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Ahimsa: The principle of nonviolence toward all living things.
“When nonviolence in speech, thought, and action is established, one’s aggressive nature is relinquished and others abandon hostility in one’s presence.” - Yoga Sutras
My second year of college, I was in a romantic relationship with someone who had a troubled past and carried a lot of trauma, which I sympathized with. Because of the baggage we each carried, the relationship was very unhealthy—physically and emotionally abusive, both ways. My eyes had been opened to “the way people are” and “how the world works,” which, at the time, was cynical and dark.
I felt like no one could truly understand how I was feeling and what I was going through because they hadn’t experienced what I had been through.
I developed chronic anxiety and clinical depression, which carried on years after that relationship had ended. I had grown to generally distrust people, seeing the dark side of everyone. Everything other people said or did, even if they were coming from a place of good will, was met with suspicion from me. I felt like no one could truly understand how I was feeling and what I was going through because they hadn’t experienced what I had been through.
I was impatient, easily irritated, short tempered, just generally angry and frustrated all the time. I became violent in my thoughts and, in turn, my actions and words. I would cry, yell, steal, throw things. It got to a point where I became physically and emotionally abusive in my my next romantic relationship… It was as if I were doing all of this, hurting others, so that others would understand how hurt I was.
Because I felt hurt myself, I ended up pushing a lot of people away and hurting the people who mean the most to me.
One day, my parents were so concerned that they drove 400 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles in order to take me to the hospital. My best friend from high school abandoned me because I was so destructive and not receptive of her help. Because I felt hurt myself, I ended up pushing a lot of people away and hurting the people who mean the most to me. Because I felt alone in my thoughts and feelings, I ended up becoming even more lonely.
...that awareness of myself- how my thoughts, feelings, and behavior were affecting those around me... motivated me to get better and heal myself from the trauma I had experienced.
Looking back, it’s easy to see this cycle of trauma causing loneliness causing hurting others causing even more trauma causing even more loneliness. I’m grateful my friends and ex-boyfriend were able to step away from my destructiveness because I wouldn’t have become aware of this cycle... and it’s that awareness of myself—how my thoughts, feelings, and behavior were affecting those around me, that truly motivated me to get better and heal myself from the trauma I had experienced.
My yoga practice helped me release any thoughts that would trigger negative feelings of the past. Taking that action of doing something I love, for myself, was a form of self-love that I was truly lacking. It doesn’t have to be yoga, but when we do things out of self-love (eating dessert, working out, reading, writing, getting our nails done, etc.) we start to feel and receive love more effortlessly.
Once we stop hurting ourselves, we stop hurting others. Once we stop hurting others, others stop hurting us. Those years of depression, I was waiting for someone to shed a light on my dark, cynical view of the world. I wanted someone or something to prove me wrong, but I didn’t realize that I was fully capable of shedding my own light and even spreading that light onto others.
Law of Attraction: Be what you want to attract.