are feeling, release the pressure of trying to define the feelings and just be in the moment
Whatever happened today, this week or this month, give yourself “Permission to Breathe
- To remember
- To honour
- To celebrate
- To nurture
- To practice thankfulness
- To laugh
- To cry
- To Breathe