Do you find it effortless to connect with people and yet struggle to develop deeper friendships? Are you frequently disappointed when people don’t live up to your expectations? It could be something that YOU are not doing!
Some of us find it easy to open up to strangers. Then withdraw crushed when it’s not reciprocated. Others are quick to trust. Then pay the consequences. Realising we should have listened to that nagging voice in the back of our head.
Let’s talk about Brian. Brian recently helped a friend out of a sticky patch. His reward? An unwanted house-guest, who squatted in his lounge only emerging from the sofa bed to refuel. Day on day, Brian’s stress levels rose. Until one day he lost his cool. The result? HE looked like the bad guy!
Our emotions are our inner guidance system
And Brian had overridden his. He had suppressed his doubts about his friend staying. He ignored his flash of irritation at the demands for 24/7 heating. And silenced his growing frustration at spending evenings in the kitchen, whilst his guest lay in bed watching movies in the comfort of the lounge.
You might ask why Brian invited his friend when he wasn’t sure. And why he put up with a situation that was clearly making him unhappy. Why didn’t he simply ask his friend to leave? Or even better, set some house rules. It was his house!
Ignoring our emotions can be dangerous
In fact it was Brian’s low sense of self-worth that kept him prisoner in his kitchen. He put his friends needs above his own. Somewhere in the fray, he felt it was inappropriate for him to ask for what HE wanted. And he lacked the confidence to assert himself.
But his emotions were screaming that something wasn’t right. He was conflicted. He became resentful. He mistrusted his friends’ intentions. Became defensive and lost his cool. And when cornered, an animal attacks!
The reality is Brian can’t be sure his friend intended harm. Why would he? Brian had been there for him. More likely, they are just two very different people.
More importantly Brian had mistrusted HIMSELF! He had not trusted his intuition. And had simply dismissed his feelings.
How different the outcome might have been if Brain had acknowledged his emotions on day one and discussed his concerns.
Learn to trust yourself
To trust others we must first trust ourselves. That means acknowledging, accepting and taking responsibility for our emotions. Before losing our cool!
Listen to yourself
- Pay attention to your emotions. Note what’s going on. What are you feeling? Locate it in your body. What happened to trigger it? What or who are you reminded of? What are you not doing to cause this feeling?
Be willing to let go
- We have all had experiences in childhood that trigger emotional reactions in adult life. Holding on to these stories does not help us to heal. It keeps us frozen in the past. Is your story keeping you stuck?
Take back your power
- We are not responsible for our experiences. We are responsible for our reactions. Blaming others simply gives our power away. It says, “this has happened to me and I can’t do anything about it”. In reality, we are in total control. We are making choices all the time. Where have you felt like a victim? Look at the choices you had. Can you see what your payoffs might have been?
Why not try: For one week, keep a ‘feeling log’. Note down situations that triggered you. What emotions did you feel and how did they show up in your body? What insights did you get?
You might like: Louise Hays classic 'You Can Heal Your Life'