I have said many times that throughout my life more people have been unkind to me than kind to me, more people have thrown me under the bus rather than stick up for me, and far more people have taken advantage of me instead of showing consideration toward me. I’m not saying this bitterly, it is simply a fact of my life that I have taken great care to try to change with regard to whom I choose to share my life with.
Yesterday however, was a bit of a doozy. I had 2 phone conversations and 1 email exchange (well, make that a lack of an email exchange) in which all 3 of people I was dealing with insulted me, said rude things, and were inconsiderate and demeaning overall. Both phone calls took place right after each other, and by the time I hung up with the second I was not in a good place.
I was hurt, angry, disappointed, annoyed, and most of all, frustrated that these people - both of whom ended our conversations with the words, “Love you,” felt the need to disrespect me for the umpteenth time. I remained upset about as I went around completing my tasks for the day, grumbling and muttering to myself about how we clearly have differing definitions of the word “love.”
After about an hour, I had a revelation that hit me completely out of the blue, but was one that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
Why am I continuing to give power to people whose opinions and views I do not respect?
Moreover, why am I continuing to give power to people who clearly do not respect me or my opinions?
Constructive criticism is one thing. When people care about you and want what’s best for you, sometimes it’s their job to let you know if you’re going off the rails in certain aspects of your life. That’s what friends are for at times, and hopefully those gentle suggestions or nudges are presented to you from the perspective of what’s truly best for you and for wanting you to be as happy and fulfilled as possible in your life.
I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the people who can only see life through their own lenses and who feel the overwhelming need to correct other people’s behaviors if they do not line up with their own. These people are not coming from a place of caring about YOU, they are coming from their own place of insecurity and an immense need to be seen and heard.
They will spew their thoughts and opinions over everyone who will give them the time, and when they do this, we have 2 choices:
We can choose to take what they say to heart, allow their put-downs and condescension to ruin our days and our happiness. OR,
We can choose to ignore what they say, knowing that they don’t have our best interests at heart, and look at them as the sad, miserable, always-trying-to-prove-themselves-but-always-somehow-come-up-short people that they are, and not let their words or actions affect us one bit. We don’t need to be rude back, but we can listen respectfully, nod our heads, and then move on with our day with our heads held high, persevering in our power instead of relinquishing it to those who don’t deserve even an iota of it.
This goes back to the whole “sticks and stones” thing, but I want to make it clear that you, and I, have permission to disregard what someone says to us, even if they are close to us in our lives. This is more than just name calling on a playground. When we are choosing happiness in our lives, we are wholly allowed to make the choice of whose advice we listen to, of whose opinions we seek out, and who we ultimately let into our hearts, minds, and souls.
Unfortunately, family members and close friends do not always have our best interests in mind. In those cases it is squarely our responsibility to recognize and realize that, and make our choices accordingly.
We each have the power to decide to live as joyfully as we can, and we have to make the conscious decision to hold onto that power and never ever give it away to anyone else, no matter how much they claim to love us.
Your power is YOURS. Own it, stand in it, revel in it, and wield it when you have to, to preserve your own happiness. No matter who or what might be trying to take it away from you.
“You are stronger than you believe. You have greater powers than you know.”
-Antiope to Diana in Wonder Woman