We all know what it feels like to get our feelings hurt. It's starts at a really young age on the schoolyard, right? Kids telling each other they have "cooties". It can be anything from innocent teasing to downright bullying. What about when this happens as an adult? What I've learned is, we have a choice how we react to it, and HOW we react to it actually might teach us something about how we feel about ourselves.
When I was younger, I didn't have much confidence. I had extremely crooked teeth, and I'm not talking about your average crooked teeth....I could fit my bottom lip in between my two front teeth...one of my top front teeth stuck straight out. I got teased a lot. I can remember playing on the slide at school and the other girls pretending to spay the slide with "cooty spray" after I'd go down to "disinfect" it after I'd go down. Why do I remember that at the age of 43? Because it stung. At the time it really hurt my feelings. Being such a shy, introverted child I already felt like something was wrong with me, so even innocent teasing at that age, solidified the negative belief I already held against myself.
When I was in my late 20's, I had someone say something else that's always stuck with me and now I know why. I won't get into the whole story because it's irrelevant, but I spoke up about something and their response to me was "Oh you have something to say, Miss Opinionated?" Now that wasn't nice because I was just trying to defend a girlfriend of mine, but again, why do I still remember how badly that hurt me? Because it was true. What they had said to me was true. I never voiced my opinion. I never spoke up about anything because I was afraid. I already held that "belief" against myself...and that's why it stung so bad.
Self love is something I've had to gain over time and it's made such a huge impact in my life. Gaining confidence over the years has helped me understand why some people take teasing, criticism and harsh words so gracefully, letting them just roll off their back... while others get really angry, defensive even.. and can't seem to let go of it. Now, I'm not saying I never get angry anymore, but I now know why some things get under my skin more than others.
I've had people ask me how I seem to handle some of these situations so gracefully. I've learned over the years that if something stings me, it's because I actually hold that belief about myself in some way. If somebody says something about me that I know not to be true, I now understand that that is actually not about me at all, it's about them. It goes back to one of The Four Agreements, "Don't Take Anything Personally".
The key is to know who you are. Know your values. Know what you stand for. If you stand true in that, you have control over who can hurt you.
I think back to that person who angered me at that time that made me take a good look at myself. That person who opened a wound about me never speaking up and voicing my opinion. I now feel nothing but gratitude for that person for speaking the truth. They were absolutely right and that's why it stung so bad. I've worked on that weakness and have made changes I can now be proud of.
I've had a couple of instances online here and there lately that got me thinking about this important topic. Someone called me "mean" the other day and my reaction to it said so much to me. It didn't bother me at all. I know I'm not mean. I know what my values are. I know how many people I help nowadays. I didn't take it personally because I know it's not true. I also am not angry at that person. Well, maybe for a split second because I'm human;) But in all seriousness, I know that that judgement about me had nothing to do with me. I didn't take it personally. I don't know what they may be going through and I know for sure they don't know me. They just misunderstood me in that moment and made a judgement. The important difference I noticed this time.....I didn't let it hurt me. I instead started thinking about how I could use that lesson to help others, so I'm writing this post.
Especially in the blogging world that I'm in today, you have to have a tough skin. You can't please everyone and so many people are quick to let things fly from the comfort behind their smart phones and computers. I know not everyone is going to like me. I'm not meant to have everyone like me and that's okay! What I keep in mind is this... If I stand strong in my beliefs and values, if I know who I am... I'm in control of who can hurt me. It goes back to our childhood, right? "Sticks and stones...." If something does sting.... why does it sting? Instead of getting angry, maybe look inward instead. Once you find self love, you'll find balance within.