Taking RESPONSIBILITY for your FEELINGS
If you’ve read my earlier columns you’ll have learned about how our minds become negatively programmed early on in life with self-doubts, fears and limiting beliefs. In the last issue, I wrote about how to start changing the negative voice in your head that’s been holding you back and re-programme your mind with positive thoughts and beliefs. Now it’s time to look at how you can take full responsibility for your emotions, rather than giving your power away and feeling that you’re at the mercy of other people’s opinions and attitudes.
How many times have you blamed others for the way you feel, saying things like “He really upset me when he did that” or “She made me so angry when she said that”.
The fact is, no-one can make you feel anything. People may do things that you don’t like or agree with, they may be critical or harsh, and you may feel angry or upset, but how you react depends on your own personal beliefs and life experiences. Let me give you an example…
Imagine a group of women, sitting in a room waiting for a presentation to begin. The male speaker walks in and begins by making a contentious and somewhat derogatory remark about the role of women in business. Now, some of the women sitting there are going to feel insulted, angry, and may even react so strongly that they feel like they want to punch the man for offending them!
Some will feel inferior, upset and hurt by the comment and may even feel tearful, some will inwardly laugh in disbelief that anyone could be so arrogant, and others may just remain calm, not take his remarks personally and be completely unaffected by the words he said.
That imaginary pompous individual did not have the power to create anger, hurt, amusement or indifference within the people he was speaking to; people react according to what’s going on inside of them. If you have a fragile sense of self or you lack self-esteem and believe that you’re inferior, you’re likely to react to such a remark defensively, feeling angry, hurt, or both, but if you feel secure and comfortable within yourself, you’re more likely to find the remark vaguely laughable or of no significance whatsoever.
Similarly, if someone says to you “Don’t be stupid”and you know you’re certainly not stupid, you won’t take it to heart, but if you grew up being called stupid at home or at school, even though you’re an intelligent person, the remark will press buttons within you and your feelings will be hurt. Get the idea? When you take things personally, rather than understanding that other people’s opinions, preferences, expectations and reactions are all about them and not about you, you can easily make yourself feel unhappy. Whatever anyone thinks of you is their business, not yours.
If you go for an interview and you’re not chosen for the job or if you go on a date with someone you like and he/she doesn’t ask you for a second date, it doesn’t mean you’re not good enough. We all have preferences and if you’re not considered to be the most suitable person for a particular job or the most compatible partner for someone, don’t beat up on yourself. Accept that it wasn’t meant to be, move on, and find the job or partner that is right for you.
To help yourself become more self-aware, whenever you have a negative reaction to anything someone says or does, just notice how you’re feeling and instead of blaming them for how you feel, ask yourself, “What is it in me that caused me to react in that way?”
If you have ‘buttons’ that can be pressed, accept that they are your buttons and you need to decide whether you want to keep them or not. Realising that no-one is responsible for your unhappiness and no-one is responsible for your happiness is very empowering.
Happiness really is an inside job!
Read more articles from Toni here: http://www.mamalifemagazine.co.uk/category/emotional-health/
Toni Mackenzie is the author of the best-selling self-help book Your Flight to Happiness: A 7-Step Journey to Emotional Freedom, available to buy from Amazon at http://bit.ly/yourflighttohappiness. Toni is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and a Mindset-Coach working with people to help them change the way they feel by changing the way they think.