By Brittney Hiller
Recently our community experienced the eye-opening tragic consequences regarding bullying. Addressing the reality of bullying has become more prevalent in conversation — as it should — and anti-bullying campaigns have been streaming on social media. We want to get the word out that we do not stand for bullying.
One of my intentions in teaching yoga to young people is to help them understand they have the power to choose how they want to feel.
As the eldest sister of five girls, I want to create strength in my sisters’ personalities that will allow them to understand that other people’s opinions about them do not equal truth. In addition to my sisters, I hope to instill this in all the young people I have the honor of teaching in my yoga classes.
Honestly, I hope to instill this in all of the people I teach because no matter what our age is, we have this wonderful power of choice. We have the ability to create our inner happiness, our positive thoughts, and our fantastic life. In knowing this, we are able to understand that what others may say to us or about us does not equal what is true — nor does it have to cause us negative feelings.
The old saying: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never hurt me” rings true as we are each blessed with the power of choice. To choose happiness even in the turmoil of other’s negative opinions may seem daunting, especially when we begin to believe that everyone must feel the same way about us, which is simply untrue.
Going through an experience of losing a job I loved, I believed everyone was against me and felt that everyone who worked with me, who were my friends, were now taking sides against me. The powerful lesson I learned from this was to rise above my own deceptive thoughts and choose happiness, choose to learn the lesson life has given me and to move on. I was thankful to learn years later that my thoughts were incorrect — people were not against me — I was indeed welcomed with open arms by those I thought had turned their backs.
“Perception is reality” is a phrase my husband loves to use. Although there is some truth to it, we must also remember that perception is malleable — it can and does change. Perhaps your perception of another deems them to be rude and arrogant. This perception you have created towards this person rings true, but only for you. After your perception is made, you may begin to spread this idea to others thereby creating a perception for them. Notice what you are doing: you are not speaking truth, it is only your opinion of another, yet you are creating a wild fire of negative thoughts toward that person all because of one bad experience.
Perhaps we can try something new by shifting our perceptions geared toward others to first include a positive thought, even if we are angry with them. Look at another through the eyes of love and compassion and prevent the reactive outburst, the harsh punches of opinion, and the words that hurt. Often when we use words that hurt we are only speaking out loud the fears that we have about ourselves.
Radiate love and compassion to others and notice your life change. Shift your perception of others to the idea that we are all one — we are all in this together — and notice how you begin to significantly treat others how you want to be treated.
I have a simple challenge: Take 30 days to do one act of kindness a day for someone you don’t know and notice how you feel toward others at the end. I guarantee you will notice a shift. Let me know how your experience goes, I bet it will not only surprise you, but you may notice that kindness is the key to being cool!
Brittney Hiller is known as one of the happiest Yoginis — she has practiced yoga for over a decade and can be found at every yoga studio in Beaufort. Visit her website at www.brittneyhilleryoga.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.