I’ve been massively obsessed lately about how I can get through to people. Frankly, my drive was coming from feeling very lonely and feeling that I often fuck up with people and have a hard time cleaning it up. I know people in my life, close to me, who still cannot forgive me for some things I did. And surely, I can talk until I am blue in my face that it was not my intention, some of them won’t budge. Part of me gets it, because they are also hurt and they have the right to not trust me. But how do you get the hell out of this vicious circle? I even thought to myself, maybe I screwed up this life, perhaps I should wait for another one to come along so I could do better. This made me cry because it shows how defeated I was, how much I was afraid I could never change and I can never have better life, better relationships, more results than I can currently show for. Surely, it seems like some got it right, being sweet, likable and all. I just didn’t fit that mold.
I don’t know about you, but I think about this a lot: how hard to push where I can change things, where do I need to surrender because it is what it is. I am a bit of a perfectionist, an overachiever, and while I love people, growing up as a single child, I do have this knowledge that: nobody else is coming, so that if I don’t do it, I can’t expect anyone to do it for me. Perhaps this has me go for it where some people wouldn’t but also lack confidence in places where some would feel reassured.
In my obsession with being nicer to people, letting them further in, releasing more of my judgements and surrendering to the flow of life, I naturally remembered this saying: “People don’t remember what you did, but they remember how you made them feel!” And all happy I started to breathe more deeply when I am around people, to notice when my reaction takes the best of me, to try and step back and let other people shine and not feel like I always know best. And this thought has been on my mind for days, as I would drift of to sleep, play with my kids, go to my yoga class… And then suddenly it hit me: WE are in charge of our experience, fully and completely. I really got to see for myself how thinking that X person made me feel bad is not the X persons’s problem, it becomes mine. It suddenly flashed before my eyes that when I make other people responsible for how I feel, regardless of what they said or did to me, I am giving away my power and ownership of my feelings and to people I don’t necessarily like or trust.
This, naturally, took me by surprise. I could see the statement as valid: yes, we don’t necessarily remember what people did but how they left us feel. And here is what I see: it’s not how THEY left us feel, it’s what they did that triggered something in us that wasn’t in alignment with how we prefer to feel. Said another way, people who made us feel bad, for example, are not “making us feel bad,” they are merely shining the light on something within us that we need to take ownership of so that we don’t feel bad. This instantly turns the power of people to leave us feeling anything to the power for us to feel and learn from everything that comes our way. Doesn’t this instantly make you feel grateful for people who do push your buttons? I feel it should because I really don’t have it that any person out there is fundamentally bad. I have it that we all try to do what’s best and sometimes that’s just not enough for some of us and that is ok.
Then, obviously, there is no such a thing as “toxic” people we so openly try to let go off, cut off from our life, our love and our attention. While we can choose people in our life that we vibe with (notice a reframe from “make us feel good”), that doesn’t for a second make those people we are not getting along with TOXIC. There really is no such thing as toxic, maybe not a match, good mix or however else we can express it to remain true to what we feel without labeling those around us. Said even better: there are no toxic people, just things, buttons, issues we would rather be not dealing with right now.
I feel this could make for a better world because suddenly, we are owning that we have the power to change how we feel and in that process, which can take some effort, we can choose who and how we want to spend time with without labels or judgement of others. And there, we have a word free of “toxic” things, only playground to play on, work with, work through and choose while generous, understanding, loving and in full ownership of who we are and what we feel.