I realized this week that if I had the awareness and wisdom I have now, I would have approached the dating scene a lot different when I was young. I recall my younger years as many a man rejecting me and finding a partner was a difficult and hard journey for me. I also remember many tears of loneliness, and feelings that men aren’t attracted to me because I either intimidate them, I’m too weird, too ugly, too fat, too muscled, and the list goes on. I internalized every single rejection I got. Every response I took on as something I caused and I started covering parts of the true me to hide what I thought was bad traits.
My eyes are opening to this lesson by not only looking at some of the events happening in my life, but more so by a huge event in Leon’s life. Leon must hand out flyers for his parenting talk this week. I don’t think many people will see this as fun, but he has an extremely paralyzing fear against it. He hasn’t found the root of this fear, but one thing that definitely comes up is that he is worried about the impression people will have of him while handing out flyers. Understanding the human nature, we are programmed to want acceptance. (This little piece of information is courtesy of Leon’s teachings) This means that it is pretty normal for him to worry about this. The danger of this human habit is that we create beliefs without even knowing if we base them on facts. When a woman looks at him with an annoyed face, is it because she’s thinking less of him or because her boss had just told her that she is not doing her job while at the same time she may be dealing with a grandmother on the brink of leaving this life. When person 2 and 3 is not taking a flyer, is it because they think he is a loser or because they are so scared of interacting with a stranger that they don’t dare open their window. And if they do think he is a loser, is it true? When he tells his story in front of thousands of people in 3 years’ time, is he still a loser?
We give away our power so easily to other people, allowing what we think they think of us to create beliefs that are probably grounded on nothing. For the first time in my life when someone gets angry at me I don’t jump to try and “fix” it. I fully acknowledge that their anger was probably triggered by something I said or did. But for the first time I am also able to not respond in anger, but take a step back and ask what is going on for this person. For the first time I also feel that I am able to communicate by listening to the other person, but also voicing my feelings and opinions in honesty. What is liberating for me is that I don’t feel that I need to soften the message I give to people because I fear they may get hurt. I don’t attack them, but I realise that if I’m honest about how I feel and how I perceive things, and about what my own expectations are, I actually get a more honest response.
What I’m learning is that most of the time people don’t react to who we are or what we say, but rather to what they believe they are. I had a hard talk to my team at work this week. Some people are very angry at me, but I find that the people who are the most upset are also the people I am the most concerned about.
What I struggled with for a while is that I can’t go around saying whatever I want and then saying it is not me, it is where people are at. I couldn’t see the line clearly, but now I do. If I go around telling people that I think they are useless, it is me just blatantly hurting their feelings. But if I have a conversation with them where I share how I feel with the intention of making them aware so they can become more, and they shove it in my face out of anger or any other emotion, it is not because of me.
My message today for everyone out there – don’t take people’s reactions to you personally. Deal with people from a place of love, acknowledge that sometimes you may still get it wrong and be willing to then change it, but also acknowledge that often people who hurt will not see what you see and they may react negatively to you. It is not your fault…don’t let it become a block for you.