Beyond Behavior – Seeing the Innocence
I have often heard myself or someone else say: ‘Don’t mind Vicky, he didn’t know what he was doing.”? I was actually getting exposed to the wisdom of “going beyond behavior.”
I have children and I very well know the importance of this simple act of forgiveness. If we all had based our love on our children’s behavior, then perhaps none of us would ever have been loved when we were young!
There are many times when you face a situation where someone you love very much just behaves so unreasonable or irrational. I think we need to look beyond behavior and extend this same loving-kindness toward everyone we meet?
I believe we would be then living in a more loving world if, when someone acted in a way that we don’t approve of, we could see their actions in a similar light as our teenager’s offbeat behavior?
I am not saying that we walk around ignorant and pretend that everything is always wonderful and allow others to “walk all over us”, or that we excuse or approve of negative behavior.
I simply mean that we must have a perspective to give others benefit of doubt. It is about knowing when someone around you is moving slowly, is disinterested, he is probably having a bad day, or perhaps he thinks all his days are bad.
When your spouse or close friend snaps at you, try to understand that, beneath this isolate act, your loved one really wants to love you, and to feel loved by you. We must look beyond behavior. It is not easy but you can try. It does give some good results.
One of the most frustrating aspects of life is not able to understand other people’s behavior. I have often seen them as “guilty” instead of “innocent.” It is alluring to focus on people’s irrational behavior – their actions, their comments, mean-spirited acts, selfish conduct – and get extremely frustrated.
I believe we focus too much on behavior and it does make our life miserable.
People do weird things – who doesn’t? But we are the ones getting upset, so I trust we are the ones who need to change. Am I talking about ignorance, acceptance, or advocating violence or any other deviant behavior? Well NO! I am talking about learning to be less bothered by the actions of people.
Seeing innocence could be a transformation tool which means that when someone is acting in a way we don’t like, the best way to deal with it is to distance ourselves from the behavior and look beyond it, so that we see the innocence and the root cause of the behavior. Does that make us more compassionate then? Well YES!
I have lived and worked with people who had absolutely irrational behavior. If I had focused on the words they used, their tone of voices, and their body language, I could have got annoyed or even angry in my responses. I could see them as ‘guilty”.
But I looked beyond this and then it allowed me to see the innocence in their behavior. Truth underneath even the most vexing behavior is a frustrated person who is crying out for compassion.
So I believe that we all must look for innocence & look beyond behavior. Be compassionate and we will not find it hard to see the innocence. When you see it the same things that irritate you or have frustrated you no longer cease to exist.
And moreover when you are not frustrated by the actions of others, it a lot easier to stay happy and enjoy the beauty of life.
With grace and peace,
Dr. Vickram Aadityaa