My philosophy stems from the idea of taking personal responsibility for one’s emotional experience. I think of myself as “at cause” in my own internal world so to speak. So when it comes to any negative feelings I may be experiencing about the world around me, I look within and at myself first, to see which thoughts are connected to those feelings and how I can change my own mind, with a view of changing my perspective, which in turn changes my experience. That is what was behind my last comment to you. So if I were in your shoes and I found myself looking around at the people in my world and finding imperfection almost everywhere I looked, and it caused me emotional pain, my first step would be to look within to begin changing course. If I wanted to feel better, that is.
Let’s take the example you gave of the librarian shouting at the students about the books they touched. Your belief about this was “the librarian did a wicked thing by shouting at the students and that she had no right to do that”. Ok, if I were in your shoes, the first thing I’d do is look inside to see how I felt when I believed that. I’d ask myself a series of questions: Did I feel angry? Scared? Generally upset? How do those feelings make themselves known physically in my body? Do I feel the upset in my shoulders or in my chest or in my stomach? Then I’d ask myself to look at how I treat the woman I believe is responsible for my upset feelings. How do I look at her? How do I talk to her? And so on. Taking note of all of this raises awareness and allows you to detach from the thoughts and feelings generating upset within you. The next step I’d take would be to question the belief I emboldened. Is this belief true? Did the librarian do a wicked thing? How do I know for sure that it was wicked? Was it wicked only from my own perspective, since it’s obvious that the librarian didn’t think that shouting at the children was a wicked thing to do. More importantly, why am I judging her? Who am I to judge someone else as wicked, to determine what is right and wrong for the librarian?
After questioning myself along those lines, I’d move to what Byron Katie calls the turnaround. And by that I mean I’d take the belief that I have emboldened above and turn it around to apply to myself, like this: “I did a wicked thing by shouting at the librarian in my mind and I had no right to do that.” Of course, you did not literally shout at her in your mind. I am describing your judgment of her action in metaphoric terms. When I declare someone else as wicked, when I judge someone else’s deeds, I feel it on the inside as pain. When I move to acceptance, however long that takes (and in my own case, it can take a while sometimes!), I feel more peaceful, more in alignment with the world around me, and more available for joy. And all of that can happen within me without saying a word to the librarian!
Please don’t take any of the above to mean that I am condoning anyone’s unkindness. I wasn’t there, so I don’t know how unkind the librarian actually was, but she appeared unkind in your experience so I’m taking your word for it. It’s not about labeling someone else. It’s about moving back to a state of peace and harmony within yourself. Also, don’t take what I am saying to suggest that you should keep quiet about treatment you consider harmful to others. You can call someone on their unkind behavior from a place of internal peace. If that’s what you want.
And since this post is a doozy, I’ll quit now. I’m just going to add that being surrounded by people doesn’t mean you aren’t isolated. To observe that so many people around you aren’t as good as you are must be isolating, even if it’s just on an emotional level. I imagine it is difficult to connect with people who seem so problematic for you, especially when almost everyone you come across, with the exception of your family, is problematic. Even so, this is a free universe. You are free to experience life exactly as you want! I love that!!!