October 22, 2013

The passing of Passive Aggressiveness

This morning I had a realization that I no longer practice passive aggressiveness. This was something I use to do - get frustrated, angry and then take it out on the person by punishing them. Sometimes they didn't even know they were being punished. But really I was punishing myself because it hurt my heart and soul to be mean.

I think that bad practice ended for a few reasons. First and foremost it is because I love myself and don't feel angry or like a victim who has no control over my life. I take accountability for my choices, even if I am not always happy with the situation or the results. This comes with maturity.

The passing is also a result of yoga. This is a practice of releasing to find extension, flexibility and relief. With that there is no room for aggressiveness because it causes mental and physical stress in an asana. Plus, as a budding yoga instructor your heart has to be open to feel compassion. I would also say that this 10-week personal practice of developing Emotional Intelligence is helping me recognize the absence of a bad habit by becoming more self-aware.

I think that passive aggressiveness, for me, was the result of feeling as though I had no voice. It was the sense that others were not hearing me and of me not expressing my needs and not hearing myself. With self-love comes self-recognition. I have no need to send secret, angry messages to myself or others.

It is like a veil has been lifted. I can see and feel more clearly. Plus, I can see passive aggressive behavior in others. It is in their choice of hurtful or victim words, perspectives on situations, body language, and choice of behaviors. When I see this in people I don't get mad, I feel compassion and empathize with their situation because it is so familiar - I was there too. I want to help them find relief. Perhaps this is my path as a college professor and as a yoga instructor. Knowledge and self-awareness are that relief because through them you have choices.

When someone is passive aggressive with me, I try to talk with them about it. This is the next step in my practice because I don't love confrontation. However, their pain becomes an attack to try and hurt me or someone else. This results in a circle of violence which can be stopped. Gandhi's quote comes to mind, "be the change you want to see in the world." Let's hug it out, not thug it out.