A Bread Offering for Disrespect

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This post is a follow-up to Hope’s Wisdom Dialogues Episode Called Lifting the Veil, written by Gail Florence.

“Kung binato ka ng bato, batuhin mo ng tinapay’’ – A Tagalog proverb

The quote above is a Filipino’s way of expressing compassion. Literally, it describes a situation where if a person throws a rock at you, you throw a piece of bread back to him. This saying is oftentimes mentioned in Filipino religious classes and sermons on the topic of kindness. As a Christian country, it is an implication of Jesus’ unconditional love to everyone even to those who insulted, doubted and disrespected him.

A freshly baked bread after the insult….

If this quote is a real scenario now, it is a big question who can avenge oneself by tossing back a piece of bread if he was hurt by someone’s stone-throwing. Definitely, our attack-mode will automatically make us move sans our consciousness. Perhaps, some of us would throw back the same stone and intentionally aim where the person could get hurt, too. Some would even find a bigger stone, shout back, punch the person, call the police and do all sorts of things as defense. However, it could be a handful to none or zero at all who would just give the person of piece of freshly baked bread after the insult done.

Then, again, it is taking things literally. In our day-to-day encounters, what we experience is disrespect. It is a relative concept. For parents, rudeness is equal to kids answering in informal language. So, telling them, “I am no friend of yours. Don’t talk to me that way.” It can also be kids doing silly gestures, banging bedroom doors or throwing their stuffed toys. Meanwhile, in the office, disrespect has a wide spectrum from a boss flipping reports because he is frustrated, a coworker saying offensive things, and to a client’s non-stop invectives about product or service quality.

How we reach to situations?

It doesn’t mean we are in the wrong if we feel insulted or disrespected but it is for us to see how we react to such situations. Are we throwing back stones or pieces of bread? What can we do with our feelings when we know, if we continue seeing disrespect from others, we won’t feel happy at all?

For one thing, rather than watching others’ behavior as if we are waiting for their next move, we can watch our reaction instead. Our reaction will tell us we are resisting or embracing. Resisting will make us defensive while embracing will make us kind. When we are mindful of our reaction, we can take it as an opportunity to extend love.

People are not doing anything to us. However, our ego convinces us to attack their innocence when we perceive their behavior as disrespectful. So, we need to be mindful about our reactions. When we feel upset, we can acknowledge it and love it up. We heal through recognizing the upset feeling and we become very kind in return.

We are mirrors of each other…

When we believe our kids are disrespecting us, they are only revealing what we need to know by reflecting what we are keeping hidden about ourselves. This is because we are mirrors of each other, meaning our feelings are reflected by another through the sharing of energies. So, when we are watchful of our thoughts and emotions, we acknowledge them as opportunities for us to learn and heal rather than attacking back.

Healing is instant…

Healing is instant as long as we recognize our reactions, projections and illusions. The forgiveness taking place is as if nothing happened. We can always extend compassion rather than defenses and restrictions. So, we just need to watch ourselves and we will be guided with our movements and words. When we continuously practice this, we won’t be holding on to upset feelings as if they are reality. We can notice them and let them just flow out. What’s real are expressions of love and joy which are innate in us.

We can always choose between the light which makes us feel better, or the darkness which makes us feel guilty, depressed, and confused. We can change our perceptions of disrespect. We can throw stones or offer bread.

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