Life is a funny thing. Or maybe I’m the funny one. Some days are wonderful. I feel confident and mostly untouchable. On these days, the thoughts and opinions of others barely register – it’s almost as though nothing can penetrate or even get close to my very thick skin. Anything negative just slides straight off me.
On these days, I get a lot done. I achieve to THE MAX. And I go to bed feeling good. Quite good. When I’m in this state it seems almost impossible to believe that my inner peace won’t continue into the following day. Because everything feels natural and easy and there’s really no reason to think that it can’t always be that way.
Then something happens. Something invariably happens to shatter my bliss. It may be:
And for whatever reason – maybe just the fact that I’m inescapably human – the peaceful feeling leaves me. My thick skin suddenly becomes a whole lot thinner and what slid effortlessly from me yesterday now gnaws at me, burrowing into my skin and my psyche until I’m left feeling a whole lot LESS THAN.
The comparison game is on once again. I question myself and start wondering if I’m good enough. I tell myself that if I was good enough, I wouldn’t have received that hostile look or that disapproving and questioning glance from so-and-so.
When I’m in this state it doesn’t occur to me that the hostile look or the disapproving/questioning glance may have little to do with me. That the person (my co-worker, my partner, my daughter, whoever) may be struggling with their own demons at that point in time – that the way they are looking OUTWARD could well be a reflection of how they are feeling INWARD.
And that ultimately I’m not responsible for any of this.
It was worse when I was younger. Twenty or thirty years ago I was little more than a sponge for other’s people’s emotions, opinions and general bad behaviour. I wanted to fix it all – because if I fixed it then I would be more lovable. I would be told that I was a ‘good girl’ or a ‘valuable person’ and being told these things made me feel good.
Because what good was I really if nobody else thought I was good? (Even though I am now forty-three years old, this childhood thought/belief still likes to rear its ugly head from time). Until I remember - it sometimes takes a little time but I eventually REMEMBER:
I alone am responsible for my self-worth. There will always be people who thrive on helping and lifting others, and there will always be those who - for whatever reason – enjoy pulling others down. This is LIFE. The extent to which I allow the words and actions of others to affect and influence me… IS TRULY UP TO ME.
Truth is, we all have power. We all have the ability to choose:
We all at times find ourselves in ‘victim’ mode (it’s a very easy and familiar mode for most of us) and believe that we are powerless to what is going on around us. Yet we ALWAYS have the power to decide on who we let in to our lives AND how we react or respond when said people are not behaving in a way that is pleasing to us, or treating us how we would like to be treated.
I have made a commitment to myself (after two reasonably traumatic life upheavals) to start loving MYSELF. To stop worrying about what he or she said, or if they hate me, or if they disapprove of what I’m doing, or if I’m good enough for them. To stay on my side of the fence. To protect my inner peace, and not allow anybody the power to take it from me. Selfish? I don’t think so. Absolutely necessary? I think so!
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