Chapter 5: Work On Yourself First
Excerpt from You Have Chosen to Remember: A Journey of Self-Awareness, Peace of Mind and Joy by James Blanchard Cisneros.
Another example of how I have untrained my ego-self and aligned myself more with my Godself is in forgiving people immediately. Whenever someone, even a friend, was sarcastic or said something mean to me, I immediately responded by saying or thinking something sarcastic or mean in return. I’m sure that you have joked with friends, only to cross the line where you teased them with a statement that made everyone laugh. Everyone laughed, including you and your friend, but deep inside you felt bad for having made your friend the butt of the joke, and you felt that he or she, deep inside, was hurt. There are even times when you’re angry with someone, so you choose to hurt that person with words. You use a sarcastic, indirect statement that outwardly does not sound bad, but inwardly you know it has stung the person. You could use the excuse that this is how people interact with each other; you could say to yourself that this simply is the way things are. I have also used these excuses. However, there came a time in my life when saying something that could be interpreted as hurtful or sarcastic by another became painful for me. I teased a friend with a statement, and everyone laughed, including the person being teased, but deep within I could feel his pain, and his pain became my pain. I again had to go deep within to ask myself for a better and more peaceful way of co-existing with my brother. Once again I clarified the goal, which was how I wanted to react in those instances and what I wanted to say in response to such comments. My goal became to obtain peace in such circumstances, extend it to all those around me, and be equally funny but without using sarcasm.
At first, it was not easy to allow those cheap shots to go undefended, especially when I had a beautiful comeback. But interestingly enough, I felt much better for not defending myself against cheap shots and simply forgave my friends. Whenever I began to feel hurt, I simply forgave. I forgave and I was set free from the cheap shot. I forgave the insult and backhanded compliment, and became free from them. When an easy, sarcastic, cheap shot came to my mind, even when I thought it was funny, I simply kept it to myself, reminded myself that this was not who I wanted to be and released the thought. Although it might have been funny, I knew it would also bring pain. Inwardly, I felt very good about what I was doing. If a sarcastic thought came to mind that I knew had the possibility of hurting someone, I simply corrected it in my mind before letting it out. Interestingly enough, people who took cheap shots at me in the name of humor began apologizing for their comments. If they did not apologize, I could look deep within them and feel their regret for expressing the comment. After hearing the comment, I would always inwardly and sometimes outwardly forgive the individual, and by doing so I was released from feeling the sting. It almost became part of the norm and people would look at us funny whenever one of my friends forgave another for making a humorous but mean-spirited comment. I must admit that I was quickly forgiven a couple of times for jabs I took at friends, and I must say my friends found that when they forgave me it was extremely funny. Now if you were ever to walk into a restaurant or bookstore and see a bunch of people sitting around a table, laughing and forgiving each other, don’t be apprehensive – it’s just us.
In the end, I ended my use of sarcasm, yet I was just as funny, but not at anyone’s expense. My heart reminded me that humor, if expressed at someone else’s expense, wasn’t humor but hurtful. When I learned to follow my heart and align myself with God, not only was my humor more appreciated, but I also became more at peace with myself.
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