Category Archives: Victim Consciousness


You know that expression, right?

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”

Or alternatively:


Well, it struck me just now that there are basically two camps you can fall into when you hit a bump in the road and fall off your bike. It’s probably obvious and it’s sure to be something I’ve written about before, in another guise, some time ago. And I don’t want to get all verbose about it, since it’s really just the simplest equation in the world.

When life throws you a curveball, you have a choice.

You can add it to one of two lists.

You can add it to your victim story list: “And then, poor me, this happened.” You know the one, right? And you know when you’re on that kick because you’re not focused on what actually happened, or how best to deal with it, or how to fix it, but you’re reciting in your head how best to tell it when you next meet someone who’ll listen. And you know that you’re learning to kick that habit the moment it begins to feel less than comfortable reciting the same tired old lines; when, and I know you know this one, you’re actually beginning to bore yourself.

Or you can add it to your survivor list. You can add to the strings on your bow. You can hold your head up and say (to yourself because, come on, who else needs to hear it anyway? Whose opinion of you is more important than your own? Seriously. Whose? The number one person who needs to love and approve of you is… uh-huh… YOU) “I survived that, and this is what I learned.”

Victim consciousness is a honey-trap. You think you’ll feel better telling someone how unhappy you are and how it’s anyone and anything else’s fault other than your own. But you don’t. You never ever do. It just perpetuates the misery.

But when you take responsibility for your own happiness, it can change in a heartbeat.

Last night, watching a film with some of my family, one of my sons was, frankly, bloody miserable. From an objective perspective, I had grasped the storm in the teacup, I could see how simple it would be to forget it, to get over it, to let it go. But it isn’t something you can do for someone else. They have to do it for themselves. And it isn’t always easy. And unless you’re Buddha, you’ll still have times when you struggle with it.

In a lull, I leaned over to him:

“The only person unhappy in here,” I whispered, “is you. And you don’t have to be. You can choose to let whatever the perceived grievance is… go. Just let it go.”

He guffawed, somewhat sarcastically, but I know how it works with him. Plant the seed, walk away and let him think.

Shortly afterwards, during a particularly heavy and gruelling scene, and as though nothing had happened:

“If you close your eyes and listen to Tom Hanks in this film, it’s like Woody’s swearing. I can’t be the only one to think that, right?”

The rest of us fell about laughing and the entire atmosphere was diffused.

Because he chose to let it go.

Small example, simple principle.

Massive life lesson.



I’m constantly amazed by the way life works.

In awe, really.

I’ll start as I so often do: a few things have been tumbling around my head lately πŸ™‚

I suppose what it really is is an amalgamation, a sort of alchemical process by which several truisms, so often bandied about, posted on facebook (guilty as charged) and generally thrown casually into conversation that they have become cliches, have all become one big ole realisation somewhere deep down. Like dried yeast in warm water, it has bubbled up and popped on the surface of my awareness just in the last day or two, and I’ve been trying to find a way to express it.

Putting it into words is tricky – it’s much more a feeling, or… not even that… a kind of new part of what I have come to know, I suppose. Eek, you see? I’m already tripping over myself! I guess I’ll start by listing the four main components of this one new whole:

1) Orange Juice

This is the patently obvious truth that if you squeeze an orange, the only thing you’re going to get out of it is orange juice. You can’t squeeze it and expect a sparkling Pinot Grigio, or a glass of milk. In just the same way, if someone squeezes you, you can only react with something that is already inside you. Or, put another way, you can’t give something you haven’t got.

2) Hatred and Love

“Hatred cannot cease by hatred, but by love alone is healed.” Originating from the Buddha and used by such noble fellow beings as Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

3) Fear

Fear paralyses. Fear of the future (and what is a ‘What if…?’ if not fear of a future calamity?) is a waste of the present, leads to negative, defensive and angry pre-emptive behaviour, escalates animosity, perpetuates hatred… And the rest!

4) Boundaries

Accept no abuse. Value yourself more than that. You would not sit by and watch someone you loved being abused, so why allow it for yourself?

In some way or another all of these lessons have been kneaded and melted and moulded and shaped into a single way of being, of looking at myself and the world of my fellow human-beings.

First off, eliminate the fear and hatred, both of which we are all too easily seduced by. Like pretty much everyone else I have known the paralysis of fear, and I can categorically say it served no purpose whatever, neither in preparing me for what I had to face, nor in helping through it. We live through what we live through. We take the lessons from those situations that they had to teach us. And we carry them into the next.

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”

– Helen Keller

Or indeed:

“I’ll tell you a secret about fear: it’s an absolutist. With fear, it’s all or nothing. Either, like any bullying tyrant, it rules your life with a stupid blinding omnipotence, or else you overthrow it, and its power vanishes in a puff of smoke. And another secret: the revolution against fear, the engendering of that tawdry despot’s fall, has more or less nothing to do with ‘courage’. It is driven by something much more straightforward: the simple need to get on with your life.”

– Salman Rushdie

The point I am trying to get across is this: if you can drive fear and hatred out of your heart (and I am not suggesting for a moment that a) this is easy or b) I have cracked it), then when you are squeezed they cannot come out. And if they cannot come out, there is more chance of healing both at a personal and a universal level. But this, too, is an affirmation of healthy boundaries. Because if there is no longer fear and hatred inside you, and you are squeezed (abuse is attempted), and a compassionate response has no discernible good effect, you can walk away with your boundaries intact and your inner life undisturbed. Nor, happily, are you likely to have made the situation worse. We cannot control others or their reactions, after all: only ourselves.

It’s all part of the process, and there are no shortcuts, but each milestone is an enormous liberation, containing enough lightness to propel you to the next. I’ve listened to a few of my favourite gurus today: Dr Wayne Dyer and Jack Kornfield being two of the most influential in the help with shaping my thoughts. Jack Kornfield described his return from years away, meditating and practising as a Buddhist monk. His mind was trained, he was an unflappable spiritual being… Until he came back to the States and discovered that he was really rubbish at relating with his fellow human beings. So his message must be that it’s all well and good understanding what this Practice is, what these lessons are, the path of least suffering, and it’s pretty easy to get a hold of, excel at even, when you are alone in a room, or meditating, or…

But using it in everyday life – there’s the challenge!


Leave the earplugs at home.

I’m in a bunker, hunkered down, eyes squeezed tight shut, head between my knees and hands over my ears.

I’ve been here for a while.

I’m not thinking, hearing, listening…

And then a little voice starts the pep talk.

“You know the drill…” it says, rather incompassionately, I feel. “You talk the talk. But it isn’t enough to talk the talk. You need to walk the walk, too.”

And therein lies the Practice.

“I’m busy being stressed right now!”

Then stop.

“I’ll stop when I’ve got this really stressful thing out of the way.”

No. Stop now.

“I’m not listening to you. I’ll listen to you when I’m good and ready, and not feeling stressed any more.”

No. Listen now.

“I can’t. I’ve got lots of things to finish, or I’ll just feel more stressed.”

How will that help?

“Stop telling me it won’t help! You’re not helping, telling me it won’t help!”

Then a third little voice chimes in: “But you know she’s right, don’t you? You’re just choosing not to listen. Why are you choosing not to listen? It’s okay. It’s your journey. It’s your choice. And when you choose to listen, you will have chosen to make it easier for yourself…”


That Inner Voice can be a bitch. She doesn’t corroborate your victim story. She doesn’t put an arm around you and tell you to go back to bed and only get up when it’s all gone away. She just, oh-so-calmly, tells you the truth. And you can choose whether or not to listen. And some days, it’s really easy to listen. And other days, it feels damn-near impossible.

And those are the days to practise walking your talk.

Everything changes.

Except the reality that everything changes.

That doesn’t change πŸ˜‰

“Muddy water

If let to rest and settle

Always becomes clear.”


Eureka… ! (Phew)

I just had an epiphany. πŸ™‚

I’ve been in a shocking grump since yesterday evening.

Yesterday morning, the sun was shining for the first time in what feels like forever. I was beginning to think we had moved to Narnia – the land of interminable winter. But the sun didn’t so much stream as positively gush through the window and I stretched into it and felt instantly energised. I was positive, buzzing, happy… But by the evening, the grump of the previous day had returned.

I can list my grievances: the cold is back, it is snowing again, I have two very poorly people at home and feel rather run ragged, I’m tired (when my alarm went off this morning, I was more asleep than I have been in an age). And on a bigger scale, my family situation is more screwed up than any I have heard of, other than in books giving extreme examples of how wrong families can go…

So, I was hanging out the laundry this morning, with that catalogue of disaster running through my head. On loop. Again and again and again. And above it all I clearly remember these two sentences registering:

“I feel like I’m on a fucking rollercoaster. I hate it.”

“So get off. “

Now I read and listen to people I admire and respect speaking about the power of thought all. the. time. And intellectually I get it. I totally understand that your thoughts can change your life. That what you think is what you become. After all, the man in my life had begun to cower in a corner as I quite literally became my grump. My head was aching, my brow knit, my shoulders slumped.

But I’m not kidding – when I heard those words (which I guess I thought to myself anyway, huh?) “So get off.” it was as though a lightbulb had switched on over my head.

I got off.

The headache lifted that instant.

I straightened up, smiled. It had gone.

I remember reading both Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie talking about moments of total turnaround. I suspect theirs were much more profound and life-altering, and permanent. I’m not claiming for an instant to have cracked it.

But for today, at least, my world has changed.

And isn’t today all we have?

A few more thoughts on forgiveness.

Today, I have been listening to the dulcet tones of Jack Kornfield. He has the most soothing and calming voice, which helps a lot, but it is the content of his talks that is the most enlightening. For anyone who hasn’t heard of him, he is the author of such excellent books as “A Path with Heart” and runs the Spirit Rock Meditation Centre in California.

I was pottering about my kitchen, everyone else in the family occupied, listening to his guided meditations. Possibly not the best way of meditating, but better than not at all, to my mind anyway πŸ™‚

And, in his inimitable fashion, he fed me some gentle food for thought.

The way it works for me is this:
I’m washing up, listening, drifting away, my mind snags on something. I stop what I’m doing and focus better. This is what snagged me:

“Stand up for yourself.
Tell the Truth.
It will be okay”

Which was just what I needed to hear at that moment. (Another fabulous way this universe works).

But he went on to do a lovingkindness meditation, which led me down the forgiveness route again.

I often write about the same theme many times. Sometimes I worry about that. About repeating myself. But here’s the thing:
These themes are things that we, as human beings, can struggle with our entire lives. I can’t write about it once and just ‘get it’, like flicking a light switch. It is tidal. The tide comes in and you have it. It ebbs away again and you struggle to hold onto it . But the difference here is that it never goes out quite as far as it did the first time, and eventually, instead of a turbulent and stormy ocean, you find the water has stopped at the shoreline, and you have a still, peaceful lake.

You have it.

So, forgiveness.

Forgiveness is vital to the healing process.

But it isn’t a sticking plaster. You can’t paper over the hurt with it. You can’t force it, even. And this is important.

You cannot force yourself to forgive.

It is a process.

And there are many stages to this process, not dissimilar to the stages of grief. For those unfamiliar with the five stages of grief, the Kubler-Ross model is this:
1) Denial
2) Anger
3) Bargaining
4) Depression
5) Acceptance

And anybody who has been badly hurt will experience most if not all of these stages. My understanding of it, though, is that it is not until you get to the Acceptance stage of the process that you are able to forgive; it is not until you have worked through it all, and truly understood and assimilated, that you are able to let go.

I have said before that we have this perception that forgiveness lets your aggressor ‘off the hook’. In fact, the person being let off the hook is you. You no longer have to dwell in that world of holding on with hate, of clinging desperately to your injustices., of being locked into a cycle of vicim consciousness, which is disempowering to say the least. You are free to move on, unshackled from the ball and chain you’ve been dragging behind you for too long, empowered and in charge of your own life, responsible for your own happiness, no longer at the mercy of someone else’s responsibility for your unhappiness. From victim to conqueror!

Many victims of abuse become angry at the suggestion that they must forgive in order to move on. It has often taken such an enormous effort of will to stand up for themselves in the first place, that they fear that forgiving will set them back into a vulnerable position, that they will have to go through this all over again. And at that stage you are not ready. Your anger fortifies you, stiffens your resolve not to allow such things to happen to you again. It is natural, healthy and in the order of things that you feel it. But it is not a place you can live healthily in forever. The time has to come when you have strengthened yourself enough there to shed the anger and move on with your life, the lesson learned, the boundary strengthened, your happiness lying ahead, and not behind.

Anger, hatred, all those negative emotions are a chain around your heart. They may be protecting it from past (or present) abuse, but they are also preventing you from letting love in, from future happiness, from freedom.

So, when the time is right – and only when the time is right – cut the chain and let your heart fly free.

You cannot lose.


You’re not going that way…

Today, with my four bigger boys at school and my youngest small tornado pretending to rest for a few moments, I settled down to do some pretty tedious and unchallenging work. It warranted another direction for my attention, so I put on a video of the father I wish I’d had: Wayne Dyer. (You’re not surprised, are you?)

He was talking about something the equally fabulous Alan Watts had said, describing our ‘Wake’. Not the post-funeral kind, you understand, but of the post-boat variety.

I have always loved the pithy maxim:

Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.

If dwelling on the past makes you unhappy, then stop it. It’s gone. Passed: not just a clever play on words. And whilst happy memories are enjoyable to relive, it can be equally unhealthy to dress them up in brighter robes than your present and wish you were still there, rather than right here where you are now.

Although I may appear to have digressed, it was precisely this point Dr Dyer (and Alan Watts, of course) was making. The wake of a boat trails behind it, no longer a part of it, no longer remotely significant apart from a simple trail denoting where you have once been. You can stand at the back of the boat and watch it, but there seems little point in that, really. After all, if you’re standing at the back, looking out at all that foam and debris, you can’t see where you’re going, can you?

Equally, though, and rather importantly, the wake cannot steer your boat. It cannot power it.

Do you see?

Why do we allow our past to cripple our present?

I have heard Dr Dyer before quoting a counselling session he once took, where his patient was bemoaning the fact that, when a child, her parents had forbidden her to learn to ride a bike.

But the question has to be: what is stopping her learning now?

Instead of complaining about past injustices, hurts, lacks, wants; instead of allowing them to define who we are now, learn the lessons they have taught you, and then let them go, release them, look on them simply as the wake, a geographical marker of where you once were, and learn or, as is often also the case, relearn in a healthier and more positive way.

Nobody powers your boat but you. Nobody. And if you feel you have handed the controls over to someone else, nobody could have handed those controls over but you.

So take them back.

And move forward under your own power, looking straight ahead, feeling the spray on your face, the sun on your skin, and the wind in your hair.

And stop looking over your shoulder.

With love.

Merrily, merrily, merrily…

There have been a couple of things pootling around my head lately, on this bumpy old Path.

I was having a conversation the other day about forgiveness. This is not an unusual occurrence just now. In my experience, when there’s something you need to assimilate, it throws itself at you with such insistence and regularity that resistence provesΒ  futile…

So, the concept of forgiveness is one that I have been grappling with for some considerable time.

My first observation is that we need to detach from the story. And by story I mean ‘Victim Story’. The concept that anyone else has any control over the life we are living now is, frankly, skewed. The only person with any control over your happiness is you. Nonetheless, people are successful at self-control to greater and lesser extents, and it is a sad fact that if we are unable to relinquish blame and attack, we are likely to be very negatively motivated. And who needs that in their life? Happiness is dependent upon your thoughts, on which of them you believe, and on how positive (or otherwise) they are.

So, while it is not only possible but vital to learn to forgive, it will not always lead to a healing in your relationship. That part is very much dependent upon the relationship between you and the person you are forgiving. After all, if you are forgiving a past hurt, and there is a genuine change of heart, or behaviour, then your relationship has great hope of being healed. If, however, there is no change of heart or in behaviour, you may need to give it up. This I have mentioned many times before: if you can’t say ‘no’ within a relationship, you may have to say ‘no’ to the relationship. None of which is easy. Until you understand, that is.

Until you understand. It isn’t about looking backwards and becoming mired in the past. That’s already been and gone. It is about moving forward, the lessons assimilated, your heart and mind open to new experiences. Which will surely come.

In short, then, it is not difficult – once you have taken the decision – to forgive. It will set you free. Sounds trite, doesn’t it? But it’s true. All the while you have been holding a grudge against your ‘violator’, you have been keeping yourself locked up. That is the biggest and saddest irony of all.

So forgive.

As far as forgetting is concerned, I’d argue that it is important to forget the hurt, but I would argue that it is just as important not to forget the lesson. “Hurt me once, shame on you. Hurt me twice, shame on me”. It’s rather a blunt way of putting it, and leaves out the possibility of any wriggle room in between the hurts, doesn’t it? But it holds merit all the same. There’s a message in it. You don’t need to keep going back for more. But you don’t need to hold onto the hurt or the resentment or the blame. You can let that go, too.

On a much lighter note, I was listening to Wayne Dyer the other day (just how many times have I written that?!) and he was talking about singing a song with his little daughter many moons ago. The song, and we all know it, is Row, Row, Row Your Boat

And this is what he said (I’m paraphrasing):

Row, row, row your boat.

Not my boat. Not someone else’s boat. Not a boat someone else has told you to row. And don’t let anyone else row it, either. Row your boat.


Not angrily. Don’t force it. But go gently. With compassion. And… gentleness.

Down the stream.

Don’t row your boat up the stream. That will just bring you difficulty. Row your boat down the stream.

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily.

Keep cheerful. Row with joy. Not sadness or unhappiness. But with a merry disposition.

Life is but a dream.

It’s fleeting, isn’t it? And here Dr Dyer quotes Henry David Thoreau. I cannot remember the exact quote, but here’s another of his that fits the bill perfectly:

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”

So here we are again, eh?

Row your boat.


And enjoy the journey.

With love.

Day 13: Eurgh…!

The less said about yesterday, the better.

Total collapse in consciousness. 😦

I think, perhaps, a highly stressful few months (or years) took their toll and it all just got a bit too much. It was a day of meltdown.

But in everything there lurks a lesson.

And I found several in yesterday’s trials. First, I’m human. I fall. I get up. I try again. Trying to follow this path doesn’t make you superhuman. Doesn’t mean you are perfect. Far from it. It is the acceptance of your imperfection that makes it possible at all. If you can forgive other people, you have to be able to forgive yourself, too, eh? πŸ™‚

Secondly, the meditation has had profound effects. Even in the pits of it all, I knew it was what I wanted to do. I knew it was a surefire way out of the depths; a means to re-balancing, to finding equilibrium once more. My day no longer feels quite right if I haven’t done it.

And finally, for now, the very happy conclusion I have reached that if you keep on this road, even your meltdowns are less dramatic, far-reaching and enduring than they once might have been.

That’s got to be a good thing, eh?

Tomorrow, when yesterday is still further behind me, I might just tell you about knitting meditation πŸ˜‰

Day 12: Shoulder-Shaking

Forgiveness seems to be the order of the day.

I can’t escape it.

Everywhere I turn, everything I listen to, every book I pick up, every unbidden thought: all keep coming back to the same thing…

It’s Sunday. I have five boys enjoying a day of rest, of watching movies, eating home-cooked food, playing with their toys, and together, and on their computers. It’s a chilling-at-home kind of day.

So it’s not very quiet either.

And I resorted to listening to Jack again.

Guess what?


Forgiveness meditation.

Two prisoners of war, talking.

Prisoner 1: “Have you forgiven your captors yet?”
Prisoner 2: “No! Never!”
Prisoner 1: “Then they still have you in prison, don’t they?”

This is what I was trying to get at the other day. This is the problem with the idea of forgiveness.

Do you suppose that either of those prisoners will be seeking out their captors? Will they be looking to find them, to tell them they forgive them, to try to be ‘friends’? I mean, I am aware that Nelson Mandela did, but… he’s kind of an exceptional case, isn’t he?

This is it! This is where I have, in the past, so very often come unstuck. If I have been hurt by somebody, baffled by their actions, and I want to move on… the first port of call is: “I must forgive them”. Because forgiveness means letting go of the pain, the anger, the resentment, the hurt, that keep you tied to the past. But what has always kept me teetering on the brink of this idea, of achieving this forgiveness, is the assumption that forgiveness means allowing those people back into my life in some way.

But today I learned something different.

As Mr Kornfield says:

Forgiveness does not in any way justify or condone harmful actions…
Forgiveness does not mean you have to seek out or speak to those who’ve caused you harm. You may choose never to see them again…
You can do whatever is necessary to prevent further harm.

And suddenly, the whole idea of forgiveness becomes a release, doesn’t it? I can let go of the hurt, the resentment, the grief. I can move forward. But, crucially, I can learn from it, too. I can choose not to put myself back in the firing line. I can remove myself from the situation without anger or judgement. I can replace those negative feelings with a universal love for my fellow human beings. And I can move on.

Hatred, he says, never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed.

Put simply, and as implausible as it may at first appear, I can love my aggressors from a safe distance. Because when the realisation is fully absorbed that we all make mistakes, that we are all flawed human beings, that we all hurt, that we can learn from both the hurting and the being hurt, that from all these experiences we can grow… where is there room for hatred? How are we different? Simply through our choices. Through how we choose to act or react. Whether we choose to remain locked into the negative and growth-inhibiting cycle of blame, recrimination, victimhood and hurt, or to face it head on, feel it in its awful, amazing, painful, essential entirety; learn

… and grow.


Day 7: Forgiveness and Personal Responsbility

Periodically, I come back to forgiveness. And each time I do, and prod it a little, gingerly, just at the edges at first, to see if it’s still tender, the quality is subtly different.

With time, growth, life, love, trust, things change…

We all have a story.

We all have someone to forgive.

But why do we find it so damned *hard*?

I have a suspicion that it all comes down to victim consciousness again. Whilst, I think we can all agree that we want to forgive and move on with our lives, that harbouring resentment is at best unhelpful, something keeps us there, locked into the battle, holding onto that resentment which stops us really forgiving…

We don’t want to let them off the hook

It becomes easy to say “I’m over it. I’ve moved on.” But have we really moved on if it still resurfaces when we think or talk about the object of our potential forgiveness? If thinking about them brings difficult feelings surging to the surface, there is still work to do.

Allow me to share a little of my own experience. After all, I feel I’ve rather run the gauntlet of the victim consciousness – anger and resentment – impotence – acceptance – compassion – forgiveness spectrum over the last half decade (almost)… Well, actually, if I am to be brutally honest, I think I’ve probably been a victim my entire life, until quite recently. I very clearly remember telling ‘my story’ to an older ‘mature’ student friend at university. A lot. And feeling very sorry for myself. And that was half my lifetime ago… She was a kind listener, sympathetic, and I was grateful, but looking back now I cringe rather. I wonder, a little, if it might not have been better for me to tell me to start looking forward, to stop dwelling on the past, to focus on what I do have in my life and release the fantasy experience I felt I should have had… But maybe that, too, is ungenerous. If everything happens when it is supposed to…

As I said, we all have a story. And those stories evolve and transmute over time. Mine involves pretty much every member of my immediate family, and I think that forgiveness is especially difficult if you feel ‘wronged’ by people you feel ‘are supposed’ to love you. (It is perhaps the subject for another day, the belief in the story… Why are they supposed to love you? Why was it wrong? And with deep examination of even these questions, presumptions about our entire lives, our whole worldview, it all begins to unravel). Over the last years I have really struggled with the concept of forgiveness. I had always understood (without giving it much examination) that if you follow a spiritual path, then surely forgiveness shouldn’t be difficult? Well… that was what I thought. But I don’t any more. I don’t think it is something you can just do. I don’t think it comes until you are ready. Until you have processed your life experience, until you have raged, grieved and let it go. In other words, I think that forgiveness is a kind of organic by-product of working through victim consciousness. When you stop blaming everyone else for the way you feel…

…Hang on. Let me stop there and examine that. What I didnt say was
“When you stop blaming everyone else for what they have done“, but
“When you stop blaming everyone else for the way you feel“…

Because these two things, I suspect, tend to meld in our minds into one. But they are so distinct. You cannot control what other people do. They may set out to hurt you on purpose, or simply hurt you incidentally. How it is done is secondary. What is important is your hurt. Because only you can control that part. You can choose to let it hurt you, or you can choose not to. It is fine to be flummoxed by someone else’s behaviour, words or actions. Every day, in this world, I witness things, the motivation for which I simply cannot fathom. Being confused or baffled by other people is almost an inevitable part of life. Taking their actions personally is the part that we can control.

The simple truth is that deliberately setting out to hurt someone else can only really hurt you. The buck stops with you. Your behaviour is under your control and no one else’s. So blaming your actions on extraneous circumstances simply doesn’t wash, does it? And if you hurt someone else because you acted without thinking, or insensitively, the buck still stops with you.

But we are talking about both sides of the coin here, aren’t we? Hurting and being hurt. If you act out of genuine compassion and love, without judgment, with integrity,Β mindfully, it would be enormously difficult to hurt someone (I’d like to say impossible…) And if you believe that everyone is following their own path, that everyone has their own lessons to learn, and that those lessons necessarily take them on routes that give them choices; that you might not like those choices (which are choices that they make for their own lessons, after all), but you don’t take their choices personally, then you can’t be hurt either… Does that make sense?

I tested my theory today, during my meditation. I prodded that hurt part of me very gently to see if it still hurt. I summoned into my mind the person with whom I have the longest history of hurt, whose victim I have allowed myself to be for the greatest time, and I found love. Not affection or fondness, I should add. I think that may be a bridge too far. Too personal. More a universal love for a fellow flawed human being. But more pertinently to this point today, not hurt or anger. Nothing difficult or edgy.


I have let it go.

And if I, a victim for almost four decades, a mummy, a daughter, a partner, an ex-wife, a sister, a friend, can do it…

What are you waiting for?

Start now.

It’s time to live. πŸ™‚