If you are waiting on someone else to start or stop doing something in order for you to feel better, happy, worthy, more peaceful or loved, you are putting yourself in the role of the victim and giving your power away.
Many of the people I coach, come to me in a state of anxiety or frustration. Usually, someone or some situation is at the root of their discomfort. Or, so it seems. .. Some of the most common laments are: “If she would stop making those comments, I would feel better when I’m around her. Or, “If he would show me more affection, I would feel appreciated and more affectionate toward him.”
In most cases, the person who is complaining is waiting for something outside themselves to change in order to be happy, feel loved or enjoy life. This is a powerless position to take. If you take that approach, someone else has to do something or stop doing something in order for you to feel better.
Even though we know, intellectually, that the only person we truly have the power to change is ourselves, the first approach nearly everyone will try, is to get the other person to change. We see the other person as the source of our discomfort and zero in on what we see as the problem. We expect our partner, co-worker or family member to see things our way, realize they are wrong and change their behavior.
Manipulating the other person into behaving differently, rarely works in our favor. If the only motivation someone has to change a behavior is to please us or stop the pain our manipulations are causing them, it won’t be a lasting change and it won’t come from their heart. Instead, the change will come with the very high price tag of relationship-destroying resentment.
Here’s something to think about… What if whatever is causing you discomfort is not a problem for them? What if they think everything is fine and they like the way things are? What if they are aware of the discomfort they cause you, but they don’t want to change? Where does that leave you?
It leaves you feeling powerless, victimized and frustrated! So what can you do? First of all, stop waiting for other people to take care of you and your feelings. Each of us is responsible for our own feelings and our experience of life. It is possible to feel happy and loved in the worst situations just as it is possible to feel sad and unloved in the best situations. Our experience of life has very little to do with external factors.
If someone were to call you a purple pig, you would probably laugh at them! You wouldn’t take them seriously or let that comment hurt your feelings. By the same token, if someone says you are selfish, old, ugly or mean-spirited, their words can’t hurt you or make you angry unless you believe them on some level or get your sense of self-worth from what other people think of you.
Refuse to allow yourself to be victimized by anyone! Standing up for yourself does not mean that you have to be loud, cruel, manipulative or insensitive. Taking responsibility for your own peace of mind, feelings of worthiness and lovability can take on many different forms. Sometimes it means walking away from people who say or do hurtful things. Sometimes we have to walk away temporarily, sometimes it’s forever.
If you are not getting the affection you want from a significant person, it may be because unconsciously, you do not feel you deserve to be loved. If you don’t feel worthy of receiving love, you may have manifested a relationship with someone who doesn’t know how to demonstrate love. In this circumstance, taking care of yourself may involve learning to appreciate yourself on a deeper level. When we are not receiving enough affection, it can also be a sign that we need to demonstrate a more affectionate and caring attitude toward others. Often in life, we get back what we give.
Relationships are similar to participating in a dance. If one person changes their dance steps, slows down or speeds up, the other people involved will have to change if the dance is to continue. If you need help identifying how to stop being victimized in your particular situation, getting an outside perspective can be very eye-opening and productive.
Remember, we teach people how to treat us not with our words, but by our actions.