I’ve gotten some great questions from readers lately, and thought I’d share some of them, along with my answers, in some of my blog posts from now on. Hope you find this “Q&A Series” helpful!
READER QUESTION #1
“When I stand up for myself, people argue with me. They tell me that I am being selfish because I’m not considering their feelings and needs, and that I’m only focusing on my own. When this happens, I feel guilty, and my stomach knots up; I always just end up saying never mind, it’s not important. I know that this is wrong, but I feel like I just can’t help it. I don’t know how to stay calm and focused. I just fold.”
ANSWER to READER QUESTION 1 – Part 1
Your feelings and reactions are more common than you realize!
The response that you are getting from the people you are standing up to is what I refer to as “emotional blackmail.” Here’s how it works: You tell someone how you feel, and they immediately respond with a judgment about you or negative message directed at you.
If your stomach knots up, your body is letting you know that something is wrong!
That’s emotional blackmail – in order to refuse to receive what you are saying, they create an uncomfortable emotional consequence for you.
You can take the signal of your stomach knotting up as your early warning system. Respect your feelings, don’t dismiss or ignore them. (This is probably what people have been doing to you all your life, so you need to make sure you are not adding insult to injury by doing it to yourself as well!)
Now, before you also add being really upset with that other person to the discomfort you are already feeling, I want you to realize something that I hope helps you not go too far in the direction of angry resentment: The people who make these negative, judgmental statements are operating in defensive mode.
They don’t want to hear your needs and feelings because they are only focused on their own. It really has nothing to do with you; they are stuck in that self-protective mode and don’t even know it. Their push-back is an automatic, un-thought-out reaction in that moment, not a conscious choice about how to maintain a mutually caring connection with you!
Without realizing it, they’re counting on the guilt you’ll feel by being labeled “selfish” stopping you from addressing whatever it is you’re confronting. This pattern has obviously worked in the past, so they will continue to use it as long as it works.
They’re not saying that you’re selfish because it’s about you, but because they are uncomfortable. And the best way to end their discomfort is to get the “perceived” source of their discomfort to “shut up and go away.”
So whenever this happens, remember the first of Don Miguel Ruiz’s The 4 Agreements:
“Don’t take anything personally!”
Their comments are NOT about you, even if their words sound like it! The reason it FEELS like it’s personal is that you are reacting in an unconscious pattern as well. Old self-critical messages and beliefs that you maintain about yourself are trying to take over.
Be grateful that you are now aware that there is static going on between you and the other person, because that will now give you the ability to choose a different attitude about yourself, your behavior and your consciously chosen response to them!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this answer later this month….and remember to BREATHE!
Need a more immediate answer to your burning question, email me at Loren@beingwellwithin.com . Get the support, direction and encouragement you need and deserve.