We all have feelings that come up and we feel like we can’t control them. I’ve always spoken about allowing them to happen but not letting them control us because when we experience them, we aren’t always aware of what is actually happening. Sometimes it has nothing to do with us. I was at work the other day and preparing some space for our move. I had a question about a personal item that wasn’t anyone of ours and my coworker responded with agitation, stating she needed to get her work done and asking why I was doing this now. My immediate feelings were anger and frustration. I didn’t understand why she was reacting so hostilely. I told her it wasn’t that big of a deal and that it was something I didn’t want to wait until Friday for because it involved someone else and I wanted to give them time to get their stuff. She later apologized for snapping at me and I told her my boss had asked me to do it—and planning moves isn’t something you can do last minute.
Shortly after that, I went to pick up my son and had a conversation with my mom that set me off. For the record, I didn’t react to her in the moment, but as I thought about it, I realized I was sitting with some deeper stuff. She told me that she had spoken with my sister and my sister got some really great news and I felt jealousy about it. And then the conversation turned toward planning our holiday and my mom let me know she asked my sister about preparing something that I hadn’t asked her to do yet. The combination of being questioned about what I was doing at work, my sister succeeding, and then my mother taking a step she didn’t need to made me feel like it was “yet another” circumstance where my judgement was being questioned and how I run things wasn’t good enough. That’s when it clicked: this had nothing to do with what she did, it was how I was feeling about what she said.
I wasn’t angry as I initially thought, I was insecure and I felt unsafe and I was hurt. As a leader and perfectionist, I naturally want to control and I don’t like it when people circumvent me…which, no lie, happens a lot. My demeanor must come across as someone that isn’t doing enough or isn’t competent or isn’t worried enough about things. Or maybe THAT is my fear—that I look like I’m not doing enough. And honestly, I understand where that my disconcert people, but I won’t change it. I refuse to let the fear of others seep into my life. My job is to run the show as smoothly as I can, not to jump at everything that comes my way. It’s my job to determine what the problem is and to address it accordingly. So I don’t like the implication I’m not doing my job when I don’t jump to someone’s demands.
The more I dug into this, I realized that I’m also frustrated with being held to a different standard. I’m highly intuitive and I pick up on what other people feel—I’m an empath so I feel where people are coming from and I understand it…but I don’t often feel that reciprocated. It’s painful to feel misunderstood and to be expected to handle all of my shit alone on top of everyone else’s. I also don’t want to react or behave like other people. I don’t want to behave how they expect me to because I need to live to my expectations. I understand that if we are going for something different/trying something different, people will resist. But that doesn’t give them the right to ignore the humanity inherent in all of us. And they don’t need to live to my expectations either, but there are certain things in healthy relationships that happen and that includes directly addressing each other.
The biggest point is I don’t like feeling dismissed or ignored and this is a huge point of contention for me. Is it ego or is it a “valid” feeling. I’ve tied my worth to being heard and respected and appreciated—that is on me. But I don’t like the feeling of being overlooked and ignored, even after I expressed the need to be heard. I am open enough to allow space for people to express themselves, I want the same for me. So…do I stay in these environments where I am completely overlooked? Or do I check the ego? I’m not using anyone to fill what is missing within me and I wear my heart on my sleeve. I refuse to let myself be used to do that for anyone else.
So, we need to remember that what we are initially feeling may not be what we are really feeling. I’m working on that. Creating space for grace and allowing people to express themselves without internalizing it ourselves is a huge step. When I felt ignored and dismissed by both my mother and coworker, the act didn’t make me angry—it triggered my fear of being isolated and unheard. What reactions do you have that aren’t what they seem? How can you dig deeper and identify what it really is?