Let’s say you had a bad day. You come home and your kids left dishes in the sink or your partner never text you back to say, “I’m sorry you’re having a bad day, how can I make it better?”
So, you lash out at them for their insensitivity or lack of consideration. That’s what they’re there for, right? To pick you up when you’re feeling bad. To make things “better”.
Sorry friend, but that’s wrong as hell…
It’s easy to say, “You made me feel shitty because you did…”. Or tell yourself if they were really a good (insert title), they should know what to do (or not do.)
Blaming or putting responsibility for your feelings onto anyone else other than yourself is toxic, for several reasons. Here's two...
Instead, here are some facts:
All of the things you “expect” from others when it relates to how you feel or see yourself, is no one’s responsibility except YOURS. This is hard to change. But it’s not impossible.
First, stop believing your feelings are created by other people. It’s just not true! It’s the most nefarious belief you can have!!
Your feelings come from how you think about what is happening, AND (here's the kicker)...what you think about others is actually a reflection of your entitlement.
In other words, what you think about others is who you believe they are to you.
Conversely, when you have a solid identity and self-worth, it doesn’t matter what anyone does or says, because their behavior is a direct reflection of them. Their worth. Their beliefs.
(Doesn’t it feel SO much better to believe that people’s actions literally have nothing to do with you!?)
OK, but what about that boss that chewed you out? They’re an authority, right? Don’t you have to do what they say...?
Well maybe, but they’re also a human having a bad day. Is it fair, probably not? Does it mean you’re a terrible person bad at your job and you can’t do anything right? Definitely no.
Someone who has a healthy sense of worth understands this. And, when the time is right, she might go back and revisit the issue with the boss from a calm, confident place. Better yet, she has the potential to grow connections with people around her after conflict because she addresses things compassionately.
Sounds awesome, right?
You might be saying that’s easier said than done. And you’d be right...
Being brave enough to love yourself completely, regardless of others, is a courageous endeavor. It took me a long time. I had to collect a lot of “evidence” to believe I was enough, just as I am. It’s also something I still actively work on every day.
So, how do I do it??
1. When I feel the tinge of pity because of someone else’s actions, I stop and say, “What am I making their words/behavior mean about who I am?”
It instantly jolts me out of being the victim and puts me back in my power and control. I look objectively at what they’re doing/saying. Is it triggering any specific thoughts or memories? What discomfort am I feeling? What is my knee-jerk reaction and why?
I develop an awareness of the sentences in my mind and feelings in my body and pinpoint them to the best of my ability at that moment.
2. Then I ask myself, “What are they showing me about who they are right now?”
The answer will most likely surprise you. Instead of coming from a defensive reaction, you’ll most likely come from love and compassion. You can see other’s insecurities much clearer. And you can choose to be understanding instead of reacting.
3. When I know what’s going on in my mind and body, I no longer feel the need to defend myself.
I consider the other person’s humanity as a response. I can relax and choose to respond (or not respond). I don’t feel the need to escalate things. If they’re wrong about something, I can choose to correct them, calmly. If they’re out of line, I can choose to tell them that, or walk away without having to defend myself.
Taking responsibility for your feelings can really simplify your life. Human drama just isn’t as interesting anymore. Things that used to be indiscretions begin to seem trivial. Connection and love become the cornerstone of all your relationships.
Practice this the next time you feel slighted. I promise you’ll stop giving away your fucks.
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