All these internet memes about how you are responsible for your own feelings, about how you’re in control of your own feelings, and you must own them, be responsible for them? Well, I just think they’re all crap. I’ve actually thought about this since early November, and had two drafts written, but tonight, I’m committing.
It. is. all. shit.
I suppose in an ideal world, we’d all feel really great about ourselves, seeing our talents, abilities, and contributions before our flaws and inadequacies, but I have yet to be invited to the ideal world.
I’ve got a good healthy sense of self and a strong personality. I speak my mind, I’m full of piss and vinegar, and while I am often hated on, I’m also very well-loved by the people I love, who are, let’s face it, the best people in the world.
So yeah, I love myself very much.
(I love myself much less when I have hit my head on the same thing for the umpteenth time, or when I scald the sauce, or when I can’t get my hair to lie down.)
Despite my obvious awesomeness and seemingly unbreakable spirit, sometimes people hurt my feelings. I know! Can you imagine? I bet it never happens to you!
I read The Four Agreements about twelve years ago. It’s an amazing book. I struggled with Agreement #2. I still do.
When I was working in management (where I do not belong) my boss told me to not take things personally. My response? “How can I not take it personally when I’m a person?”
I’ve gotten better, but I’m still workin on it. Oh, Don Miguel — Immune? Hardly. Suffering? Never.
After my feelings are hurt, my job, as a healthy emotional human, is to stop to acknowledge the feeling. I am entitled to feel my feelings. I don’t need a book to tell me that. I’m too sensitive, artistic, and intuitive to be all, “Oh feelings are stupid.” No, feelings are not stupid. Feelings motivate most of my choices.
But, if you think that I must own all the feelings others try to pin on me, you can peddle that crazy somewhere else. I’m not going to internalize all those words from the source.
If you think words don’t matter, then why the hell are you reading?
After identifying the feeling and letting it settle, then I must determine why I’m feeling hurt. This is where it gets tricky.
99% of the time, I’ve determined that the person who hurt my feelings has actually tried to hurt my feelings. Bully!
I don’t do that. I hurt people’s feelings on accident. It’s worse, because it’s how I really feel, which is much more scathing than just blurting random insults out in anger. Truly, I don’t intentionally hurt anyone’s feelings.
But they are, and that has nothing to do with me. There is no healthy reason to insult someone. There just isn’t.
Writers spend a lot of time examining motivation. We mastered motivation at an early age, because we read and we observed.
The 1% of hurt matters, because as it turns out, we are less than perfect, and we need people who love us to point it out, and say, “Hey! Work on this!” Just a tiny percentage comes from constructive criticism. Most of the insults come from angry people looking for a fight.
“If you’re upset by my saying it, it must be true.”
If you’re this upset about it, it’s likely because the person saying it meant to hurt you. Why do they want to hurt you?
“I’m sorry you took it that way. That’s your problem.”
Maybe you shouldn’t say mean stuff to people like they’re inanimate objects. I question the friendship of those who insult me, and you should, too.
Our feelings are not in our control. Our feelings are easily manipulated by others, or there wouldn’t be such a thing as verbal abuse, art in any of its forms, or analysis.
So, after I’ve determined the motivation of the speaker, I decide how I will react.
This is where I think the Drama Kings and Queens fail. This is when I often choose to walk away, say goodbye and hang up the phone, or say I’m agreed to disagree. The point being we’ll never reach a resolution, and as much as I enjoy being right, I’d rather let it go and move on. Maybe they follow me, maybe they call me back, but I refuse to participate further. Online, this translates to me reading countless posts continuing the same argument, each one more desperate than the last, in an attempt to draw me in and make me feel bad about myself.
Well, I’m just not gonna.
I have said it before, and I shall say it again and again, I am here to enjoy my life.