“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
My boyfriend makes me feel unworthy. My mother makes me feel inadequate. My sister makes me inferior. My boss makes me feel incompetent.
Have you said something like this recently? We all do it sometimes–give our power away to other people as if they have complete control over what we feel.
For a long time, I believed it was impossible to change how I responded to certain events. If someone said something hurtful, I had no choice but to feel sad and rejected–and it was all their fault. If someone judged me, the only possible response was to feel self-conscious and angry–and it was all their fault.
I almost felt obligated to feel these things.
I’d sit around stewing in my instinctive emotional response, rehashing the event and feeling bad about it, as if that was my only choice. Soon I realized that most of my life was one giant negative reaction, mixed with righteousness and blame. If I didn’t start to take responsibility for my feelings, that’s all I’d ever know.
It’s a whole lot easier to dwell on what someone else did wrong than it is to let go and create a more positive state of mind. Sometimes I still struggle with this–it’s not an easy to skill to master. But as with everything, it gets easier with practice.
Today if you struggle with uncomfortable feelings and believe someone else is to blame, ask yourself: Would it be worth completely letting go of that story if it allowed you to feel good?
Photo by Orin Zebest