A biggie is coming clear for me recently and I can’t say that this realization has happened very often in my life. That clarity that the thing I have been complaining about in someone else is the very same thing I am doing to them. I suppose most of the time my righteous anger wins out and I just stay focused on the “wrong-doings” of the other person. I mean, can't they SEE how "wrong" they are and how "right" I am??
The above quote kind of makes me say "Ugh." If I sit with it though... I can see for sure that the way I feel I am treated in relationship is also how I treat myself on many levels. As I mentioned to someone recently who said they felt they were in an abusive relationship, "How is your own relationship with yourself?" They admitted to being pretty abusive in their own self-talk.
Now, intellectually, I totally get the concept that other people are our mirrors, that they are often reflecting something about ourselves back to us or that they are offering us information about ourselves in some way. In fact I have written a Sandy Chat on that very topic and how others can also reflect to us that we need to treat ourselves with more love and care. Very recently I have come to the eye-opening awareness that I have been trying to change another person – by complaining to, and about them, Now get this…I've been railing about how they are trying to change ME! I have this mantra that other people’s feelings about me and my choices are not my responsibility – that they choose those. YET! I have been upset at how their behavior causes me to feel. Hello double standard. Hello mirror. Ironic, ain't it.
So I am asking myself this question… do I really want to be responsible for how I feel? Or is my real desire for the other person to change? Dang. Truth – I want them to change then life would be awesome. Breaking news… this just in… you can’t change other people.
I read a great blog post on this idea by Dr. Margaret Paul and this was pretty eye opening. If I need someone, anyone else, to change in order for me to be okay, I am not taking responsibility for myself. What if that other person never changes? I must either accept them as they are, or leave the situation – but blaming, complaining, judging, or my favorite: being a victim of that other person and the conditions – none of these things are being a loving adult to myself or to the other party.
But this is what we do isn’t it. We focus on the things the other person needs to change in order for us to feel okay. If they would just change, be different, if only they did or said X. I have not always been super great about owning that I do this and it has caused me plenty of pain and suffering due to my own thoughts – not due to the choices of others. It's not what is happening that is the cause of our pain, our guilt, our anger. It is the MEANING we put on things that causes it all.
Giving Away Our Power
“It’s about standing in your own light.” This phrase has been passed on to me something like a zillion times by my coach Joy. I’ll be super honest… I really had no idea what she meant by it at first. I looked through my notes from our sessions I’m sure it’s in there damn near every other time. More truth… I’ve even Googled it to try and really understand the importance and meaning of this sentence.
What I am coming to understand is that our “light” is that Divine spark within each of us. It’s what we came into this world to give. We all have it and free will dictates that it is our choice how much to fan it. We can let it remain a spark or we can create a flame, a beam of light, our power.
I recently heard Deepak Chopra make some statements about how we give our power away and how to reclaim it. “We give up our power when we shrink to other people and circumstances.” So this speaks to wanting other people to change so we can feel okay. If you think about it, complaining, blaming and judging feels more powerful than being depressed or a victim for sure – yet it is not nearly as powerful as love, hopefulness, empowerment, freedom. So, we can do better if we wake up to how we are dimming ourselves when we make others responsible for our happiness.
He also talked about two of the biggest ways we give away our power and dim our light… putting ourselves and others in a box – a.k.a. labeling. Secondly by having dualistic thinking. As in, it’s this or it’s that. It’s black or it’s white. I’m “right” and you’re “wrong”. These two mindsets: putting ourselves and others in a box and believing it’s this or it’s that – cause us to feel TRAPPED. When we feel trapped we will either step into our light, or we will dim ourselves.
Our internal power comes from standing in the center of our own lives, taking responsibility for OUR side of the street. We must stay conscious and awake, speak our truth in a loving way and know our worth – simply because we were born.
When we blame, accuse, label, and go to sleep in our lives… we give away our power. We step right into victim mentality where we are TRAPPED and at the will of others and circumstances. Here’s the thing… we are NEVER at any other person or circumstances will, but when we focus on how other people or the circumstances must change in order for us to be okay, we are not taking care of ourselves. It’s simply an attempt to not feel the difficult feelings we have about OURSELVES. If I’m busy blaming you or complaining about you, I get to avoid becoming self-actualized and feeling vulnerable.
If we are really ready to be responsible for ourselves and our feelings, we’ll have to let go of focusing on the stuff other people are doing that we view as “wrong” and supposedly making it impossible for us to be okay. This is far from an easy thing to do. When our set-point becomes fear, anger, feeling like a victim, etc. - it takes some real conscious effort to break that addiction and you can only do this for yourself, no one can do it for you - although having a supportive tribe is amazingly helpful.
Yeah, all the things I complain about someone else doing that caused me pain and suffering… I’ve done those same things either to myself or to them. I’m trying to just observe this without judgement so that I can learn from it and not go into kicking my own backside – which is how the cycle typically goes.
It’s a hard habit to break. I have a big intention to drop blame from my relationships and still, I find myself going right there and before I know it I’m on a rant of how the other party is so “wrong”. If I can grab the wheel and get myself back on the road when I’m veering off into the blame ditch, I very often can find a glimpse of information about myself being shown through the behavior of the other person. Either something I too am doing, or that I need to take better care of myself in some way. As long as I need anyone else to change in order to feel okay or have a better experience, I am a victim and I don’t think that’s what I came to this world to be. I am Sandy Edie after all. ;-)
Sandy Edie Hansen
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