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September 16, 2019
Word of the Week: Growth
When I sense that something is off between me and another person, my first thought is I’ve done something “wrong.” I assume that whatever weirdness I feel is a reflection of our relationship and it makes me squirm with discomfort. Since I feel emotions so strongly, it’s hard for me to detach from the situation and not take things personally.
Instead, my instinct is to jump into the fire and try to make things better. This usually doesn’t help and, quite frankly, is a reaction to my own anxiety rather than an attempt to build intimacy. Here’s the thing. Everyone is triggered by different things. Some people have done enough inner work to be able to recognize when they’ve been triggered but many have not. Even the most “evolved” individuals have shadows or unhealed parts of themselves that can get activated.
As much as you try to say or do the “right” thing, you may very well be the person who triggers someone else’s shadow. If that’s the case, they may criticize you, belittle you, judge you, talk behind your back, make fun of you, or distance themselves from you in an unconscious attempt to make their pain go away. While it can feel super personal, you have to remember that you didn’t do anything “wrong.” You just found yourself smack dab in the middle of someone else’s growth.
People-pleasing is an impossible task because you will never be able to predict who is going to be triggered by what. From my experience, it is exhausting to try to protect yourself from the inevitable discomfort of someone getting triggered. It’s just what happens sometimes, no matter how hard you try to be the person you think the other person wants you to be.
While difficult to accept sometimes, I’m learning that people come in and out of our lives to teach us lessons. Some lessons are about lighter topics like friendship, love, and joy. Other lessons are on the heavier side like jealousy, grief, and betrayal. The important thing to realize is it’s not up to you to decide what those lessons will be. It’s all laid out in the cosmos.
We are all in different phases of growth. Sometimes people will grow with you. Other times people will grow apart from you. Relationships are full of ebbs and flows so just because things don’t feel aligned today doesn’t mean they won’t feel aligned someday in the future. Unfortunately, the same can be said for the reverse.
All you can do is show up, do your own inner work, and practice a sh*t ton of self-love when you find yourself in the dark, murky, and turbulent waters of growth.
Ask Yourself: How do you tend to deal with discomfort in a relationship? Do you jump to the conclusion that you did something “wrong” or are you able to accept that someone’s reaction is a reflection of their own growth?
Weekly Mantra: I am only responsible for my own emotions.