Turn the Other Cheek
‘Turn the Other Cheek!”
This is an incredibly old and wise statement, but it is also widely misinterpreted. Many believe that it means that once you’ve been smacked, turn your cheek so you can get smacked again! Does this seem wise? Does it seem sane? No, not really.
There is a deeper and more helpful psychology to this statement, so let’s delve in!
One of the main messages I share is that you are not a victim of others. You are strong, powerful and perfectly capable in every way. We all are!
When it comes to conflict with others this is where we have the opportunity to really show how resilient and powerful we can be! And we want to show this resiliency not just for ourselves, but as a demonstration of love and strength to the other party.
“Turn the other cheek” does not mean, “hit me again”, it actually means, “You cannot hurt me.” This is a huge distinction!
If someone cannot hurt you and you tell them as much, then you are openly acknowledging their innate Spiritual innocence. Only the ego hurts others, so we want to remind others and ourselves that we are not the ego and that the ego cannot affect us. This helps greatly with undoing us from ego identification and is very healthy for the collective psyche!
If we decide to remain a “victim” then we are amplifying the ego in ourselves and others. Also, when we judge someone as guilty and punish them, we are only making the feeling of guilt stronger within them and the consequences of this are not so pretty. Sadness, self-hate, shame, embarrassment, hatred, revenge and the like all stem from this place of “you did me wrong!” So, we are again, amplifying the ego in ourselves and others because it is only our egos that would make someone feel guilty and it is only our egos that would accept that ego judgment as true. We amplify their guilt by responding to their negative behaviour and seeing it as a real attack upon us. But, this is an ego trap we don’t want to step into for it puts us in a place of being a victim and them as victimizers.
We quite simply need to be stronger than that!
I once had someone who was very upset with me, and they let me know about it. Although I felt that they were unjustified in their feelings, I did recognize very clearly that they were in a bad place. There was a lot going on in their life and although I was admittedly hurt by their feelings about me, I knew they were also in mental pain and I didn’t want to contribute to that pain and make my own pain worse. So, in my email reply to them I wrote, “Your opinion of me does not affect my opinion of myself. Your opinion of me does not affect my opinion of you.” I reminded them that I do like them and care about their feelings and that I would not take any part in this negativity, but when they were ready to speak in a calm manner, I was absolutely willing to have that calm and loving conversation.
We need to rise above the ego temptation to say “poor me” because if we remain in victim-mode, no healing occurs. No good and no healing would have come from me feeling like a victim of that person. I knew that in the interest of peace, I had to rise above my own pain with forgiveness in my heart, in order to see their life situation and that they were not a mean person, they were a hurt person.
Negative moments can easily be used for what they are truly for, healing.
Negativity can catapult us to a place of higher awareness, where we recognize our inner strength. But, we will never heal if we are too busy being a victim and making someone else feel guilty.
The biggest thing to know that will help with turning the other cheek is the remembrance that hurt people hurt. So those who do lash out at us are coming from a place of self-pain. Never discount this, because it is true. We all know what it’s like to be in a place of mental anguish; we are sensitive, reactionary and vulnerable. In this state we require patience and compassion from those around us in order to help us through it, and others deserve the same from us when they are going through something, whether we know them personally, or not.
We can certainly learn to handle negativity differently, better and in a solution-focused, non-accusatory manner. And this all begins with turning the other cheek!
Love and Peace,