There’s been two instances this week that have evoked the same thought in me and tested my mindfulness. Both times the first reaction was pure instinct — to push back in retaliation. But I’m working on myself. Working on being more wag and less bark.

The first instance was that something that I had planned on occurring, failed to occur. I had worked toward it. Worked hard under the limits that I have. I can’t do things quite like others; I’m always having to alter it to fit my capabilities and how I’m feeling that day with my health. But I adapted and I thought I had overcome and things were coming together. Then I received word that all that I had done was for naught. I admit my first reaction was not something I’m proud to admit. That knee-jerk scorch-the-earth reaction was teetering close to being done with it all, but I had to pull back and assess.

The people I felt were responsible didn’t do it maliciously. They don’t know me. I’m only a random drop on their radar. There was no ill intent. It was just business. Once I calmed myself and pulled myself up from my depressed boot-straps, I could see that clearly.

Then days later, a person that I had held in high esteem, someone I once considered a friend, took the time to publicly shame me. They took something that I was proud of and responded in such a passive aggressive way that, again, my first instinct was to lash out — hurt them as they had hurt me. But then I stepped away. I meditated on it. I backed away from everyone and everything for a little while, looked inward, and realized that this was the second instance that the universe was teaching me a vital truth.

To paraphrase a popular affirmation, “Striving for success for one person doesn’t mean less success for you, it’s not pie”. There are so many people in this wonderful city, in all walks of life, that do the same thing as you do. We can look at that as competition and undermine them, or we can rejoice in a larger canvas for our passion and help raise them up. I could sink and undermine, throwing passive aggressive snipes here and there, or I can breathe positivity outward and continue to revel in being above that.

It’s not pie. We are all trying to be the best versions of ourselves. Whether we have spent decades on a mat, or whether we are new, we are all still on the mat. We have the same goals and aspirations.

Other people lighting a candle to walk their path doesn’t make your light shine any less. Welcome everyone’s light, because they’re all different. And that difference is where the beauty lies.

Tina Samuels, a native of Rome, is a local yoga instructor and shiatsu bodywork therapist. Readers can contact her at www.romebodyworkandwellness.com.