Each of us has experienced having our feelings hurt, whether it was unintentionally through another’s careless words and actions, or from someone who hurt us on purpose in order to see us suffer.
It’s hard to not take it personally when you feel mistreated and overlooked. It’s not fun to feel left out, ostracized, or insulted, no matter how old you are.
Not only does it hurt, it can cause you to doubt yourself, and to feel insecure about who you are.
If you’ve ever been excluded by your peers, family, schoolmates, workmates, or the society you come from, it can feel very personal. It’s difficult to understand what you did (or didn’t do) that made those around you ostracize you, leave you out, or just plain treat you meanly. Especially when you were a small child, this may have made no sense to you at all.
Other people’s choices are not about you.
It’s difficult to remember that the actions of others are mostly not about you. Even when it feels personal, it’s really not about you at all. It’s about the person choosing to treat you a certain way, whether their choice is a conscious one or not. Mean people who bully others are the weakest people around. They are afraid, and they need to make others afraid of them in order to feel safe.
If you aren’t afraid of them, they tend to leave you alone. Bullies don’t like being challenged. Challenge them anyway.
The actions of other people are all about them.
People tend to line up to a group agreement, whether it’s the family group, or a societal or cultural group. It’s difficult to communicate with a group of people who are in agreement about how things ‘should’ be, unless you agree with them. Group agreements nearly always include rules about appearances, looks, talents, money, position. The group rejects or ignores whatever and whoever doesn’t fit into the group.
Often it’s the fear of the group that makes people choose to go along with the group. People are afraid of the group’s judgments and punishments, so they agree to give up their individual will to the group.
Maybe this particular group has judged you unworthy, or it just needs a scapegoat, and you’re it. Maybe you threaten the group by choosing to be yourself. This is often the reason for your exclusion, you just don’t fit into the group because you’re not matching to it. If the group has a king or queen, you may have to give up your space to that person. If you don’t do so, watch out! The wrath of the group is upon you. And it feels personal, even though it’s not really about you.
It’s about the group agreement.
Except, that it’s also about you. Just not in the way you think it is.
It’s about you because you teach others how to treat you by how you treat yourself. Your self image influences how others can see you. When you choose to love yourself despite what those around you are doing, you are making your life about you. Your life is meant to be about you, and you are here to live it according to how you see fit.
If you have been living by your own rules and choosing to be yourself, you might handle a bit of energy from others who are in judgment of you for doing so. When you courageously choose to be yourself anyway, you change the energy of the group. Your courage will inspire others to take the plunge and start to look for their own answers, rather than depending on getting permission from their group.
It’s hard to step away and become yourself, but when you do, you’ll find those who can actually see you for who you really are, instead of who they’ve decided you should be. The people who can have you being you are the ones you can have the truest relationships with, because you can be your whole complete self. Every person you know is a gift to you. Each one brings something that helps you to become more fully your true self.
No, it’s not about you, and yes, it’s all about you. When you find yourself feeling hurt because of someone else’s words or deeds, look no further than you. That rejection you’re feeling is a signpost pointing straight at you. The best way to heal yourself is to love yourself even more.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou
“Only the weak are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong.” -Leo F. Buscaglia