Rise above it...not always easy....
This has been an interesting and challenging year for so many of us. I feel we need to hear that we have to be kind to ourselves and realize that external events can affect our physical and mental health. Have you looked at your emotional needs throughout this past year and asked yourself what those might be? Let’s take that even further and look at what you might need to do to achieve those needs? What resources do you need? Who should you reach out to?
We have some innate characteristics that we are born with which are reinforced by our environment. We all have certain personality patterns, our core, and these patterns seem to us to just make us who we are. I am often told that I can be stubborn. Instead I call it determined. There is something in me that is a very powerful force; it is just who I am.
As an example, I know I do not quit easily, if ever. If I start something, I have to finish it, and finish on top. I hold myself to very high standards, and I expect the best of myself. Over the years I have really worked on, and developed, a more attuned sense of emotional intelligence. This is still a work in progress. Over the last few months I have really tried to gain a greater understanding of my own emotions as well as of those around me.
I have always had a well-developed sense of intuition. As a result, I was always able to attune with others and have an insight into their emotional state. This was at times difficult for me. I would have such a sense of others’ emotional issues that my own self became drained by the state of others’ inner worlds. Have you ever felt that? Have you ever felt so close to another human being that even though their words and actions said one thing, you knew and felt something else was behind that curtain, that facade?
The last few months I have observed so many people trying to work through these trying times and trying to keep up their façade. But it has been extremely hard. This morning I was at a local grocery store picking up a few items. I wanted to make a good start to the week. Since I have been trying to eat healthier, I decided to be very intentional with my choices. I picked out three items and placed them on the counter. Then I proceeded to the register.
The cashier seemed extremely annoyed to the point that she grabbed the items, slamming each one down in a very unfriendly manner. She did not ask me if I would like a bag but rudely asked if I wanted a receipt. I declined, said thank you and walked out.
This was sad to me because we are in a position each day to make somebody feel good or bad. Thankfully my day and its outcome was not determined by the very first interaction I had this morning with this cashier. I walked away returning grace. In that moment in time I had the strength to do that.
About two weeks ago I did not have that strength and I engaged in an exchange of words that left me feeling really low. I have learned that sometimes we become less tolerant of differences of opinion and, after being verbally attacked on a personal level, I felt the need to defend myself. That turned into me trying to explain myself, which in turn turned into a very negative outcome. That whole exchange left me feeling drained and not at all what I had hoped for.
Two scenarios, two different outcomes. What was different? My state of mind and how I was feeling. In the earlier exchange, I was not able to withstand the personal verbal attacks because I was not in my best state of self. Not physically, not emotionally. When we do not feel well, we are not going to perform from that place of peace. I was triggered and the best defense became a strong offense. I called this person “narrow-minded and one sided.”
Now whether or not this person was actually narrow-minded and one-sided in this instance is irrelevant. I FELT HORRIBLE for speaking to them in that way. I felt like I had let myself down by giving someone that much power over my emotions. Have you ever done that and then felt that way?
I used to have a very hard time allowing anyone to get close to me. I was a sort of a soul-drifter, untrusting. To me only the people who are close to me matter. I have often felt a sense of betrayal. I had to process this and understand why. That primitive brain would just step in, hijack my intelligence and I would go into a fight mode. It was not like a combative fight, but I always felt the need to explain myself, defend myself.
But also at the same time, the emotional boundaries surrounded me and I drew a line of “enough— no more— you do not have the right to talk to me that way” around myself. Finally I stepped back and decided to look impersonally at this approach. It was always combative, always liked to debate, always poked at others to make my point of view the right one. Well, I knew this about myself going in. So why did I choose to engage?
I took an inventory of both sides and realized that I had better choices. I did not have to engage in confrontative situations but could set firm boundaries for myself. Do we tend to hold on to “friendships” that might be toxic because we feel we should? What is it that we see in people who claim to be friends but who then feel the need to be hurtful? What happened to just having conversations and respecting both sides without attacking? We certainly have some circumstances which are deal-breaker situations and those can be abusive situations. But why can’t we have communication that is resolution-based, or to gain knowledge, or to simply share feelings without judgement?
I learned that it is my place to honor self and others, but in honoring self I must claim a space of safety and healing. So I ask you today, who is healing to your soul and who is hurting that space? Do you walk around wearing a suit of armor, expecting conflict and arguments? If so, is it time to walk away from some people and just simply say this relationship has ran its course? We will get back what we put out in this universe. If someone depletes you, allow yourself to be around energy, strength, vitality; people who feed your soul. This does not mean that you have to write everyone off that you disagree with, but allow yourself to be in a space where you can handle the ones who are draining and combative so you can walk away leaving a healing harbor behind.