Learning to walk away from the stupid things people say and not need their good opinions of me has been a huge challenge on my journey.
There are times when I get caught up in feeling hurt and upset, but I disentangle myself again. My recovery time is quicker these days because I remember my practice and I get free.
I am learning not to NEED anyone to love me or applaud me or give me their blessing for me to feel permitted to shine and sing my song. But the need is still there. I am learning to recognize it and release it.
Having the good opinion of other people isn’t my objective in life. I am clear that I don’t need to change a thing about myself to make someone else happy.
When you cannot accept me as I am, it doesn’t mean I am bad or I am wrong or that there is something I need to do to accommodate you.
Each of us has stuff we work through. This is mine.
If we don’t tend to our stuff with an intention to allow the light to get in, the unaddressed stuff will warp our present moment experience every time.
When our response to ‘current events’ is bigger than the situation warrants, we can be sure it’s the old wounds speaking to us through the present moment experience. It’s not that our feelings are wrong–it’s just that what we’re feeling is not only about what happened today. The response is cumulative… it’s all the times this has happened to you in the past plus whatever is happening now.
I was once at a party, standing in a circle of women, where the hostess said to me –loud enough for everyone to hear and looking directly at my stomach– I am really surprised to see you haven’t lost more weight, Robin.
Embarrassed and humiliated, I went right into an old pattern of trying to save face. Some of you may have an opposite response, but having been teased about my belly as a kid had its hooks in me already.
It was all I could do was try to make my legs move and walk away from her. I went into the bathroom and looked at my belly. Sucked it in and let it out again. Ugh. I felt hot and ashamed. Like I’d been punched in the gut. And then the redonkulousness of this all sunk in. And then I began to beat myself up for even caring what someone else said.
Honestly, I’m quite sensitive to the comments and remarks of others. I’m intuitive. I sense the energy underneath.
I’ve been picking up vibes from other people my entire life. I feel what’s coming my way even when someone has a sweet smile on their face while serving up the Poo Poo Platter. I sense what’s going on beneath the surface even if it’s not being acknowledged. But it’s also because I was bullied and scapegoated as a kid and my belonging meant surviving. I learned to do whatever I had to do in order to stay safe. To blend in. Avoid being targeted.
As much as I didn’t want to admit to my upset, I had to. This event had some old wounding which was surfacing to be healed.
The true healing journey is in learning to be compassionately present with ourselves. To love and accept ourselves and welcome our feelings as they come.
Later on, a few friends asked me why I didn’t just handle all this right as the woman said it to me.
Well, it’s a bit trickier than me just confronting the woman and going home, skipping merrily along my way. I froze on the spot. I felt shamed. And then my ‘save face reaction’ kicked in. If you’ve experienced something similar, then you know the experience comes with this odd mix of emotions. You get hot and upset and the tummy feels punched.
It isn’t so easy to express yourself in that moment. Shame makes us feel as if somehow we deserved it and everybody there knows it. So that is what kept me from speaking up.
We might have moments of clarity like that woman is behaving like an idiot and you shouldn’t listen to her opinion… but those clear moments get drenched by the waves of shame. It takes a while for things to settle.
I am not alone.
Each week I receive a dozen or so emails from people having similar experiences.
Lots of folks are shaming themselves for the way they feel in response to the stupid things people have said. Embarrassed that they’re so upset over what happened. But how we feel is never ever stupid or silly. It is what IS. We need to honor where we’re at before we can shift the energy.
So it took me a while but I eventually did confront her.
It was too big of a thing to let go. I had to tell her. Just because we work on not being attached to what others think, it doesn’t make it okay for people to speak to us like that. It took me a while though. I had to work free of the shame. I had to get to the place where her word wasn’t TRUTH anymore. I also had to get to the place where I didn’t want to punch her straight in the banana-nose. Finally, I got there. It wasn’t right that you said this to me, It hurt my feelings, I said.
She didn’t get it. She chirped off something trite and spiritual-easy.
The thing is, they usually don’t get it. But we don’t need people to get it in order for us to get it. We have to keep reminding ourselves that the healing never comes from the outside. It’s internal.
Learning to be free from the opinions of others is a daily practice that reminds me of physical exercise–I hate it but it gets easier BUT gotta’ do it to keep the muscles strong and limber and just when you’re patting yourself on the back for getting there, kapow! something happens to remind you to practice.
It’s a myth that once you’re on a spiritual path for a while you’ll reach some superriffic level of achievement and then all the BS and upset in our lives will stop.
We do get better at dealing with it and there is a faster recovery period but there are still people who will say things to you which will make your face get hot and stomach feels punched.
It doesn’t stop just because you’re on a path. People will continue to say stupid things to you.
You will continue to say stupid things too…I do it with some regularity, just ask my husband.
Becoming free of the good opinions of others is a bold step on the path.
It’s good for us to practice not being attached to the things people say.
The world does not stop. There will always be that person in your life with the foot-in-mouth disease. So we need a policy to help us navigate this stuff. I like policies. Whenever something comes into question, you can just say, “What is my policy on this?” and refer to it.
My policy is: I care about my own opinion over anyone else’s.
It’s freeing. It’s liberating. And when practiced, it will take you right back out of Crazy Town when you go there.
Each day I become freer to belong here in the world, exactly as I am. May this serve you in doing the same, friend.
I’ll put a few videos below that relate to this message today.
Sending love and a big hug!
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