What You Think of me is None of my Business
How much of the quality of your life is controlled by what you think other people think of you?
For people who emotionally eat, the figure would be close to one hundred percent. Why is this so? We have been conditioned from a very early age that we must modify our behaviour to please others – or we risk losing their love and approval.
We were carefully chosen among our siblings to be the one who did everything to help because of our conscientious, compliant personalities. We were a major convenience to use as we were non-confrontational, we didn’t complain or put up a fight.
We became wind-up obedient dolls carrying out chores as required, whether it was fairly innocent acts of service like clearing the plates after dinner, washing up, helping Mum with younger siblings, or on the other end of the spectrum, a totally inappropriate misuse of power where we had to take on the role of parent because our primary care giver had already assumed the role of a child.
If there were blurred boundaries or straight out violated boundaries in our childhood, we digest a powerful unspoken message that who we are doesn’t matter and how we feel doesn’t count. Our sole responsibility is to make the other person happy and relieve their suffering. We’re left with our familiar feelings and good buddies, Invalidated and Invisible.
Fast forward a few decades and now we’re supposed to be a fully functioning adult and wondering why we feel so out of control with food and ineffective in our lives most of the time.
To be the author of our own lives, we need to take our power back one conversation at a time, one incident at a time. Other people don’t take our power, we give it away hoping to get something in return.
Many of us have had the experience of the people closest to us (whose love we want the most) making judgemental comments about what we’re eating, how we look or how we ‘should’ be according to their narcissistic view point. Their power trip only works if we buy into it; that is if we dive in and take responsibility for their feelings by modifying our behaviour in an attempt to please them. We have a choice here, we don’t have to pick it up.
Have you ever stopped to consider that what other people think or say about you actually has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them?
Their thoughts are their thoughts, their opinions, their judgements, their perceptions and their beliefs.
For a different outcome, the next time you are on the receiving end of an opinion you don’t agree with, try this response: “Hmm, that’s interesting” then break eye contact and either look away or walk away, whatever is appropriate for you.
You need to practise saying it without any emotion in a monotone voice as if you’re asking for the salt and pepper to be passed. Then if a feeling of guilt creeps in (for not playing your usual role of People Pleaser) just notice the guilt and then notice it leaving your body, see it for the dark energy that it is and watch it float away. Take a deep breath in of clean energy and let it out in a loud and laboured way. Congratulations, you just took your power back in that moment.
If you didn’t quite manage it this time, fear not, there will be plenty more opportunities waiting for you just around the corner. We can be grateful to the universe for placing these triggering people in our paths specifically to help us deal with these issues!
In these challenging life situations, as much as we might want it, no one is going to tap us on the shoulder and step in as a referee to help us take our power back, that’s something only we can do for ourselves, using our courage in the moment it’s happening.
Making your life your own is a process of discovering your identity: who you are, what kind of person you are, what interests you, what pleases you, what you believe in and what you care about.
At the end of the day, the person whose opinion matters most is yours. What you think of you is more important than what anyone else thinks of you. Value and validate your thoughts and feelings every day. If you don’t value yourself as a person, no one else will either.
In the inspirational words of Martin Luther King: “Freedom will never be granted voluntarily by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed”.
© Copyright 2016 Karla Cameron