Do other people’s behaviour and words make you less than you really are?
Ways to be True to Yourself:
‘When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.”
How much of you is defined by others actions and judgments about you? Everyone has had the experience of wilting because of a withering look, harsh comment or feeling uncomfortable in a social situation. Often we can take things personally when they aren’t meant to be. If you do that habitually it can cause all sorts of problems. From inner resentment to a mind that chatters on about how stupid you feel. And the effects on self-esteem are punishing.
Frequently feeling compromised and uncomfortable can lead to not being able to speak your mind or take action to get out of a disempowering situation. So anxiety kicks in, as your mind becomes dominated by thoughts like ‘I’m no good, not good enough’ and “I’m stupid.’
How do we get to not being able to act and speak from an authentic place? Past experiences and the way you learn to perceive them often creates habits that make you filter events through a narrow lens. So for instance if you meet up with a friend and they don’t give you full attention because they are genuinely sad or distracted. You could negatively interpret that reaction as something being wrong about you.
The way others treat you is more of a reflection of their issues and not about you. Someone who develops a habit of thinking they are not as good as other people can interpret any action or words in a way that supports that negative belief. Even if someone is nice to them they can think ‘oh they are only being nice because they feel sorry for me.’
Acting not reacting is the key to taking control. A client came to me last week and gave me a massive high 5 as he said ‘I did it.’ Martin went on to explain that he had made a huge effort to help a friend who was competing at a horse trial. When he arrived the friend partly ignored him and instead of just hanging around in the background until his friend had finished talking to another competitor he said’ just going to see the horses and catch you later.’ Martin went off and had a chat with other people he knew and had a lovely time. Later the friend came over, all was well and she made extraordinary steps to make Martin feel welcome. Martin said it was the first time he had taken the initiative to step out of a situation that made him feel a bit worthless. The subsequent feeling of pride in what he had done, were so empowering.
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
Maya Angelou ‘Letter to my daughter.’
Act in a way that you think is right, not as the situation makes you feel. So lets take Susan who makes a great birthday supper for her Sister. Her Sister is a bit rude and after opening her presents doesn’t say thanks and casts them down on the chair and leaves the room. Susan could feel a familiar sense of shame and guilt thinking she got the present all-wrong but she was so proud as she stepped out of those feelings. Susan realized it was her Sisters inappropriate behaviour and there wasn’t anything she had done wrong. So she was able to maintain a happy face and carried on with a light heart so she and the rest of the family could enjoy the occasion.
Susan was so empowered by refusing to be reduced by someone else’s negative patterns. You can do it too – Start with being aware when you let other people make you feel uncomfortable and decide consciously on a course of action where you can be you at your best.
“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.”