Last weekend, I went to the beach with another mom and our four combined children. While we were there, I asked the mom if she would put sunscreen on my back so that I didn’t burn.
While doing so, she made several references to how strong and muscular my back was, and jokingly said, “Are you sure you’re not a man?” TWICE.
I am actually quite proud of my muscles, and do not consider them to be overly manly, but there was a time in my life when she would have pushed a serious button, and it would have pissed me off.
Was she trying to hurt me? No
Was she trying to piss me off? No
Her comment was not said with any malice, and if anything says a lot more about HER than it does about me.
With that said, though, a couple weeks ago, my daughter asked me if I was having another baby, and that stung big time!
So how do we deal with these kinds of situations?
By not taking things personally.
Next week, within my virtual book circle, we will be starting the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. The second of the four agreements is exactly what I wrote above, “DON’T TAKE THINGS PERSONALLY.”
Mr. Ruiz says, “Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of them….we eat up all their garbage and then it become OUR garbage...It’s not what they are saying that is hurting you, is is the wound that they have touched that is hurting you. You are hurting yourself.”
Great words to remember, but how in world do we put it into practice?
Here are a few of my ideas, though I would love to hear some of yours:
ONE: Know our triggers or wounds. Explore those moments when we are angry, sad, frustrated, etc. What was the trigger? If we aren’t able to see them, find a friend or professional who can help. Strong and daring women ask for help.
TWO: Breathe! Our amygdala hijacks our pre-frontal context within 10 seconds, so if we breath through those ten seconds we are more able to respond without defensiveness
THREE: Remind ourselves that their words are THEIRS and have nothing to do with us. It’s their story, not ours. Practice self love, and self-care. Do our affirmations, meditations, gratitude, journaling, etc. Celebrate ourselves for who we are, no matter what others have to say.
FOUR: If we are done dealing with these comments, then plan a suitable response. Something like: When ______ says ______, I am going to say _________ and do _____.” That way we are being PRO-active rather than RE-active.
FIVE: Follow through on our responses. It’s not a boundary unless you follow through on it.
SIX: Keep practicing numbers 1-3. The more love we shed on ourselves, the less other people’s garbage (as Mr. Ruiz calls it) affects you.
Which means, next time my daughter makes a comment about my looking pregnant, I can breathe deeply, remind myself that she isn’t hurting me, and that I am hurting myself, and head to the mirror to do some mirror work. If she says it again, I can ask her not to do so, in a kind and respectful manner.
What about you? Is there anything triggering you lately? How can you respond differently and not take it personally?
A work in progress,