I can’t think of anything worse than hurting a person’s feelings or causing someone else pain. It’s the reason I stayed way too long in a number of ‘below average’ relationships in my twenties and it’s why I often agonise about sharing the truth (from my perspective) for fear of causing offense, making someone not like me anymore or god forbid, being called out for my opinions or choices!
On the face of it, you might believe that it’s a great trait to have; being nice and mindful of others’ feelings.
However, what I’ve come to realise over the last few weeks is this propensity to protect others has nothing to do with selflessness. It’s all about self-preservation and it’s not serving me in my life, one little bit.
The other day, I posted a considerably lengthy response to a friend’s Facebook question and watched while this individual liked and responded to everyone else’s comments and ignored mine for over two hours! The travesty!
My mind immediately jumped to questions like, “was my post offensive?”… “maybe this wasn’t the information they were looking for”… “maybe they don’t like me anymore”… and defensive thoughts like, “the least they could do is acknowledge me”.
Naturally, this individual wasn’t ignoring or disrespecting me at all. They eventually responded, grateful for my input. Yet, can you see where I went in the interim? The mind boggles!
What a lot of wasted thought and energy that did nothing to help me create more of what I want in my life.
Similarly, I recently managed to land myself in the middle of a falling out between friends. Not a place anyone wants to be. It ended up being a ‘rock and a hard place’ scenario where I made the choice to share the truth from my perspective; and it led to one of these friends cutting me off.
Don’t even ask! However, the point is that through this experience, one of my biggest fears became a reality. An individual was upset enough with me to ‘cut me off’ from their lives.
If I reacted the way I did to the above Facebook post example, you can only imagine where I went in this scenario! I spent the next 48 hours second-guessing my decision, beating myself up for getting involved in the first place, justifying why I shared the information that I had and thinking of ways to redeem myself in the eyes of this individual.
Again, what a lot of wasted thought and energy that did nothing to help me create more of what I want in my life.
Whether my actions were right or wrong is absolutely irrelevant. I made a choice to tell the truth from my perspective. It was not my intention to deliberately hurt anyone. Although, that too is completely irrelevant.
Here’s the truth:
1. Not everyone is going to approve of or like the decisions I make, all the time;
2. Humans make assumptions. All the time. The individual that cut me off did not speak to me prior to making that decision, so I assume that they made many assumptions about what I’d done and not done to lead them to the ‘cut off’. Ha, see what I did there…!?
3. The only person whose decisions and thoughts I can control, are mine.
What these scenarios have got me present to, this week, is that I spend a lot of unconscious time thinking about stuff that does not create more of what I want in my life. I say unconscious, because it’s so damn familiar for me to jump down the rabbit hole of second-guessing myself and beating myself up for not being likeable or approved of by everyone on the planet!
I know where this comes from. The wounded child within me who was bullied, cheated on, not ‘cool’ enough, [insert painful childhood experience here].
Through a lack of approval from certain peers, teachers, family members and first loves, I learned that I am not good enough, just as I am. So, I tried harder (much harder) to attain that feeling of approval from external sources, by compromising my truth, my opinions and sometimes even my integrity.
That ingrained subconscious conditioning still obviously affects me today. I still can’t stand the thought of not being liked or approved of.
However, the big difference is that now, I’m acutely aware of the degree to which this auto-response within me is preventing me from having more of what I want in my life. This is where I’m going to work on myself, shifting deep seated internal beliefs so that slowly and incrementally, I can choose a different response, care a little less about assumed judgements of others and focus solely on creating more of what I want in my life.
Who’s with me? ~ Sally G X