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We all do it – ascribe out hurt feelings to other people’s words and action. But the fact is, no-one can MAKE you feel anything. Yes, other people may ‘trigger’ you, and yes, it’s natural to feel upset when they do. But it’s actually your beliefs about the situation – and specifically, the unconscious demands you hold – that are really responsible for you feeling hurt, angry and not good enough.
This sounds bleak (“What, you mean I’ve been doing it to myself?”), but in fact that’s great news because your mindset is the only part of the equation you CAN control.
Here’s how it works:
You accidentally overhear an acquaintance saying less than flattering things about you. Result? You’re left feeling enraged, hurt and inadequate.
But not everyone on the receiving end will react that way and feel hurt. Some will shrug it off as jealousy or a misunderstanding. Others might feel upset for a while but choose not to take it on. And others might punch that “friend” in the nose. They all behave differently because each of them has a different belief about what’s happened.
But back to you. What’s really causing your hurt and “not good enough” feeling isn’t so much what this person said, but your unconscious demand: “People mustn’t say horrible things behind my back!”
Because when your rule gets broken (or even if you get an inkling that it might ) the “or elses” kicks in.
“Or else it’s really bad.”
“Or else I can’t bear it.”
“Or else it means I’m rubbish and she’s a back-stabbing b*tch.”
Understandable though it is to prefer that people didn’t slag you off, it’s irrational and illogical to demand it, because a) you can’t control what others do, and b) there’s no law of the universe that says people mustn’t talk about you – or, that if they do, they can only say good things.
When someone says or does something that “makes” you feel hurt or angry or any other kind of toxic emotion, take a couple of slow breaths to give yourself space for a thoughtful response.
Then, say to yourself, “I’d much rather it hadn’t happened, but I accept that it did. I don’t like it much, but I CAN cope, and their opinion doesn’t make me worthless. So what’s the best outcome in this situation, and what can I do to make that happen?”
This takes some practice but it’s really worth doing. It may not take all of the hurt out of someone else’s behaviour but it will definitely make you more resilient and better able to cope with what life throws at you.
Caroline is a Mindset Trainer and speaker who works with sensitive, high-potential leaders who know they were born for something more. She shows them how to beat mindset blocks and habits, such as limiting beliefs, low self worth and procrastination, that are preventing them from making a bigger impact.
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