This is the column where, each week, I’ll be answering one website visitor’s question in hopes of supporting all visitors through shared (and likely, relevant) challenges, triumphs, and struggles.
I take everything very personally and make it mean more than it does. Why does one do this and what can I do to finally let the small stuff go and enjoy life? Is it too late to change?
Wiped Out in Wyoming
Dear Wiped Out,
Here’s some good news right off the bat — You’ve already begun to make the change! Yahoo!! By simply acknowledging that this way of operating is no longer serving you and reaching out for support in changing it, you’re well on your way. How cool is that?
Without knowing what types of things you tend to take personally, I’d encourage you to take a look at your own beliefs about yourself. In Sidney Poitier‘s memoir, and I’m paraphrasing, he says that most of his life he dealt with people calling him names, telling him he’s one thing or another. Finally, when he was much older (in his 70s!), he realized that as long as he knows what is true for himself, as long as he knows who he is, what others say or do really doesn’t matter.
These things that you feel you take too personally, is there an element of truth in them for you? Are you putting so much emphasis on what others think because you are seeking acceptance and validation that needs to first come from within? It all starts with being more kind to ourselves and loving ourselves right where we are at. How are you doing with that?
Here’s something to try. When those feelings come up, when you’re feeling “less than” or attacked or hurt, take a moment to quietly remind yourself — that young, vulnerable part of you — that you’re right there for her. I’ll do this by simply closing my eyes and either touching my stomach or putting my hand on my heart. This is my way of quickly connecting with her and letting her know I have her back. By honoring that fear or hurt that is coming up and responding to it, you’re forming a new, loving belief that you are never alone. You are mothering that child in you who needs you.
Be careful not to look to others to provide the kind of comfort, safety, and acceptance that only you can give. And as you continue practicing this, you get the added bonus of connecting with people on a deeper level, and consequently, forming more authentic relationships. By focusing on what’s really important — you loving you — the “small stuff” becomes just that — small.
It all starts with YOU. And if it wasn’t too late for Mr. Poitier, it certainly isn’t too late for you!
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