It’s certainly a sign of spiritual growth when you learn not to react when provoked by others, not necessarily your spouse. Your parents criticize your way of living, your friends annoy you with their complains, your boss has a resolve to destroy your self-esteem. It’s natural to get defensive and all emotional; refraining from reacting requires a higher level of consciousness and practice. But what’s the point of withholding reaction, if the negativity and judgment keep boiling inside your head to the point of explosion?
So now I’m learning a new way, a way of love and compassion. If my husband says something mean just to hurt me, not only I don’t respond verbally, I actually try to send a blessing his way. I feel truly sorry for him, that life doesn’t treat him right bringing out the worst in him, that he is probably stuck living with his demons forever since he is not even aware of them, that his moments of remorse are as powerful as his moments of uncontrolled anger.
So in the moment when we are about to have a confrontation, I don’t try to prove him wrong or change his opinion, I work on changing myself instead. I think to myself, “he is trying to shatter my peace because his has been shattered long ago hence all his suffering. The best I can do for him, for both of us is to maintain that inner peace, let its healing power quiet his hurting self”. Then I take a really deep breath, then another one, and one more till I have no reaction to his words other than genuine compassion. The results are amazing, if not miraculous. His fire is suddenly put down and he is changing the subject to something more positive. And I respond in the most friendly manner, as if his outburst minutes ago didn’t happen. And we are back to being two normal, sensible adults sharing a life together, not two lost immature kids controlled by their emotions and fighting over small things.
Nothing he does or says these days can hurt me because I no longer identify with his feelings or thoughts about me. Especially since they tend to change by the hour. It’s almost funny to observe his attempts to pull me into a fight, to get me to react and then stop mid-track because he encounters no resistance. He suddenly doesn’t know what to do next and … just calms down. Don’t believe me? Try it yourself. Don’t underestimate the power of your love, compassion and peace to override any negativity, to spread and touch another person in a new way. And then just watch your life begin to change.