How To Not Take Things Personally

There’s always a chance it’s going to happen.  Something will fall apart.  A relationship will implode.  Someone you thought you could trust will do something that will leave you reeling with shock and betrayal.

It’s very easy to turn this back on yourself.  To beat yourself up, and ask yourself how you could have not seen it coming.  You’ll compare yourself to others who seem to flow through life effortlessly.  If you’ve been doing lots of work on yourself, you might start asking yourself what it’s all for.  What’s the point in putting so much effort into growth and improving yourself if nothing ever changes?

photo credit: Fabiana Zonca via photopin <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licen

photo credit: Fabiana Zonca via photopin

Something like this happened to me recently.  A difficult, non-romantic relationship which I hoped had been resolved (although I was taking it one day at a time) went off the way it always had done before, in spite of all the promises that everything would change.  I do feel sad and disappointed.  But it’s nothing like the devastation I used to feel every time this happened before.  Because I’ve made my peace with the knowledge that this isn’t about me.  Before, I would have beaten myself up and blamed myself for the situation going the way it did.  I would have been plunged into the old fog where reality was completely turned on it’s head, where up was down, black was white, left was right. I would have felt like all the changes I’d made had come to nothing.

But now I know that’s not the case.  I can’t control how other people respond to me, all I can control is my own response to them.  I can’t stop someone from behaving in a toxic way.  But I can refuse to allow myself to be manipulated, by holding onto my own reality and getting drawn into someone else’s story.

The following steps will help you to not take it personally when a relationship goes wrong, especially when you thought things were improving.

1: Release control.  When you improve yourself, you do it unconditionally.  That means sometimes people around you won’t like it when you interact with them in a new, more empowered way. And that’s ok.  How they choose to respond (choose being the operative word) is completely up to them, and really none of your business. You don’t need their permission to make positive changes to yourself.

2: Realise they’re probably not even responding to you.  People are often stuck in their own scripts and stories.  Lots of times, they’re not even responding to you at all, they’re responding to a story about you that they’ve created in their minds.  They’ve decided you’re ‘this kind of person’, even if it has nothing to do with reality.  As a silly example, I once knew someone who saw me as a Goth. When I asked them why they thought this, they told me it was because I dressed in black all the time. I was standing in front of them, wearing a pink skirt and a white top.  I actually didn’t even own any black clothes, so they had never seen me dressed in black.  But because this person created a story that I was a Goth, the fact that I looked nothing like she described me was completely ignored. Realise that the story they’ve created has nothing to do with you in reality.  It only exists inside their head.

3: Remember that you have everything you need already within you.  If you feel you need to get someone to respond to you in a certain way so you can feel loved, then it’s going to trigger you when you feel them withdraw their love from you.  It will probably trigger beliefs you have that you’ll never be loved.  But when you shift your perspective, and remember that you already have all the love you’ll ever need within you, that you have an unlimited supply of love that you always have access to,  then you won’t buy into any old beliefs when someone behaves in a less than loving way. You are no longer trying to get something from outside of you, that you already have within you.

4: Remember that their behavior might not have anything to do with you.  If they have been acting strangely, it could be for any number of reasons.  For example, if you have been urging a friend to meet up for the past month and they keep putting it off or making excuses then it’s easy to believe they’re avoiding you.  But remember that your friend has a whole life outside of her relationship with you.  Maybe she’s stressed because of work, or maybe she’s having problems in her marriage. How many times in the past have you been worried that someone’s been ‘off’ with you, only to find out that it had nothing to do with you at all?  The solution in a situation like this is to simply ask if everything is ok.  If on the rare chance, the problem is with you, you can then work together to resolve it.  If the problem is something else, then you can offer your friend your support.

When you get to this place of not taking things personally, your relationships will be much smoother.  You’ll feel less guarded, not waiting for the other shoe to drop.  You’ll also feel more comfortable opening up and allowing new relationships into your life, knowing that no matter what happens, you will always be loved and valued, and that you hold the key to that, no-one else.

What Are You Avoiding?

We all play small at times, often without even realizing we’re doing it.  We keep ourselves in our safe little corners and dream that ‘maybe someday’, the life we want will somehow just magically happen for us, without us having to make any big changes, or step out of our comfort zones.

While we don’t always see it in ourselves, we do see it in other people.  Think of the woman you know who has always talked about travelling the world, and yet has never bought a plane ticket.  Think of the woman who dreams of meeting the love of her life and talks proudly about how she refuses to settle, but yet never goes on a date.  Or the woman who dreams of doing meaningful work in the world but is too afraid to put herself out there and own what she does.

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/haoz/1204314670/">HaoJan</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">c

These women are all trying to avoid something.  Whether that’s failure, rejection or something else.  They all want their big dreams, but they want it to happen without them having to take any risks.  They want to call in these exciting changes into their lives, without growing into the women they would need to be, in order to be able to receive them.

The life you have now, came through as a result of the woman you were when you created it.  In order to call in something new and better, you need to release the old you, the woman who allowed her fears to stop her, and who lived her life in a way that allowed her to play safe and avoid pain.  You need to grow yourself into the woman who opens herself up to her dreams, in spite of her fears, who owns her worth and isn’t afraid to be seen.

If you have spent your life as an employee, and you now dream of being a six figure entrepreneur, you need to allow the ’employee’ you to die, and step into being the woman who is a six figure entrepreneur, even before your six figure earnings show up in the real world.  Employees can avoid being visible, and can play small.  Entrepreneurs can’t and won’t.

If you have spent your life either alone, and/or with the wrong men, and you dream of being happily married to the love of your life, then you need to release the old you, who tolerated poor treatment, and settled for crumbs, and instead grow yourself into the woman who is blissfully cherished and adored and is head over heels in love with her amazing husband.

Spend some time this week, thinking of the life you want to live, and notice how often your actions line up with that.  If you say you want one thing, but your actions tell you something different, ask yourself what you’re trying to avoid?  What pain is it you’re trying to get away from?  Are you hoping that the things you want will somehow happen without you having to put yourself out there and take risks to receive them?

If so, promise yourself that from now on, the actions you take will be in alignment with what you really want.  Having to face your fear of opening yourself up to new clients won’t seem so bad when you’re choosing an exotic location to spend your Summer in, money no object.  The idea of having been rejected by one random guy won’t seem so painful when you wake up every morning in the arms of the love of your life.  Any pain is temporary,.  Once it’s over with, it’s in the past forever. And it will be nothing compared to the pain you’ll feel if you look back over your life and know that you wasted your chance to live your dreams, by playing safe and small.

What’s Your Relationship Story?

Have you spent years dreaming of, and trying to find the right man, but it just never seems to happen?  You know you want a loving relationship, possibly marriage and kids.  You long to meet your soul mate.  But year after year, True Love still seems to allude you. What’s going on?

As a conscious woman, you know you create your experiences.  This is good news. It means you can change your experience to the one you want to create. Of course, this also means you are doing something to keep yourself single.

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If you’ve been trying to call in love for years and it hasn’t happened, there is likely a story you’re telling yourself about love..  The story might be running just under the surface.  You probably have never taken it out and really examined it. And yet there’s probably lots of little ways the story pops up, without you recognizing it for what it is.

I’ll give you an example. I always knew I was terrified of marriage. I was the ultimate commitment-phobe.  I truly believed that once you got married, that was it. Your life was over. When a guy talked about the future, or when I received a marriage proposal, I felt a cold, sick feeling of terror in my stomach. It was a strange contrast, because at the same time, I was one of the sappiest people you could ever meet. A story of a man and a woman who had been together 60 years and were still head over heels in love would have me in floods of tears. Remember Heathcliff’s line from Wuthering Heights, ‘I cannot live without my life. I cannot live without my soul’?  For a long time, my friends thought it was hilarious to say that line to me in public, and watch me well up.

So, what was going on?  There were hints.  If a guy I was dating tried to tell me what to do, I’d flair up right away, pointing out the fact that we weren’t married yet.  If a married woman mentioned going on holiday or to a concert with her friends, I got a jolt of surprise that she could do that.

I sat down and really called up the marriage movie I had playing in my head, and this time I watched it and paid attention.  I was shocked at what I saw.  When I imagined being married, I imagined it meant signing away all rights to having an identity of my own.  I saw it as no longer being a real person, but an object who existed to meet my husband’s needs.  I also imagined that I would have no right to feel unhappy about this because by getting married, I was agreeing to accept this as my role in life.

I had no idea that what I was seeing was not a healthy marriage, but an abusive relationship with a narcissistic manchild. I just thought that because the idea of marriage turned me off, I probably just wasn’t the marrying kind.  It was a shock to realize how unhealthy this story was.

No wonder I found it so hard to find the right person.  When I started dating someone new, I was always tense, waiting for the controlling behavior to start. I played safe by dating men who were weaker than me in some way. Ironically, these men were very controlling. Not in a ‘Do what I say!’ kind of way, but in a way that was passive-aggressive, piling guilt and pressure on me to do what they wanted.  By trying to avoid being controlled, I was actually making it happen.  As Carl Jung says, what we resist persists.

Take a look at your own story and discover what you’re telling yourself about the relationship you want.  This story has to be examined and challenged.  None of the dating rules in the world will make the smallest difference if you’re still carrying this around.  If you’re having trouble uncovering your story, you can contact me at borntobeaheroine@gmail.com for a free two hour session, where we’ll identify what your story is.

Next time, we’ll look at how to challenge your story and replace it with a more empowering one, one that will lead you to the love of your life.

Outrageous Requests = Outrageous Results

For the month of October, I have been playing a game set by my mentor, called Outrageous October.  For this month, I am making outrageous requests, far outside my comfort zone.  The purpose of the game is to deliberately fail, and collect as many Nos as I can.  A No is a success.

The whole point of the game is to stretch myself and the others taking part, to help us lose the fear of asking for what we really want, and hearing a No. If we see it as a game, then we don’t take it so seriously.  We don’t create a story about what ‘No’ means about us. We are collecting No’s, so when we get one, we just say ‘Thank you! Win! Next!’

This game is a lot of fun.  Just yesterday, I sent a bold proposal to a certain famous television personality, offering her 3 months of coaching for $25,000.  Then I followed it up with a request to a world famous coach, offering to coach him for 6 months, for $55,000.  The numbers didn’t really matter.  I just chose large numbers that were outside my comfort zone, and put them out there.  I would never have dared do something so bold before.  But because it was a game, it was simply fun!  I love to play, and this was right up my street. I was bubbling over with energy afterwards.  I told one of my coaching clients about it in our session last night and she thought it sounded like so much fun, that she’s begun to play too.

What would you ask for, if you had no fear of the response?  If you knew you wouldn’t create a story about why you didn’t get the answer you were hoping for?  What if the answer you usually fear to receive was the one you were actually trying to get, and getting it was actually a win for you?

Steve Chandler calls it ‘Playing the No Game’.  If I handed you a coin, and told you I’d pay you $100 for each time you flipped it and it came up heads in the next 5 minutes, what would you do?  You’d start flipping pretty quickly.  And what would happen if the coin came up Tails?  Would you stop right away for fear of getting more Tails, and start creating a story about what receiving a Tails meant about you?  Of course not!  You’d keep flipping that coin, as many times as you can.  Because you’d know that the more times the coin comes up Tails, the more it will come up Heads, which is where the wealth is.

No works in the same way.  You can’t get Yeses, without also getting Nos. The more Nos you receive, the more Yeses will also follow.  The key is to keep asking. No just means No.  It doesn’t mean anything about your worth as a human being.  It doesn’t say anything about your value.  It’s just information.

What would you love to ask for, that you’d love to get  a Yes response?  Go out and ask as many people, and deliberately collect as many Nos as you can.  And notice how much easier it is to create what you want, when No no longer holds any power over you.

Be Totally Unrealistic

If there’s one word that holds women back from the life of their dreams, it’s the word ‘realistic’.  I cringe when I hear it because I know the person saying it has almost certainly bought into limitations, without ever really examining if they’re true.  Limitations usually placed on them by other people who also have never really examined if they’re true.

When I work with a client, one of the first things we do is to get all her deepest dreams out on the table.  Her absolute dream life.  Being ‘realistic’ is banned from the session, we want everything out in the open.  Coaching is a place for miracles to occur, not for creating a half-life, inside the boundaries of falsely imposed limitations.

Some things are unrealistic, yes.  However much I want to, I’m never going to meet Henry VIII(my only Bad Boy crush) in this life time. But most of our desires aren’t unrealistic, they’re just unexamined.  For almost everything you want to do, there is someone in the world doing it right now.  Want to find your soul mate at 80 years of age?  There are women older than that falling in love and getting married every day.  Want to have a career where you love what you do, make plenty of money and have lots of free time?  There are people all over the world (and the number is growing) who are doing this as you read. Want to travel the world with your spouse and children, without disrupting your kids education?  There are families everywhere, doing this right at this very moment.

You can worry about being ‘realistic’ later on.  For now, dream bigger than you’ve ever dreamed before.  The moment you catch yourself uttering the ‘R’ word, stop and examine if it’s even true.  A quick Google search will usually throw that notion out the window.

If someone is out in the world, doing something you want, then that means it’s possible for you too.  Yes, your situation might be different to theirs.  You might have obstacles that they don’t have.  But guess what?  They have obstacles too.  Ones that you don’t have.  But the difference is, they still made it work.

photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin <a  One of my 'unrealistic' travel destinations.

photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin

I remember when I first came back from traveling alone (apparently, it’s completely unrealistic for a girl to want to travel alone).  Most of the people who had told me before I left that it was unrealistic for me, now told me how ‘lucky’ I was, and how they wished they could do it too.  When I told them if I could do it, then there was no reason they couldn’t either, they told me all these reasons why it was possible for me to do it, and unrealistic for them.  One co-worker told me that I was a lot braver than she was.  Well that had nothing to do with it.  All the things she feared could happen to her, could have happened to me too.  I was just as fragile and breakable as she was.  I had all the same fears.  There were times on my adventures when I was absolutely, hands-hidden-inside-my-shirt-sleeves-so-no-one-can-see-how-much-they’re-shaking, terrified.  The difference is, I did it anyway.

Being unrealistic is where the magic happens.  Challenge any automatic assumptions you might have about what’s realistic, or why something is possible for other people, but not for you.  When you feel afraid of challenging the assumption, that’s a sign that you’re on the right track.  Challenge it, move past it and you’ll look back and wonder why you ever thought that way.