So, remember my last post talking about not taking things personally because other people have their own stuff they carry around? In this post I want to focus on the flip side of the coin: when you want other people to behave in a certain way…
Brooke Castillo over at The Life Coach School calls it The Manual. The Manual is a set of rules you write for another person to follow…in your head! Usually the other person does not have a clue about these rules you have created for them. You decide how they must act and behave and then you get upset when they don’t. Does this sound familiar? We have this idea in our head that if they behave the way we want then it will make us happy. Is this realistic?
We often create this manual subconsciously and then we don’t understand what upsets us so when that person reacts differently. Don’t you think this is a setup for a disaster? I agree.
The thing is, you cannot control other people. And another thing, other people are not responsible for your happiness. You have to start taking responsibility for yourself. I have a friend who always says: “The only adult I’m responsible for, is myself!” You cannot take responsibility for other people’s thoughts and actions. And the quicker you realise this, the better.
Brooke says, “The reason why you ever want someone else to change the way that they’re behaving is because of how you think you will feel because of their changed behavior.” The operative word here is “think”. You need to learn to control your own thoughts. Become aware of them. Become aware of how you react to your thoughts.
Your emotions is a direct outflow of your thoughts. An emotion cannot materialise without a thought happening in your brain. This is a physiological fact! Your brain needs to spark a thought before the hormone for the emotion can be excreted. so, control your own thoughts. Become aware of them. This will help you become aware of the manuals you are writing for others in your head as well. Just be aware.
The fear of rejection is one of man’s greatest fears. It stands alongside other big fears like the fear of embarrassment or the fear of failure. Some people even have a fear of achievement! But rejection, that one is way up at the top of the list.
Rejection is such a big thing because people have the need to belong somewhere, we like to be associated with a specific group of people. It forms part of our identity to belong. We want to be loved and liked by the people we meet.
But the matter of the fact is we cannot be liked and loved by everyone we meet. We can also not please everybody. It will become very tiring trying to be everything to everybody.
If one of your ideas are rejected, try to reframe it in a positive way. See it as an opportunity to improve on your idea. Do not take it personally. (Do you remember me talking about The Four Agreements a few posts ago? This is one of the four agreements: Do not take it personally!)
Nothing people do to you is personal. They might think you are the problem, and you might take it personally, but the bigger issue lies with the other person since he or she brought up the issue. The other person has his or her own issues and anxieties on which he or she reacts. You merely triggered the thought in their brain. It is the thought that makes them behave badly toward you. The action is all theirs. You cannot take it personally. It is not your stuff. Don Miguel Ruiz , the writer of The Four Agreements, writes: “Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally… Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.”
You can also not assume what is going on in the other person’s head. This is another of the four agreements: Do not make assumptions!
Does this make rejection any less painful? No, but maybe a bit more bearable. If you keep telling yourself these things, you might handle rejection a bit better in future.
So if someone rejects you on grounds of your sexuality or religion or whatever, just remember that it is their issue. You are not the problem. Try to be empathetic and see where they are coming from. This might help you accept the situation and move on. The world needs more compassion anyway. Do not take it personally.
If you have any questions or want to discuss this post with me, please leave a comment or contact me directly.
Where does our beliefs come from? I’d say mostly our parents. They instil certain beliefs in us as we grow up and we tend to stick to those beliefs for the most of our lives.
Until we become teenagers.
As you might have experienced it yourself, this is the time we start to question everything, especially our parents. We start to question the beliefs they instilled on us. This is usually also the time we start to realise that we are different from other individuals. We start exploring our own identity. We also start to explore our own sexuality. I think it is easier for heterosexual people as they just keep carrying on in the way they were brought up to behave. For homosexual people this is the time they, or shall I say we, start to realise that we are different. We like the same sex more than the opposite sex. We realise that we get turned on by the same sex – god forbid! And then the inner struggle begins… I am not sure about girls, but most boys question their own sexuality more or less around the age of 14 to 15. They then decide or realise whether they are gay or straight.
Our beliefs are such a big part of us that we rarely question them. We rarely objectively look at our beliefs. Unless we are forced to when we realise we might be gay. We have to start to question those beliefs in order to successfully accept ourselves as gay. We have to challenge the norms of society. We have to realise that we have to almost perpendicularly go in against the norms of society.
It is said that gays are more evolved souls, since we have to go through so much shit to get to self acceptance and that there is immense personal growth involved. We do way more soul searching and introspection than the ordinary person on the street.
Think about these questions:
- What do I believe about myself?
- What do I believe I am capable of in my life?
- What do I believe about other people’s relationships with me?
Let’s take it a step further:
- What do I believe about heterosexuality?
- What do I believe about homosexuality?
- What do I believe about myself as a homosexual?
- Which heterosexual beliefs are still of use to me as a homosexual?
- Which heterosexual beliefs did I have to leave behind when I realised I was homosexual?
Did these questions challenge your beliefs about yourself? I truly hope so. Your beliefs can be limiting or empowering. I believe to challenge yourself from time to time is a good thing. Louise Erdrich said: “Things which do not grow and change are dead things.” Please do not stagnate. Keep on challenging yourself. Keep growing!
If you have any questions on this post, please leave a comment, or contact me directly.
In my previous post I referred to an email I received from a friend. I spoke to him and he consented to me publishing his whole email here:
You asked me what I would like to see on a blog like yours. Here is my answer:
In my personal journey I’ve had many challenges. I’ve never spoken out about them and these secrets have been changing me and every choice that I’ve ever taken. I’ve never had the courage to speak my truth and set myself free, I’ve been held hostage within myself for many many years. Even after I came out as a gay man. I feel that, if I had more guidance to what the consequences are of keeping secrets that cut so deep, I would have been able to be true to myself a long time ago. I’ve developed issues of grandeur.
Even though I am happily married to a guy and we are building our life together, I’ve lost big parts of myself along the way. I’ve recently spoken out at a forum and by speaking my truth I came to realise how much damage I’ve done to myself being silent.
I’ve been lost most of my life because I could never relate to other guys. I always saw myself as less of a man because of my sexuality. I’ve put a limitation on myself by allowing myself to draw comparisons to every guy I’ve ever met, thinking that in some way they were all superior to me just because they have heterosexual sex. I realise that this is all bullshit and that any straight guy would enjoy relations with the same sex just as much as I realize that I could enjoy relations with a woman. But it is the limitations of humanity that categorised us all. Indicating that you must belong to either group and choice should be limited. I truly feel that if we could all cut the bullshit and be true to ourselves we would realize that bisexuality is the only orientation there is.
Sex in general is just an act of passion and an exchange of love and feelings. The person’s sexual organs have nothing to do with the deed as it is only a method of expression. There should be no reason for anybody to ‘come out’ as they never actually made a choice to go in? They were categorized by humanity and humanity’s sick idea of what is right and wrong. Then they made the rule fit every human out there, never mind personal circumstance or choice, so we are forced to ‘come out’ or state that we are gay when it really doesn’t matter.
I am working toward accepting myself as I am and getting rid of the label that’s been bearing down on me so heavily. When I meet you I don’t need to know if you are gay. So many of us have this very well rehearsed line, “Hi, I’m John and I’m gay”. How about society taking me seriously as a being and giving me the fair chance of happiness and let me introduce myself instead of my sexuality. The world we live in is a very superficial world. My sexuality and how I choose to express that love to the people I love is no one’s business. On a BLOG for fellow beings being scrutinized and dissected under society’s great microscope, I would like to say… please find yourself, not your sexuality. Your sexuality is only a small part of what makes up the bigger person. What you do in the bedroom does not define who you are! Please do not let what you prefer rule your life and blind side you because you’ve heard one too many bad jokes. Who you are is more important than who you choose to shag.
Be true to yourself in everything you do and be normal. You are normal! There is not a thing wrong with you and you are not doing anything wrong! You have been created the same as all people around you and you have the same urges as every single guy or girl out there, it is just that if you feel like you don’t fit in, it is because you are comparing yourself to a single opinion of a superficial idea of what normal means.
You are valuable in this world and you have value to add to someone else’s world. You have purpose, and a place in this world that belongs to you. By being true to yourself and not letting a word rule your existence, you take back the power of your purpose and journey on this earth.
I wish I could remove the hurt and anguish I know so many people experience, but I myself, 32 years old, only just found a glimmer of light and I want to tell you that I could have found this light much sooner if I was only honest with myself and had the courage to be myself and not my sexuality. I’ve been ‘out’ for 13 years, but I’ve only just became the man I was suppose to be before I allowed society to label me, box me and ship me off! You are powerful, you are special. Choose yourself and acknowledge your sexuality, but don’t dwell on why you feel different! You are not different in terms of sexuality, you just are!
Wow! Powerful stuff!
I would love to hear your comments on my friend’s email.