The person we want to be isn’t always the person we actually are at any given moment. When others reflect back to us those parts of ourselves we would prefer to ignore – it is painful. Many times we find feelings surfacing like resentment and annoyance that we’d prefer to think is not a part of who we really are. Yet Rumi reminds us in the poem ‘The Guest House’ – that we must entertain everybody!
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
-Rumi; translation by Coleman Barks