I remember in high school, it only took one bad apple to totally disrupt a class. I’ve always enjoyed learning and I was raised to be respectful of everyone. But you have these kids that weren’t raised with the same values, beliefs, and ideals. In fact, they had no values, beliefs, or ideals. They may have had single parent homes or disfunctional homes full of substance abuse and neglect.
When you get to the core of a person, you can easily find how true to themselves they are. I would say for everyone, be a passenger in someone’s car in heavy traffic. Many times, that’s where the rubber meets the road. You start to find about their patience, their anger, and how they order their thoughts. They can be the nicest person on the planet when they are among their peers. But they can be raving lunatics behind the wheel.
Many people are like politicians. They put up a good performance up front. But don’t even think about catching them behind the stage. They end up ripping their staff apart and generally have a very terrible disposition.
Another key to character? How does a person treat service people? I knew a lady a while back who always seemed so sweet. But then I saw how she treated waitresses and other desk staff who provided a service to the public. It was like the staff wasn’t even human. They were just robots who bring you stuff. The lack of eye contact and general disregard was unfathomable. I saw this in other places of her life as well. It really wasn’t a good look for her.
Over lunch today, I was standing in line to get a slice of pizza at Sam’s Club. When I saw how an elderly lady treated the attendant made me remind myself "Don’t treat people poorly when I get older". Just because you are old doesn’t give you any special rights to be rude. Nobody has the right to be a butthead.
I saw this video of a little girl with her mom. Her mom was having an argument with the clerk at a drug store. The little girl started yelling "shuck the F*%$ up!" Mind you, I never cussed as a kid nor did my parents. So cursing isn’t something I’m easy with. And I also respected my elders. I would never think of doing something like that. Not only that, but the mother wasn’t shocked at all by her toddler’s behavior. It was almost like it was encouraged. I mean, there is something wrong with this world when that can happen.
So back to my original thought before getting side-tracked. A negative bully or belligerent imbecile can totally bring down a classroom, athletic team, or any group of people. But a positive person can do the opposite. They can uplift, inspire, and enlighten. A person with that strong of a light can shine even into the darkness of an evil person. Its amazing how that works. Its harder to be dark in that situation.
This idea was very prevalent in my studies of Thai yoga massage. But its also true in my yoga classes. I’m always keen on making sure my attitude is in the right place before I teach a class. No matter what negative circumstances have happened in the hours before a class, I need to clear my mind and meditate and breathe. Its never acceptable for me to bring that into my class. Its true with Thai yoga massage too. Maybe even more so. Since the receiver is passively accepting the energy I provide, it had better be positive energy. There cannot be even a small pocket of darkness inside of me before I begin. I totally believe that you can transfer negative energy, just like in the examples above.
I’ve been around a lot of athletes and soldiers in my life. A lot of this mumbo jumbo I talk about would have never gone over well with most of them. Amazingly, endeavors like martial arts are totally counter to other combat arts like boxing or wrestling. Martial arts, yoga, and other mind-body connected practices accept ideas of energy and, if I can say, spirit. My journey in life has been a pendulum because I have experienced the greatest swings from yin to yang, soft to hard, passive to aggressive. And in the end, I found that balance is key. A totally yin, passive, empathic person can easily be walked upon and treated poorly. While a yang, aggressive, self-centered person can trample without even knowing the harm they do. There is a time and place for every emotion. Finding the center with only occasional forays into the extremes is what most of us need in life.
When you enter a room, are you the darkness or are you the light? If you’re the former, accept goodness and positivity without draining the person or room full of people. If you are the light, shine strongly without being arrogant or overwhelming. Give in small doses so it can be absorbed into the skin in a measured way.