We need to talk.
Have you ever had someone text you, or leave a voicemail, or send you an email, or mail you a letter, or say this when you see each other….
….and you have a little voice inside that says “oh no”?
Surge of adrenaline.
Maybe the inner frightened voice takes off chattering.
What’d I do? What’s the problem now? They don’t like me.
Sometimes people think those four words “we need to talk” mean you’re about to get broken up with! Ouch.
This is one of my favorite ideas to do The Work on…..
….the story that I am about to be hurt by someone’s words, because they are not pleased with my behavior.
Whether they’re about to say I’m a jerk, or they didn’t like what I did or said, or they’re so unhappy they are leaving this relationship, it can bring up a strange sense of fear.
Let’s take a look, using The Work.
You may notice, you’ve believed this thought for years, since you were a kid even.
Here’s the Big Stressful Belief in summary:
It is possible to be hurt by other people’s words (or actions).
Dang. Doesn’t that seem true?
Yes, yes, yes!
People are mean. People have said hard things. They’ve left me. They’ve cut me off. They’ve told me they don’t like stuff I do, or think, or say.
It’s made me cry. I’ll do anything to avoid it. It feels like a knife in my heart.
I hate when people don’t like me. It sucks.
Are you sure? Are you absolutely sure it’s true?
Think about this answer, deeply.
Can other people really hurt you with their words, or actions? What do you mean by “hurt”?
Do they not have a right to their opinion? Is it a permanent opinion, or something changeable?
Does everyone have to like you? Does everyone have to look like someone who is kind, or loving, or caring?
I notice that people who act nice sometimes aren’t, and people who act mean sometimes aren’t.
I notice human feelings are movable, malleable, changing.
How do you react when you believe you can be hurt?
Do you stay away from people? Do you make sure not to get too close? Do you stay home, just to avoid possible rejection? Do you keep quiet in a group or a classroom? Do you act agreeable, saying “yes” when you really mean “no”? Do you smile a lot?
Now don’t get upset with yourself for being such a pleaser. You’ve done what you needed to do, you thought, in order to survive.
This is not the time to say you’re stupid for being so worried about what other people think.
This is learning, here. You’re OK.
I was at a huge party not long ago. An acquaintance I was speaking to I realized had a few drinks. He was talking about an event next fall and telling me the dates of when it would be happening and how I had to come, and leaning in too far, repeating himself.
“Are you free those dates?”
I nodded in agreement, trying to see my escape route around the table out of the corner of my eye.
I heard myself mumble “yes, I think I’m free around that time.”
I knew I would never go to that event, even if I was free.
But something about the alcohol-breath and the loud voices all around and the party atmosphere made me not be direct. Not that I would do it any differently overall, but why on earth say that I’m even free?
Who would I be without the belief that people can hurt me with words or actions?
Even if he had started calling me names, or been abrupt somehow?
Even if someone said “I’m breaking up with you” (it’s happened).
Even if someone said “I don’t like the way you handled that, or said this, or acted like that” (it’s happened).
Even if someone said “I don’t want to hang out with you any more” (it’s happened).
Without the belief that these words or actions are painful, I notice there’s no defense.
The energy still comes at me and goes right through me. It feels uncomfortable for a moment.
But also exciting.
Something within feels very, very quiet and solid.
Something feels raw and exposed and vulnerable, but also like this energy is nothing to be truly afraid of.
I notice having people say things, or leave, hasn’t killed me.
Usually, it’s been eye-opening, and powerful.
Turning the belief around:
It is impossible to be hurt by other people’s words (or actions). It is possible to be healed by other people’s words or actions.
She hurt me—she healed me.
He hurt me—he healed me.
I hurt her. I hurt him. I hurt myself.
WOW. Could this all be as true, or truer?
“No thought you have ever had is true. No opinion you have ever held is right. Let them go. No idea you have of yourself, or of who or what you are, has ever corresponded to reality. Or ever will. Let them go….Let grace stop you.” ~ David Carse in Perfect Brilliant Stillness
What an adventure the “criticism” has been. What thrill.
What welcome destruction of the little “I” who thinks its so important and gets so jumpy the minute its judged.
“Don’t wish for union! There’s a closeness beyond that…Fall in love in such a way that it frees you from any connecting. Love is the soul’s light, the taste of morning; no me, no we, no claim of being…As eyes in silence, tears, face: love cannot be said.” ~ Rumi
Could it be true that I was only hurting myself with my own imagination and stories, every time I believed others could hurt me?
It doesn’t mean I don’t feel energy coursing through me when you call me names, or walk away, or do something harmful.
But the energy goes through and past, its met with understanding and love.
I feel it, completely, and cry, or laugh, or take a quick in-breath….and see that love is still right here…..always.
[stextbox id=”custom”]P.S. Free webinar on Desire and The Work of Byron Katie (a happy marriage) on March 26th 10-11:30 am Pacific Time. More in tomorrow’s Grace Note. Stay tuned![/stextbox]