YOUR FEELINGS ARE YOUR PROPERTY
My uncle Bubba once told me, “If you have a problem with how someone else lives their life, YOU have the problem, and they don’t have to change for you.” It used to make me angry until I finally saw the light!
Years have passed in a person’s life that have made up the time it took them to develop into who they are. Traumatic experiences, pain, hurt, disappointment or success, happiness, joy and goodness have probably all transpired. We are the product of our experiences and generally we are doing the best we can to survive in this world where no one has all the answers.
The problem I had was wanting everyone to be like me. Think like me. Understand how I understand so that those around me could be my mirror and I could exist in what I thought would be utopia. When the world didn’t respond to me in ways that made sense, I’d put a wall up around myself and stay isolated fearing that the world isn’t the way it’s supposed to be and that no one here was on my level.
I’m partially justified in this thinking, only because of my experiences in life. I can only see the world through my perspective when my perspective is all I’m open and or privy to. But as I have expanded my perspective, I get to see that although preferences are ok, I cannot impose what I believe on anyone else. Ever.
The choices I have with opposing feelings, people and opinions are to A.) Entertain them & B.) Ignore them. That’s it.
I’ve always wondered what makes one person capable of understanding something and how that thing can easily be misunderstood by another. Part of the answer comes back to those experiences and that perspective. When I see the world as something I want to change by controlling and manipulating others, I feel closed in and unhappy. I hate the differences in opinion. I want sameness so that I don’t have to adjust my comfort zone. How I feel is how I want everyone to feel. But there’s something else. There’s another answer.
I was dating a guy a few years back. I had the silly thought that he was my “work-in-progress.” I planned on changing the way he dressed, helping him get rid of some of the bootsy things he said, teaching him how to use money etc. I was going to use the fact that he liked me to control him because I didn’t trust that he could be what I wanted or what I would be happy with all on his own. But it never quite worked out. Even when I used my force, however slick, the things I tried to make him into never satisfied me. I would find later that the reason why is because I wanted him to be something I created in my feelings and in my imagination. I wasn’t dating him because I genuinely gave myself the chance to love who he was, but because of how we would look together. Because of what he could do for me. Because of what I needed from him that I was too afraid to give to myself. I secretly liked it when he would defy me and tell me to chill out. Underneath my desire to change him was really the desire to change myself and to have something I didn’t within; acceptance & responsibility.
So the other answer to why some people are able to handle diversity and others not so much, comes down to our desire to learn and grow. Some might think intelligence is the result of school or books alone. But it’s the desire to constantly stimulate the mind by challenging it. Whatever feelings give us that burn in our chest and that distinctive feeling that we don’t like something, that is the indicator that there’s pain underneath that that has to be healed. And sorry to say, it can’t be healed by changing someone else. It has to be challenged and healed within. The question I later had to ask myself is why I felt like this person needed to change for me? Who was I trying to impress? What expectation was I trying to live up to? Why was I afraid to take care of myself? Why did I feel like I needed his money instead of getting my own? Why? Why? Why?
These feelings didn’t have anything to do with him. None of them do. Nobody can make me feel anything. They can enhance. I can be happier. I can be more sad. But how I feel belongs to me & when I don’t like something, it’s always my choice to ignore or entertain.
There is no pure love in any scenario between two people where the objective is to change the other person. There is love that can be exchanged. There is honesty that can be exchanged with hopes of growing and bringing out the best in each other. But trying to make someone into something else is the number one sign that we aren’t happy ourselves. Challenge it. Listen to the feeling and discover what’s underneath that.
When someone speaks in a way we don’t like and it burns in our chest. When someone lies to us and it burns in our chest. When someone does anything hurtful and we have a physical reaction, we own those feelings. We can’t blame them. We gotta discover what’s the root of our reaction and heal it. If this person brings nothing but negativity, maybe they aren’t the best fit. But we can’t change them. The same applies to praise and goodness. There’s a rush and a joy from compliments and sweet words. The confidence built from these situations is also risky because that self assurance is something we must have and keep within.
The key to accepting the world for me, was to challenge my perspective. To stop believing my perspective is inferior or superior. To understand someone else feels just as justified in their behavior as I feel in mine. And if it’s worth it to me to keep the relationship, I try to accept their view even if I don’t like it. I won’t always agree. People won’t always agree with me either. But I have peace from knowing its okay either way.
All of our feelings belong to us. Manage them. Challenge them. Change them. Grow from them. But it’s a waste to try and change others to match us. Let others be as you wish to be and accept them fully as you want to be accepted fully. Or ignore them. This is what I have learned. If it’s useful to you, please use it. If not, I’d love to hear how you feel below!
Thank you for reading. Listen to my latest #MondayLoveDrop #iWantU below: