You can only hurt yourself

hurtSo I asked a friend recently, “why do you say things just to hurt me?”. Bhante Sujatha was standing nearby, and said “Nobody can hurt you, you can only hurt yourself”.
This was kind of like a gut punch to awareness for me. I am still reeling from the blow a bit actually. And really, I just love when Bhante does that to me. It makes me think, and realize how unaware I am sometimes of my thoughts and words. it’s that ignorance, lack of wisdom, that I often refer to here.
And please don’t think that I just accept everything Bhante says, because I always examine it myself. But fortunately, Bhante’s wisdom is always spot on. And how do you not love someone who can sucker punch you in the kindest, gentlest way? Obviously I do have so much love and respect for Bhante.
But enough about Bhante Sujatha, let’s get back to the issue of hurting ones self.

If someone tells me I am fat or ugly, will my feelings be hurt? I have to admit, to some degree, yes they would be.
But I see now that the other person did not hurt me. It was my own mind that hurt me. And the same would apply if someone said I hate you or I don’t love you anymore. It is not the other person or their words which hurt me, it is my own ignorance that did this. An untrained unskilled mind views these things as reality and personal. Both are completely incorrect.
I am no different or lessened by any words. I can be mindful, loving and accepting of this person. These moments are great opportunities for mindfulness and compassion. Awareness of the suffering of others, and cultivating love where it may seem that none exists.
Part of attempting this mindfulness is letting go of expectations I think. When we expect anyone to act, speak or respond in a certain way, we are only deluding ourselves. I can’t control you, nor should I wish to. You are a human being, just like me.
When Bhante teaches us to accept, be mindful and cultivate, he makes no mention of judging or expecting anything. Therein lies the greater wisdom.
Boasting and pride can be replaced by silence and humility. I think perhaps that I talk too much and think too much.
Listen, with an open heart. Think, with compassion and acceptance. Act, with loving kindness and equanimity.

So thank you so much Bhante, I needed that.
And I hope that you may also find benefit to his words, and as always I wish that you be well, happy and peaceful.