At times seemingly undesirable behaviour is directed towards us.
Can we calmly and silently remain disengaged and totally detached emotionally, regardless of the perceived intensity of the ‘attack’?
Reacting ‘negatively’ to other people’s feelings, opinions and attitudes in relation to us, implies that we have interpreted and attached meaning to their behaviour based on one or more core beliefs we have about ourselves. This is experienced as inner discomfort or unease. Our defense response is activated and we begin to feel attacked, belittled, disrespected, misjudged or misunderstood. The person is held accountable for how we feel. Our ‘undesirable’ feelings are the compasses which take us to shadow places within ourselves, where bruised and unhealthy perceptions of who we are reside. In order to turn the attention away from these internal wounds, focus is placed instead on the situation/person.
Taking responsibility for how we feel is a vital link in recognizing our worthiness. Expecting others to be accountable for our emotions is a dishonouring of our authentic power. Demanding that others behave/ respond in a particular manner so that we would feel okay means our ‘feeling good’ is dependent on whether or not people act in accordance with our desires. We are happiest when people understand us, agree with us, fulfill our expectations or satisfy our agendas. To accomplish compliance, a myriad of behaviours are adopted; tantrums, manipulation, denials, withdrawals, guilt trips, power struggles and victim hood. We justify, defend and rationalize to assist us in achieving hollow comfort. This can be further explored as a belief that someone’s behavior, attitude or opinion towards us, is to some degree an indication of our worthiness as a person. We then either seek to ensure that approval is received by ‘jumping through all the hoops’ or retreat feeling slighted, hurt, resentful, bitter and ashamed if we are denied such. The unpopular truth is that the battle is really within. No one can validate us.
Conditioned from birth to seek external validation, this has contributed to our perception of self…. whether or not someone greets us, how they greet us; our name wasn’t included on the premier guest list; the compliment we didn’t receive; the junior employee not acknowledging our senior status; we got more applause than the other team; she is supposed to be my friend but she didn’t tell me…it goes on and on; this need to be considered ‘valued’ through the actions of others. In the absence of which, we develop faulty perceptions of our worth. Subtly and intricately interwoven into our lives through our social contracts and cleverly disguised in a variety of ways, we have accepted this status quo. It has become the primary yardstick by which we evaluate self.
Awareness of our feelings is the key. Our feelings are the compasses to take us towards healing and fulfillment. At times there is the erroneous belief by others and self that the journey of wholeness is one of perfection and as such only that which is ideal is the path….. ‘The obstacle is The Path.’ We must be brutally honest. It takes courage to be truthful about self. It is this exciting unfolding, the willingness to own our feelings which is really the first step forward. Once the decision is made action is necessary. We must now practice this new truth. We must learn to acknowledge, observe our feelings and be mindful of the messages they carry. Missing the mark at times is inevitable. Be at peace. Having begun the journey the victory already belongs to you.
In the book ‘The Four Agreements’ author Don Miguel Ruiz wisely states as his third agreement:
“Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”
We have all been perpetrators and victims of the ‘feelings’ minefield. Interestingly, assuming total accountability for our emotions, we become more compassionate and less judgmental about others. Once our feelings take us to a place of responsibility outside of ourselves, know for sure we have taken the wrong path.
Be encouraged. Just like my long sojourns we eventually make our way home… always