My values paradox…

by | 8th September, 2013 | love, self esteem, thoughts on life | 4 comments

A few days ago I posted a message about self esteem on my facebook page. This week I have been mulling over my  values and beliefs about being connected to others in this world. For me, I’ve come to realise that how I think of others has a huge impact on how I think about myself. Perhaps at first this is not always obvious, but ultimately my interactions with others are a barometer about how I regard myself at that very moment. This brings me to the ultimate paradox…

blogroadI believe that all people are on their own journey. I also believe that we’re all doing the best we can possibly to at any given point in time. Even those up to no good are actually making (what they believe to be) the best choices for them in life, even if they regret those choices later on. I also acknowledge that I am the only one responsible for my feelings. Nobody can make me feel sad, happy, scared or joyful. I choose those feelings for myself at any given time. In fact, to state “you made me upset” (for example) is simply giving my power away. Why is it that we are always so quick to blame others for our misery, but take full responsibility for ourselves when we feel happy? Regardless of the situations that confront me on a daily basis, I am always in the driver’s seat of my emotions and feelings (even when I don’t feel like it!). If the only thinking I can control are the thoughts in my own mind,  it makes sense then that this is true for others also. If this wasn’t the case, we’d be seeing a lot more people hypnotised by others, or a complete absence of any arguments that are based on “you misunderstood what I meant” messages because differences in understanding would be impossible.

There are days when I slip into “he/she made me upset” moments. I think of them as my mindlazy days where it is easier to revert back to old ways of thinking rather than remember my understanding that others cannot control my feelings or reactions, nor are they responsible for them. I will fiercely defend this belief because I recognise that it was my old way of thinking (where I expected others to be responsible for my feelings) that almost killed me managing Billie Goat. I did a lot for my staff over the years;  parties, thankyou gifts, staff lunches for example. I did it thinking it would help create a happy and highly productive workplace, and for the best part it did (I did have a fabulous team of people there too!). However, there were times when this was not the case, and during those times I found myself becoming increasingly resentful. Why were people having sickies, making mistakes, late to work or generally unproductive when I had tried so hard to create a great workplace? I took it all so personally. That was my undoing. They weren’t doing anything to deliberately upset me, they were simply being themselves. It was my choice to take it personally! Nowadays I don’t have any feelings of being let down, or resentment. Boy it’s easier to get around without that massive chip on my shoulder too.

That’s great for me personally, but…I don’t live in a bubble, excluded from others. The problem is, there are lots of people around me who don’t have this realisation about themselves. In its purest form, if I am not responsible for the feelings of others, I have carte blanche to truly speak my mind. Have you ever seen The Invention of Lying? This movie highlights my point to the extreme. Yet I know, in some cases truly speaking my mind may not be the kindest or most appropriate action to take at that moment. There are people I encounter in my life who don’t have the same self-value (shall I call this self esteem?) and therefore easily slip into “I feel hurt” mode. I know I am not responsible for their journey, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care for them. I absolutely do. If I carry some responsibility for their current state of mind (and try to avoid them slipping into a “blame” state) then am I actually preventing them from having the same realisation that I have already had? If I don’t shield them, are they ever  likely to come to this realisation too, or remain in state of feeling judged unfairly?  I was raised in a family where it was common practice to put the needs of others before our own.  Hence my paradox…how do I remain true to my own beliefs about self-esteem where no one else is responsible for my feelings, yet still feel a responsiblity to shield others (at times) from this very realisation? I welcome your thoughts and insights on this topic…