How many times has someone made you upset, angry, broken your heart, disappointed you, or made you feel unloved or unworthy? You might say it happens all the time, but I'm going to tell you something radically different, something which you might find difficult to accept. The truth is that no one's ever done that to you... ever.
Now I'm not denying your feelings. I'm not suggesting that your feelings aren't valid in and of themselves. We've all felt these things from time to time, and they're certainly uncomfortable. But what I'm suggesting to you is that no one can make you feel any particular way. That is, no one else is ultimately responsible for your feelings apart from you.
If that's hard to hear, I understand. But if you truly want to be happy in life, if you want to feel deeply loved, if you want to take back your power and stop being a victim, this is where you have to start. You have to start by taking responsibility for your own emotions.
See, the thing is is that no one has the power to hurt us emotionally, unless we hand that power over to them. In truth, they don't really have that power at all. It's really just an illusion, a projection of our own mind. What occurs within us, within our own minds, is purely our own making. When we're upset because of something someone said or did, that feeling arises from within us. It's a reaction to their behavior. But it isn't the other person who puts that feeling there. They're not the one who creates it. We simply project the feeling onto them, as if it were coming from them.
And often we go through life constantly disappointed by others, constantly offended, manipulated, feeling judged and distressed. We're constantly the victim of other people's opinions, neglect and abuse. But wouldn't it be great if we could go through life not giving a shit what other people think, not allowing others to disturb our sense of peace, unaffected by their rudeness, and refusing to allow them to treat us with disrespect?
Now, I'm not saying there aren't people out there who are rude and inconsiderate, selfish, mean and ill-tempered. But how they affect our mood is determined by whether we take their words and actions personally, how we interpret them, how much we allow them to affect us.
When someone is mean to us we generally react by feeling sad or angry, but our anger is our own reaction. We have to take responsibility for that. We have to understand that ultimately we have a choice. We can react any number of ways. We can be angry or we can let it roll right off us. That choice is up to you. And it all begins with how you interpret the situation.
We often take these things very personally, but we need to consider what may be going on within the other person. Why are they angry? Why are they rude? Why are they mean? Is it really about you or is there something going on in them that we're failing to take notice of?
If we can understand that someone who is truly happy is incapable of being mean, then we also have to understand that someone who is mean is deeply unhappy. You don't have to tolerate their behavior. You don't even have to associate with them at all. But you can learn to have compassion. Because if you become angry then you take on their unhappiness, and you perpetuate the cycle.
By simply understanding why others behave the way they do, we see that it really has little or nothing to do with us, and we can let go of the need to react. We don't have to know exactly what it is that's causing them to be this way. But simply to understand that for some reason they aren't happy, and that their external behavior is rooted in that unhappiness. If we can understand that, how can we be upset with them? How can you be upset with someone for being deeply unhappy? When you truly understand that they're hurting inside, and it really has nothing to do with you, you will naturally feel compassion.
And this is the same in all circumstances. If someone is judgmental, understand that their judgments have nothing to do with you but rather with their own sense of insecurity or a lack of self worth and confidence. They're only judging others to distract themselves from their own negative self judgments.
If a person is inconsiderate, neglectful, unloving, know that this arises from a sense of feeling unloved and neglected. It's really not about you. It's about their own internal wounds. So don't take it personally.
When you begin to see things from this perspective, you find that when others are being unkind, you actually feel compassion for them, because you understand that deep down they're hurting. In some cases you may be able to comfort them, to reconcile and console them. Or you may simply have to ignore them, to not associate with them and to simply walk away. Or, in some cases, you may have to firmly, but compassionately, put them in their place.
The way you respond is going to be different depending on the situation. But what's important is that you take your power back. And that gives you the power to respond in what ever way is most healthy for you. And once you begin doing this, you will feel all the more empowered. You will find, with each of these conflicts, that you are more easily able to stand up for yourself or simply walk away, without having your emotional state disturbed.
We have to understand that everyone is ultimately responsible for their own emotions, so let the other person wallow in whatever they're feeling if that's what they want. You have no control over that. And in turn, they have no control over how you feel either. But guess who does? You. You are the only one who has any control over what you feel, and it's only because you haven't stepped into your power that you think others have that power over you.
As long as you believe you're a helpless victim, you will always be a victim. But as soon as you take back your power, you will realize you never have to be a victim ever again. When you take responsibility for your own emotions this doesn't mean you have to go on feeling unhappy with no one to blame but yourself. What it means is that you have a choice. You realize that you don't have to be unhappy. You can choose happiness instead. Because it doesn't matter what anyone else says or what they think of you. All that matters is what you believe about yourself.
As long as we're dependent upon others to make us feel happy, to feel loved, to feel secure and comforted, we're going to find ourselves disappointed time and again. But as soon as we begin to cultivate these qualities within ourselves, independent of others, we can maintain them indefinitely.
If you build your house on sand, the rain can come and wash it away. But if you build your house on a solid foundation, the storms come, the winds blow, the earth shakes, and the house remains standing. The house is your self-image, the way you see yourself, your sense of worth. If you make that state of mind dependent upon others, it's going to crumble. But if you build it on the foundation of self-love, based on your own independent recognition of your value, then no one can destroy that.