A Lesson in Life

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I’m learning a lot about who I am and who I’m not. I’d love to be that laissez-faire, easy going gal who lets everything just roll right off like a raindrop on your windshield. But I’m not. At least not yet.

So we’re clear, as mindful as I try to be, I do not take criticism well at all. When I am criticized, I take it personally, holding the hurt, anger or insecurity like a toddler hugs her beloved blankie. I am vulnerable to negative feedback. There, I’ve said it. To prove my point, I was insulted by a comment made to me at work. Without knowing my actual background, I was told to let clients who ask that I was a stay at home for 20 years. And although I am a mom, and damn proud of it, it is not my defining asset.

After a mini-bitch sesh with the girls, I contacted my now retired therapist. She, as always, was amazing and insightful. She shared some tips with me, the most critical one being, “It isn’t about you at all, it’s about them. Period.” So obvious and straightforward had I been paying attention.

People project their insecurities or egos onto others for many different reasons. Perhaps they had a stressful day, a disagreement with their significant other, or maybe, they are just egomaniacs. No matter. “It’s all the same,” said, my lovely therapist. “Stop berating yourself and asking what you did to set them off, but instead, reach deep and find compassion. Try and figure out why they felt the need to lash out, say something obviously hurtful (which may not have seemed like anything in their minds) feel out why they need to be that way in that present moment.” She went on to say that putting the burden on their shoulders takes the blame and shame (and the why’s) off of your back. Then, you can breathe deeply, and move on.

I was reminded that I too could be guilty of the same sin. It’s like when your friend is dieting, and you just can’t make them go for that fro-yo or ice cream run after work. Why aren’t you (or I) celebrating their willpower, their desire to better themselves, their disciplined behavior? The answer, my lovely peeps, is that it sheds a bright, shiny light on my own lack of willpower and discipline. It’s MY insecurity. I should be cheering on my friend and celebrating every small victory she makes. So, salad it is.

When I think about the kind of person I want to be, the adjectives that pop into my head are kind, helpful, caring, patient and willing to admit when I am wrong. Also, I want to be that person who stands up for what she believes in, even if it is only coffee, good chocolate and some serious punk and alternative music.

Elayne, my therapist, has taught me over the years (OK, she has to keep repeating it because I am a stubborn ass who needs to defend my place in the universe) that I need to have a conscious level of self-awareness. I need to not only be aware of myself and what is going on in my little bubble but to be open to seeing and sensing what others might be going through at that time. Nobody’s horrible, no-good, very bad day needs to affect or become yours.

So I guess today’s point is that we are all in a learning curve. Be kind, be mindful, and learn from your missteps. Just because you feel insulted, doesn’t mean you have to hold onto the angst. It isn’t about you. Breathe babies, and let’s move on.

Stay motivated and caffeinated.😊☕

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