You are responsible for your own feelings. I’m sure we’ve all said those words ‘you made me feel <insert whatever emotion>’. But that’s not true. No one can make you feel a certain way. Words don’t find their way into your body, pick an emotion, and then have you feeling it.
For you to feel a certain way after someone has said something that particular feeling has to be present already. You have to already feel that way for that emotion to get triggered.
For example, if someone told you they hated your short hair (but you have long hair) you probably wouldn’t give any thought to it. It’s not your reality. However, if you cut your hair short and felt unsure or regretted that decision then it could easily trigger bad feelings. But it’s not that person making you feel that way (doesn’t make it ok to say shit like that though). You feel that way already, they’ve just triggered the emotion.
When you’re feeling like someone has made you feel a certain way can you look inside yourself and examine why you already felt that way?
I recently felt hugely disrespected in a situation in my life. I simply could not see how this thing wasn’t a huge FU towards me. I chatted to my coach fully expecting her to tell me ‘oh yeah, that’s super disrespectful!!’. But of course she didn’t. Instead she said ‘no one can make you feel disrespected. Where are you disrespecting yourself?’. I realized that I wasn’t being totally honest about what was important to me in this situation and was therefore disrespecting myself and what I needed. So when the time was right that emotion was easily triggered.
Our outer world is a reflection of our inner world. When things are challenging around us it’s like the universe is holding up a mirror and saying ‘hey, here’s where you need to do some work!’. For me I wasn’t respecting what I wanted in this situation and so it showed up externally. Lesson learned.
It’s hard to look within ourselves when what we really want is to blame those who ‘made us feel’ a certain way. But outsourcing the responsibility for our emotions is not a smart thing to do. If we can take responsibility for our emotions and be honest with ourselves we’ll find ourselves living in victim mode a whole hell of a lot less! Taking responsibility for your emotions is hard. It’s not something we’re really taught so it’s unfamiliar work to start. It ain’t easy – blaming others is so much easier. But there’s no growth in blaming others and being the victim. Growth happens through discomfort and pain. That’s how we grow into the best version of ourselves!
Every triggered emotion is a growth opportunity. As my coach says, ‘where you’re triggered is where the work is’.
Next time you find yourself blaming others try looking in the mirror – you might be surprised at what is reflected back to you…