We all have problems. We are all insecure, we have all experienced pain and tragedy in our lives. Somehow, though, it all comes down to perspective; and, even more importantly, ego. We as humans tend to focus on ourselves rather than what’s going on around us. We tend to have a very narrow view of the world. When we’re hurting we desperately try to place blame.

I don’t deserve this. 

If they hadn’t hurt me, I would be fine. 

I can’t believe someone could actually treat me this way.

What we fail to realize is that everyone around us is also living a very real, and sometimes scary, reality. And isn’t that all that reality is? What you are going through? My reality will never be yours, as yours will never be mine. In retrospect it seems like an easy concept. Everyone is reacting out of their own reality. But our egos won’t let us see it that way. To us, it appears that someone is hurting us on purpose, when really they’re just taking precautions to protect themselves. We hurt each other out of self preservation. And that’s not completely inaccurate. Our minds—our egos—are designed to protect us from any damage it may foresee, whether that be emotional or physical. We can’t help but assume that those around us are are hurting us out of intention, when really they’re just trying to survive.

Not taking offense to what goes on around us is incredibly hard. In words it sounds easy, but really we’re hardwired to believe that everything is an attack. If our loved ones make a request that contradicts how we feel, we make an excuse and become defensive. When someone calls us out and forces us to face our own demons often times we shut down. We don’t handle criticism well. We grow up being told we can do and be whatever our heart desires. But is that fair? Is that fair to those we’re hurting? We’re essentially raised to be selfish creatures. We’re raised to believe the only person who matters is us. But I don’t believe that. In fact, I refuse to believe that.

No one is born evil. And while I’m still learning to not take offense to what happens around me, I am aware that everyone has tendencies that they’ve developed out of a need for survival. It has nothing to do with me. If I internalize it, then it doesn’t change the cycle. In the end, if someone is repeatedly hurting me—if a stranger lashes out for what seems like no good reason—chances are they’re being triggered by something that has absolutely nothing to do with me. I’ve done it. I’ve become angry over assumptions and become lost in what I thought was going on rather than what was. Truly, we cannot assume that people are attacking us for no reason. They have a reason, and even if that reason has nothing to do with you it is still very real to them. We can’t judge someone for something we don’t understand. And we can’t take everything so personally.

Love each other. Realize that what is happening around you and to you is more than just what you perceive. Remove your ego. Place yourself in compassion and empathy. Not everything is as it seems.

“Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.” -Nikos Kazantzakis

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