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By Denise M. Michaels
“Well, THAT was obnoxious!” my good friend Karen whispered bitterly. She was reacting to a colleague who she felt should’ve connected with her before an important learning session coming up soon. In fact this colleague left her out of the loop until it was too late.
“What was obnoxious about it?” I asked.
“I could’ve brought a lot of attention and attendees to what she’s doing, but she didn’t let me know until the last minute. I could’ve sent the word out to my email lists a few times. Now, the learning session is only three days away. Plus, I wanted to go and I’ll be out of town,” Karen replied.
“That doesn’t sound like ‘obnoxious’ to me,” I replied calmly. “It sounds like she’s disorganized, didn’t plan well and made a dumb move. Now her event won’t be as successful as it could’ve been.”
Smart, resourceful, well-connected, creative and passionate, Karen is a successful entrepreneur with great ideas and plenty of positive energy. However, when this happened the hurt little girl inside her felt miffed. Like she didn’t get an invitation to the birthday party of the most popular kid in school.
I asked her about it.
At first she defended her choice of words. However, after a few more questions she sheepishly admitted there was a tiny spot inside that felt unwanted, unloved and left out at times. Instead of acknowledging her pain, she projected. In her moment of hurt and anger she called the object of her ire “obnoxious.”
Karen and I are close friends so I’ve come to know about many of the hurts from her past. We’ve reached a level of friendship where I can gently call her on her “stuff” without her glaring at me or getting ticked off. I consider it a badge of honor that we’ve grown to be such great buddies over the years.
We’re both happily married women who’ve been operating successfully in the world of entrepreneurship for years now. However, no matter how mature and “got it all together” we strive to look on the outside, let’s be honest. Most of us walk around through life like big kids on the inside, trying to act like adults on the outside.
We have hurts, fears, triggers and concerns from way back when we were vulnerable children that have never left us. One of Karen’s triggers is feeling left out of things. One of my triggers is feeling I’m not being heard. Maybe that’s part of why I became a writer and speaker. So I wonder:
- What are your hurts, triggers and concerns?
- How do they result in you “acting out” in your day to day life?
- How have they impacted your business or career?
Some people are quick to anger when a pressure point wells up from inside becoming inflamed and enraged. Others do a slow burn, smile and say mean-spirited things to others about the person they feel slighted them. They become gossips. Gossip actually casts more aspersions and negativity on you then the person you’re talking about.
One way to alleviate the emotional sting of our trigger points is to follow the words of Don Miguel Ruiz in his book The Four Agreements published in 1997.
The second agreement from this iconic book says, “Don’t take anything personally.” This agreement is a vital part of my anti-drama lifestyle and way of looking at the world. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve repeated it to myself, to Karen and to others I care about.
She’s often amazed how easily I’m able to let things go. Not just little things like a rude barista, but big things as well. Here’s my secret: in my heart of hearts I truly believe the vast majority of people don’t do things to purposely hurt us. It’s simply a moment where their perception of the world slams up against your perception of the world.
The person who became annoying or demanding never said, “Gee, I wonder how I can get a rise out of him or her today?” Not likely. Instead they were going about their day and the two of you collided like little steel balls in an old-fashioned pinball machine. That’s what people do. How we respond in those moments makes the difference between a good day with positive outcomes or a negative one where you feel like everyone else is the hammer and you’re the nail.
Let it bounce off you and it has little effect one way or the other. Decide it has something to do with you and after awhile it’s easy to feel like you have little bruises all over from being pinged with tiny steel balls.
If you let this stuff effect you in business, after awhile it can wear you down and leave you feeling cranky and irritable. That never goes over well. As a result you start colliding with people like your clients, your boss, your spouse or your kids. They all become like pinballs.
It certainly isn’t the desired outcome but it happens. When it does, somehow as if by fate there are more little steel balls pinging around banging into you and making your day and your life difficult, leaving emotional bruises.
We humans have a way of dreaming up stories based not in reality, but on our perception of reality. There’s no way we can see the world and events except through the lens of our own experiences. The more our perception includes the goofy idea people do or say things purposefully to make our lives difficult, the more every facet of our lives become difficult.
Changing perceptions from your usual kneejerk reaction of, “Why did she do that to me?” to “Gee, I guess she’s having a bad day,” takes time. It didn’t happen instantly for me and probably won’t for you, either.
However, if you practice detaching yourself from other people’s reactions, the more you won’t be subjected to whatever happens in the their life. You and only you get to choose what you want and make every day the best you possibly can.
Denise M. Michaels is a ghostwriter and book coach. She helps entrepreneurs, therapists, CEOs, speakers and aspiring authors become more recognizable, influential and in-demand. Using the leverage a book provides – you can become the go-to expert in your niche. To contact Denise about your book or book idea click here now.