Of the many crazy things that my high-school history teacher used to say, one has stuck with me throughout the years: “My liberty ends where yours begins”. Simply put, we can do anything we want, as long as we do not harm the other. This, however, may not be as clear-cut as it seems.
We sometimes get stuck in the victim mentality, and we believe everything that happens to us is a given fact that we have little or no say about, and therefore must bear through it and take it for what it is. The immense amount of bad things and injustices we allow into our lives, we allow happening to us, are mainly another twisted form of fear.
We don’t challenge the status quo because we fail to see the way forward and we have no hope in the betterment of our situation. Which is precisely why we accept and obey whatever we imagine the Universe wants to put us through, not setting boundaries, not stating our position and enforcing our standards.
Being a victim is allowing and inviting the aggressor to pursue their hurtful behaviours, for lack of clarity and lack of courage to stand up for what we deserve. Which in turn comes from a lack of self-knowledge, self-awareness and self-confidence.
I remember my first meditation, when I became aware of the vastness of my aura. I had never thought or imagined that my being spreads far beyond the limits of my physical body. And there it was, surrounding me with a halo of warm light, filling the room, filling the whole town, filling the entire world and expanding into the universe. My aura. My beautiful, strong, nurturing, impeccable, divinely designed energetic field, which had the capacity to encompass everything around it. I was absolutely mesmerised.
Therefore, I understood that my liberty ends where my awareness of who I am ends, and the more distorted my self-perception is, the more I allow someone else’s liberty to fill up the available space between us. Said differently, by not being in our power, we give our power to an external source, and we then become so used to the energetic cage we trap ourselves in, that we turn completely oblivious to what our initial boundaries had been.
Many people understand karma as some kind of cosmic ass-whooping, when, in fact, karma is more of an energetic slingshot, which comes back and smacks you in the face, when you have pulled too hard and have not respected the rules of physics … or common sense. Sometimes, it is our resistance or resilience that we pull on far too hard, and karma is there to raise awareness and make us understand that being stubborn in carrying too heavy of a burden is also a form of hybris.
That is a difficult task even for the people who are doing a lot of self-work, self-healing and self-development. Sometimes, when we have awakened to our own contribution to our misery, we start re-assessing our boundaries and claiming our rights. Yet, I have seen this often lately, with the brilliant women in my life, and with myself. Once we notice something that we are displeased with or hurt by and we speak up, we immediately feel guilty or at the least uncomfortable.
My good friend tells me on a weekly basis: “I think I was mean”, and then goes ahead to describe a situation in which she had simply reinforced her own position and standards about the interaction with another person, who had clearly disregarded any boundaries. And it amazes me at times that an intelligent and introspective person as herself could ever doubt that her actions were just and justified.
The other day, my sister said the same, after having clarified her intentions concerning her own life and her decisions for the upcoming period, when she needs to invest all her energy into herself and the construction of her own path, therefore not having any to spare for the people who claim it as their legitimate right and property.
I have busted myself several times saying I was “bitchy”, when I had simply stated my standards, in full awareness that I had been very kind and considerate and that my requirements or observations were not in the slightest absurd or unfitting. Yet the fear of hurting someone else’s feelings was much stronger than the truth that I had to stand up for, although I understand it’s the only way to solve the situation which had brought me discomfort or distress, and I am grateful that I am becoming more and more committed to being self-nurturing and faithful to my truth.
On a different note, one of my recurrent reflections lately is related to the ways in which we often seek instant gratification and end up being self-harming, because we need to evade from our overall dissatisfaction with the life we live. Alcohol, drugs, excessive eating, these are all ways to award ourselves for making it through another day. I have however come to realise that true, pure happiness will never be found in things which are intrinsically harmful.
This is not to say that I will not enjoy my occasional gin and tonic, my night out or my box of chocolates. I will however be aware that instead of doing that, I might want to sit in meditation position, get to know my aura, explore my limits and my needs, act upon them and only then reward myself with a nice treat. The gratification will be all the more intense, for I will have acted from a place of strength and self-love.