A Guide To NOT Punching People (And Maybe Even Liking Them)

Motion blurred pedestrians on zebra crossing

You are walking down the crowded streets. Everyone shuffling along like herds of cattle with you among them. People all around you talking, yelling, bumping you, racing past you.

There are thousands of people all around you and yet you notice none of them. They are simply a backdrop to you. Why? Because you are so wrapped up in your own thoughts, what is going on in your head, where you need to go, what you are doing, your problems and worries.

You feel annoyed at all the people around you. They are nothing more then a disruption to the endless play going on in your mind. Everyone around is just background noise, talking, yelling, laughing. Someone bumps into you. Gets in YOUR way, interrupts YOUR thoughts, disrupts YOUR mental dialogue with yourself. You think about how that person is inconsiderate of you, is an asshole, maybe you even want to punch that person.

Rarely do you see other people around you as anything more then an obstacle in your way.

Your daily problems, thoughts, issues, worries, and desires are all infinitely louder and seem more important then anything or anyone around you. This is how I used to suffer walking through the streets of NYC and how many people suffer everyday.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was actually the cause of a lot of my anger and anxiety. And of course I didn’t realize it because I was too caught up in all the bullshit going on in my head. It wasn’t I met a Buddhism teacher who opened me up to world outside of my mind. And man, what a better world it is.

Why are we like this?

Simply put, you’re selfish. And it’s understandable.

Everything in your life happens from your perspective.

Everything you experience happens from your point of view. It happens in front of you, behind you, next to you, through your eyes, what you see, your thoughts and interpretations, your senses, your mind.

So it’s natural that we are so selfish. It is also easy to see why other people piss us off so much. People appear to get in your way, disrupt your thoughts, what you are doing, and are more often viewed as obstacles rather then fellow humans. We criticize, judge, scold, and label others.

Ok, so now that I have you thinking your a self-centered selfish human, what do you do about it? Or some may be asking, “why should I do something about it?”

Looking outside yourself:

First off, I hate to take away from your “unique” sense of self, but your problems, suffering, worries, anger are NOT unique or special.

Everyone around you is fighting a fight in their mind that you know nothing about it.

99 problems

Almost everyone walking down that street is also wrapped up in their own minds, warring with their own similar problems the same way you are, but on the flip side, they are viewing you as the obstacle in their way. (Now who’s the asshole in the way, right?)

Intro the concept of “Be the healer”

A powerful concept that I learned that not only made me less anxious, angry, and annoyed at people around me, but actually had me happy and smiling at people around me, is called “be the healer.”

I know, i know, it may sound like some hippy, “lets all hold hands and love one another” crap, but this concept is amazing and had a huge impact on my level of happiness, helped with my anxiety, and own mental issues tremendously when it came to being around crowds of people.

Wether you know it or not, most of your suffering comes from your dislike or annoyance of other people around you and not of yourself. You say to yourself “people are mean, people are selfish, no one understands me and my problems, no one knows what I’m going through.”

People around you make you angry and anxious, which causes your suffering and negativity. So if we can feel good about everyone around us, we will feel good and positive ourselves. ***Mind explosions***

mind blown

The weirdest mind explosion GIF I could find

So if you really want to be different, unique, and happier (wild concept, I know) look at and feel the pain of others around you.

What am I talking about and how do you do this?

First, get out of your head and your own mental story.

When you are walking down the street, be present. Notice everyone around you, look at each individual that passes you by. I mean actually look at them. Look at their facial expressions, the way they carry themselves, how they walk, look them straight in the eyes and see them, smile at them (seriously).

Feel your connectedness with everyone around you. Feel their problems, their pain, their anger, their worries and anxiety (they all have them too).

Realize their problems are not so different then yours. Realize these people are not your enemy, they are not obstacles, in fact, they are your key to happiness.

This was a bit weird and uncomfortable for me at first and may be for many of you, but it gets easier and easier with practice.

The first thing I noticed when doing this is how pissed off, in pain, stressed, or worried most people around me really looked. I could really see people’s minds going frantic by their facial expressions and way they carried themselves.

Watch as you suddenly start viewing people less as objects and obstacles and more like fellow humans. Once you can see people as fellow humans, that have similar problems, pains, and struggles to you, you will feel calmer and happier around others because you no longer see them as objects.

My favorite experiences with this is a few times I’d be walking by someone who I could see was very caught in their mind. I would catch eyes with them, smile looking directly at them, and it’s like that person suddenly snapped out of a trance and came back to reality, usually smiling back. Watching that exact moment someone gets out of their own mental battle and connect back to reality is quite a cool thing to see.

Through out this, you may catch yourself wondering back into your head and back into your problems. That is okay. When you notice that, just re-direct your focus on everyone else.

Also realize that some days it will be easier to do this then other days. Some days this will be  difficult.

You may wake up after a lousy sleep, hungover, late for work, your boss yelled at you, your significant other is bitching about something you don’t understand, your neighbor’s dog shit on your lawn AGAIN, and the last thing you have in you is any amount of sympathy or positive feelings toward the human race.

Kanye

Kanye just aint in the mood to deal with people’s shit today

That is okay. BUT, and this is very important, you need to observe these negative feelings as they arise.  As you are walking down the street and these negative feelings arise (anger, anxiety, worry, whatever) notice them. Don’t judge yourself, label them, or get frustrated that you have these feelings. Dont fight these feelings or lie to yourself that you feel great.

Often times people will think “damnit I have been so good lately and now I have the urge to kick everyone in the teeth, I just can’t do this crap.” But don’t let yourself become consumed by this, just allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling, shine a light on it, observe the feeling and then try to focus your attention outwards.

This may all sound a bit strange and awkward, but this had more of a positive impact on me than I could have thought.

Try and let me know how it worked for you!

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