In recent months I’ve been asked to look at whether the things I adopt for myself are actually mine to deal with. This can be situations, emotions, people...anything. Interesting request, huh? Well, hear me out, because I think there’s some validity to it. An example is if you work in an environment with a team or with a reporting relationship and you have to listen to a superior. Your team may get excited or spun up about something and expect you to do the same because you are part of the group. They are upset so therefore you must be upset and excited. You should care as much as they do and exert the energy because they do. If the boss says something is important, you perceive it as important as well. You feel obligated to internalize the reaction as they’ve done because that’s what you do, right? You are part of the team and that’s what the team does to get the job done. But have you ever stopped to ask if that’s the appropriate reaction for YOU?
This can also be the same if someone tells you their experience with a person and you base your interaction, or lack thereof, based on that person’s perspective. I know I’ve done that. I’ve based my opinion of someone on what another person told me. I didn’t think about all of the factors that may have contributed to that person’s opinion and that I didn’t actually have to take that on as my own perception of that person. How many experiences I could’ve missed out on? What I could’ve learned if I stood on my own and formulated my opinion of a person based on my own experience. This, instead of letting another’s experience dictate who I interact with and how. It makes you think.
Is this emotion mine? Is this something that I’m supposed to deal with or is it someone else’s? Even better, am I processing this situation or emotion for someone else, which is causing me to dedicate my energy to things that don’t actually serve me? Is this a battle I should be fighting or have I convinced myself of the need to fight someone else’s? Is this even mine?!?!?!!?
We take on an identity as a “people pleaser” because we are told that it’s the right thing to do to help someone when they are in need. No matter what. No matter the detriment or impact to ourselves. Is that right or okay? It’s something worth exploring because there could be a laundry list of things we’ve taken on that have nothing to do with us. We could spend years getting upset over something because we’ve adopted that problem as our own and it has absolutely nothing to do with us. Not to say that it’s wrong to help friends and family in need, but to do so with awareness to protect our own space so we aren’t out of whack with our own energy.
It’s about fully taking responsibility for our own stuff so we can deal with it and process it, and letting others do the same for themselves. About holding space for them in their time of need and not taking on the role of processing for them in that act. It gets easy to rely on others so we can point the finger when something goes wrong, but there’s so much power in knowing that you are and have the capacity to take care of your own.
So with that I ask, are you fighting your own battles or letting others decide for you?