Day 14 prompt:
How do other people affect your normal? How do you control those affects? Do you choose who’s in your life and what role they play?
Other people affect our lives in all roles we play. While we would like to believe that we can control everything, we know better, and in this case there are too many external factors that ultimately limit out ability to control who is in our lives. For example, you cannot choose your family, your coworkers, your neighbors or even the most remote of interactions like who gets behind you in line at the grocery store. For this reason the effort and practice that we need to deploy is about controlling how we react and what we tolerate.
In my life there are people that have and do ultimately affect me negatively however I have made a concerted effort to remove those people from my life. Where I don’t have the freedom to choose I have chosen to limit my interactions and ultimately to control my reaction. I have learned that people will show themselves without my assistance and my intervention can appear to be part of the problem versus a solve. I have also learned that saying nothing at all, or in this case not reacting, makes more of a statement than words ever could.
The reason this prompt is important in the discussion of “normal” is that if you do not take steps to control your reactions or continue to allow people in your life that do not serve you well, your reaction becomes your normal. A normal over time makes you a victim of those people. Becoming a “victim” in any sense of the word is never okay especially when you can control and deny the victimization.
The more I write about this topic and others the more I realize that the common denominator is ALWAYS your ability to DECIDE. You decide everything in life. You decide if you stay, if you go, who you go with, how you go…YOU DECIDE. It is the power of that decision that ultimately affects everything. This is a topic for another day but I must say that it is where I have seen people NOT decide for themselves that they play victim to their environment. NOT deciding is also a decision and if that is the choice you make, own it, don’t make excuses, don’t blame others, own it and where you don’t need to explain, don’t, just decide.
Life as I decide – L.
I have to remind myself of this at least once a week or more. You don’t hear from that special someone and wonder if you have done something wrong. You are not invited to a meeting at work that your peers are in attendance and feel paranoid. All of sudden the emotions start ramping up and before you know it you have made up any number of stories about why you are being victimized by the other party. You feel like an absolute fool when you later find out that “it” was never actually about you to begin with; that special someone has been out of touch because they were traveling or sick and the meeting was about a subject-matter that did not affect you.
We are humans moving through this life independently despite the number of partners we have surrounded ourselves. We have our own thought processes and proceeding emotions to contend with based on the stories we have told ourselves. We move cyclically in this life and therefore naturally have highs and lows that we emote through. it is how we master these machinations in our psyche that determines our reaction and it is that reaction that sets the tone. Are you a victim or a victimizer?
More often than not when you realize “it’s really not about you” you also start to lose that victim-mentality. A victim by definition is one injured by someone or something else. In cases of our psyche we ultimately decide who will affect us and how we will allow it. We can choose not to be affected or victimized as that is a decision that is ours. Ultimately by learning to control this victim-mentality you become more powerful over the situations in your life. This is not to say that we will never be affected but to walk around “on guard” 24/7 is exhausting and unnecessary as again it is simply not all about you.
An example of this has happened to me recently. There is someone I am having to deal with that makes every decision that has to be made very difficult. They frustrate me beyond reason and have the ability to ruin my day and night. However let’s break this down a bit:
- Who is at fault in this scenario? The victimizer or the victim? Well in my case while I don’t “like” the person I am dealing with and cannot remove them from my environment I have to learn to “deal with it”. It is fair to say that if I allow the victimization I am inevitably at fault. I hold MY power.
- The fact is that this person is not likely going to change however I can certainly decide my reaction and adjust my response.
- I actually A/B tested this (most accidentally) and it works!
- Test A – Interaction went bad and I was angry the rest of the night. Completely took over my time with the fam that night and ate away at me all night long.
- Test B – Interaction was headed to the same “bad” it always does however I made a conscious choice to change my reaction. I went into the interaction asking myself these questions beforehand:
- Why do I care about the thing that we disagree on?
- How will the interaction affect me short/long-term?
- …and with that I chose to go in agreeable, knowing that they knew of my discord already however me reacting to it only fed into that power that person was already taking from me. That night I went home and did not think again about the interaction and ultimately was free the moment I started and as soon as it was over.
In my A/B test I as able to recognize that the interaction was going to happen regardless of my reaction; but by choosing the cool and calm alternate reaction I took my power back and did not allow that person to hold me hostage. In this case I guess I just flipped the script because it actually “was about me”! In this case it was about me taking my power back and not at all about me and my reaction as it previously played out.
When you start to feel that paranoia building remind yourself “it is really not about you” and move on from the feeling fast. When you realize your reaction is inappropriate for the circumstance remind yourself “it is all about you” and self-correct fast. Ultimately the next time someone attempts to make you their victim; confront it with class and take back your power.
Moving on down the high road…L.