I’ve heard this over and over and over: “You are responsible for your own feelings. No one can make you feel any particular way.”
Many people say this. Many therapists say this. Many life coaches say this. My opinion, perhaps unpopular, is that I don’t believe it is completely true that “no one can make you feel any particular way.”
We don't live in an ideal reality. Whether it should be this way or not, what other people say or do impacts how one feels.
For example, the very presence of my son or my husband results in me feeling joy— usually. LOL! I do not make a conscious effort to feel that joy. I just do. There are other people whose very presence results in me experiencing negative feelings.
What is true is that you are responsible for your own feelings. Even though someone's presence may lead you to feel bad, they are not responsible for how you feel. You are.
That's the power that each of us has. We must assert it.
When it comes to people who have a negative impact on you, there are strategies that can help minimize your negative emotions. They help you take power away from the person and by doing so, you assert your own power.
1. Forgiveness. Forgiveness can restore inner peace and tranquility. By forgiving, you can find a sense of closure and can move forward without the emotional turmoil that resentment and anger can cause. This newfound peace empowers you to spend less time holding onto negative emotions and more time engaging in healthy interactions.
2. Focus on self. There are people whose very presence may result in our feeling “some kind of way.” There is not always the option to leave. Even if there was, GENERALLY, that’s not the option I would choose. Instead of focusing energy and time on the person and allowing them to impact your geography, focus on you and your purpose on being in that place in that moment. Owning your power lies in choosing to not give up an opportunity because of the presence of another person.
3. Find your calm. Through self-regulation strategies such as breath work, positive self-talk, and pausing, you can mentally reset and move past the negative response into a more positive emotional space. This can empower you to focus on something other than the negativity associated with that person.
4. Challenge and reframe. Replace the negative thoughts that you have about the person or their actions with something positive. For example, a friend who had a bad experience with a leader, for a while was triggered by this person. Recently, she reframed the experience and now views that person as teaching her valuable lessons about leadership.
5. Lean on your team. I define one’s team as anyone who supports them and acts as their cheerleaders. They may be family, friends, co-workers, coaches, or anyone else who provides support. By being beside you, these individuals help you refocus on yourself and your goals. Thy can help you find your calm. They can also help you challenge and reframe your negative perspective.
Here's another example. My husband clowns a lot. He can be very funny. That's one of the reasons I love him. However, sometimes his teasing and joking upset Isaiah. I used to encourage Harold not to joke so much with Isaiah. Now I encourage Isaiah to figure out how to not allow Harold’s joking negatively impact him. I encourage him to stop allowing Harold to have that power.
Whether you agree with my unpopular opinion, becoming more self-aware and working on strategies to help you feel empowered when the presence of another person leads to discomfort will lead to personal growth.
Founder, Stacey M Design Inc.
I love teaching students to believe in themselves and own their power. To learn about my books and programs, contact me!
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