If You Don’t Want To Step On Toes, You’d Better Grow Wings
And the great news is, it’s only going to take four weeks instead of the original eight. So, I only need to survive one month without a kitchen rather than two. 🙂 I mean, I enjoy sitting on the basement floor chopping vegetables to make chili in a crock pot and trying not to drop anything on the carpet because it would then be covered in cat hair… [/sarcasm].
So it’s with lots of banging and construction dust in the air that I write today’s post!
I wrote a post on Facebook the other day discussing how learning so much about human behavior had helped me to be better able to clearly define how much of the shit I find myself in on a daily basis actually belongs to me, and how much of it is being projected onto me by someone else.
I mentioned that many people struggle with finding clarity in these situations, which often leaves them taking responsibility for things they shouldn’t, or expecting others to take responsibility for things that actually belong to them.
We’ve heard spiritual teachers tell us over and over that WE are responsible for our own emotions. Not others.
I’ve written time and again many of my posts about taking responsibility for our emotions and to stop blaming others for making us feel a certain way.
We are responsible for our own emotions. Other people cannot make us feel anything that we don’t already feel deep inside. Their words and their actions are merely trigger points that set us off. Like poking a bruise you forgot was there.
When people don’t take responsibility for their emotions, they project the responsibility for those emotions onto others.
“He hurt me. He said something mean to me.” “She’s not being nice to me.”
Sure, when someone says something that is intentionally cruel, it’s not nice and they are attempting to cross your personal boundaries. But you don’t have to believe it. And you don’t have to internalize it. And you don’t have to let it bother you, but you do. And when you do, you’re consenting to that feeling, perhaps because you have secretly fear it, deep down. And when you allow that, you are allowing that person to invade your boundaries.
There’s plenty of other situations where the person who is “not being nice” is actually being quite neutral, which provides a perfect mirror onto which a person can project their negative emotions and fears about themselves and see them reflected back, completely without any intent what-so-ever from the person they are interacting with.
In those situations, this person’s own insecurity is getting the better of them and they are quite literally creating your own drama. In addition to that, they are perceiving that their boundaries have been crossed, when they haven’t. It’s self-created. They may then lash out and attack the person who they perceive as crossing those boundaries and in turn, actually end up attempting to invade THAT person’s boundaries, and do the very thing that they were perceiving was being done to them in the first place.
If that happens to you, then what do you do? Most of my writing has been extensively focused on our projections of our own emotions, but today, this post is going to be about being on the receiving end of those projections.
Relationships: Are You Giving Too Much?
I linked to an article on Elephant Journal about how mature men and women deal with emotional withdrawal that discussed a lot of the dynamics that occur in relationships where people aren’t taking emotional responsibility. One of the side-effects mentioned is that the people who interact with them on a daily basis have to walk on egg-shells so as not to trigger that person’s insecurities, creating an emotional tornado of projection.
The saddest part about this is that many people, particularly those who are empathetic, will practically bend over backward to try and alleviate this person’s self-imposed emotional suffering. This is not healthy for them, either.
The end result is that they end up enabling the negative behavior and absorbing that person’s pain in the process, making themselves miserable.
This is why it’s so important to learn and understand your own personal boundaries, and what belongs to you and what doesn’t.
It is your choice as to whether or not you will take on the task of attempting to help such a person with their issues. You can’t help them all, or you’ll end up expending an exorbitant amount of our own personal energy, spreading yourself too thin. You end up not taking care of you, first.
So choose wisely, and healthily who you will help and how you will do it. Holding the space for healing others requires strength, dedication, and lots of unconditional love.
When It’s a Stranger and Not Your Loved One
You’ll encounter people on a daily basis who project their emotional insecurities onto you. But it’s your choice as to whether or not you will allow it. If you do, you’re taking responsibility for things that don’t belong to you and you’re allowing those people to cross your personal boundaries. If you uphold your boundaries and don’t take responsibility for the things they are attempting to project onto you, they’re probably going to think you’re an asshole, but guess what?
What others think of you is none of your business.
You can’t go through life walking on eggshells for the sake of other people. It’s just not feasible.
If you don’t want to unintentionally step on anyone’s toes, you had better grow a pair of wings.
But since I doubt either of us is going to make an evolutionary leap and become Birdman any time soon, our next best option is to stop taking on other people’s emotional baggage. It will certainly make you a lot lighter.
There’s always going to be someone who doesn’t like you and much of the time, it’s really not going to actually have anything at all to do with you. If you can begin to recognize that fact, and start to discern what actually is your baggage and what isn’t, life will become so much easier.