Do you have to be hurt when someone bullies you or tries to intimidate or belittle you?
Do you have to be hurt when you are criticised, left out or rejected?
For most of my life I would have said yes, of course. But not any more.
We all have the power and the ability to choose how we feel. We do not automatically have to feel hurt or diminished when we are on the receiving end of other people’s mistreatment either verbally or behaviourally.
I first came across this idea a couple of decades ago in the work of Albert Ellis who wrote The Guide to Rational Living and books on controlling anger. Back then I thought he must be kidding. He had no idea how much anger I expressed or how volatile and judgemental I was. It didn’t seem possible for me to live without exploding or being hurt by others.
Thankfully I now know differently. Ellis’s work involves reframing situations to take the sting out of them. It means pausing, identifying the ‘should’s we have made about the situation, dropping it, thereby breaking the cycle of anger.
And even though his work on emotions dates back to the 1970’s it’s still the dominant paradigm to assume that it’s normal to allow other people to upset us. There is nothing normal about it.
Giving away our power to chose how we feel is not normal.
We also assume that when someone doesn’t behave according to our rules that it’s unavoidable to feel upset or annoyed. But that is simply not true. We can choose and we can rewire our brains to process this input any way we want.
We can learn to respond instead of reacting. We can basically grow up and stop expecting everyone else to live according to our made up rules.
We can become immune to the words and behaviours of others. Instead we have encouraged people to behave like victims and expect the other person to change.
Once we learn how to facilitate this internal shift and keep practising it for a while we can start to live a more peaceful and enjoyable life. We can give up our victim status and take responsibility for how we feel.
Is it easy? Not in the beginning as it’s hard to get past the set of rules we have in our heads about how other people ‘should’ behave. And it’s hard to stop feeling hurt or angry when we have been programmed all our lives to react to the harshness of others.
It takes practice but learning a technique that I lovingly call the Thought Thought Zapper my version of Emotional Freedom Technique or Tapping for short makes it so much easier because the shift is automatic instead of manually trying to bypass those rules in our heads
Can anyone learn to do this? If they are willing to consider a new approach, a more effective and sane and peaceful way of life.
The new paradigm regarding personal power is a quantum leap into a brave new world in which we take responsibility for how we feel. It is a powerful stance to adopt in a world of the easily offended.
Eleanor Roosevelt put it succinctly. ” No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.’
I’d like to take that a step further by saying that no one can make you feel anything without your consent. The only real power we have in this world is how we feel. Don’t give it away. And if you want some help with that contact me.