This post, although I've had plenty of time to think about it, is not entirely well thought out, and you may have to excuse me.
This post is part of Julie's Hump Day Hmm. She posted the topic early last week, but I had no chance to post on it, and Mr. Linky didn't arrive at her blog until yesterday, so I'm going to post on this anyway. I think it's a great topic, but my post has several facets to the same thinking that changed my mind, my ways, and in some ways, my life.
One thing that changed my thinking was that I'm in charge of my own feelings. Other people cannot and do not have the power to MAKE me mad. They can heckle me all they want, but they can only make me mad if I choose to get mad. They are not in charge of my feelings. I had a tough time in school, and the boys really worked to make me unhappy. About my junior year of high school, I came to the realization that what they think really doesn't matter. It doesn't. They are working to bring me anger, but that's not up to them. Whether or not I get angry really is up to me. Miguel Ruiz's book called The Four Agreements really helped me see this idea. He calls it "Don't Take Anything Personally." What they think and do really is up to them. How I feel about it is what I'm in charge of. Abuse does hurt, but I can't be hurt unless I'm willing to be hurt. That part really is up to me.
Along with that goes the idea of honesty. How often would people's feelings get hurt if we honestly expected people to be honest with us. When we ask our husbands, "Does this dress make me look fat?" if we expected them to answer honestly, would we get our feelings hurt if we knew they were just really being honest, and they didn't want us to walk around looking fat to other people? No. We wouldn't.
This honesty idea does not mean tactless, but it does mean honest. I really need to work to be honest with people. Most of the time, it also means that I need to speak up if something around me is not right. If someone else is getting teased or belittled, it IS my job to say something about it. If those people get their feelings hurt by me saying something truly honest with no intent to hurt someone, that really is up to them.
These realizations have changed my life. The only person for whom I am truly responsible is myself. However, I am responsible for myself. No one else is responsible for me, and that changes how I act and feel every day. If someone says something hurtful, I have to remember that the words are coming from them, it's not really my fault. I need to take responsibility for any wrong action I have enacted, but their feelings are their own. Rob really is in charge of his own feelings. When he or I interact now, I remember that he's in charge of what he eats and how he feels about himself. Whether or not I work say nice things to him and help him is my responsibility, but whether or not he listens to me is his. Now, I really work not to get angry with him.
I don't know if any of these thoughts made sense to anyone else, but these were thoughts that really did change my whole way of thinking and looking at life. My self-esteem really does come from inside. If I base it on anyone else, it's false. I need to base my self-esteem on what truly helps me be happy and I get to choose even that.