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When it comes to fear, most of us prefer to steer clear of it. Right?
In fact, as a society we’re programmed to avoid or suppress it at any opportunity.
Well that’s simple.
Because it FEELS BAD..
So what happens when someone unwittingly PROJECTS their fears in your direction, turning your feelings of calm into something closer to chaos?
A client (we’ll call her Sally) recently shared an experience she had with her daughter.
Sally lives on the edge of a forest in Oregon. And unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that this was recently one of the areas devastated by wild-fires.
At it’s worst, Sally’s house was under mild threat. Yet, she was vigilantly observing the news and ready to evacuate if necessary. She admitted to me that up to that point, she was fairly relaxed and accepting. What will be will be.
Her fear-o-meter was at a 2.
Until her daughter (who lived in another state) called..
And proceeded to project an avalanche of fear and moderate hysteria onto Sally. HER fears, HER doubts.
Which, resulted in Sally self-evacuating in a state of panic.
Yup, the threat of the fire hadn’t changed at all, yet her fear-o-meter rocketed up to an 8.
Now, we’re not here to judge or debate either party.
In fact, we’ve all played both of those roles at times. Yes, you too..
But it got me pondering:
Why do we so easily give up our state of calm and ease when we pay attention to someone else’s opinions?
And how do we learn to stand firm in our own beliefs IN SPITE of the naysayers out there?
There’s no easy answer here, but from my own experience I’ve learned a few simple things.
Firstly, we’re more likely to take on someone else’s fears/beliefs when that person is someone we admire and respect. Because “they know what they’re talking about” don’t they?
Maybe, but at the end of the day we’re ALL just human beings, breathing the same air, pumping the same blood. No-one is essentially any worthier than anyone else.
Which means that MY opinions and beliefs are just as valid as yours.
And the more we embody that, the easier it is to stand firm in our own position.
Secondly, we’re all on a journey of rediscovering and reconnecting to our sense of worthiness. And as our sense of self-worth increases, so does our ability to hold on to our own opinions and beliefs.
Which means whilst we may be curious about someone else’s opinion,
we don’t necessarily take it on.
We’re more able to stand firm in the face of any potential conflict or unhappiness they may feel at our refusal to agree with them. And as any reforming people-pleaser will know, that’s no easy feat..!
What’s essentially important here, is that we get to recognise when this happens (even if it’s subsequent to the event).
Because when we understand what’s BEHIND our reaction, it’s easier to shift that “default” reaction the next time around.
And that’s how we EXPAND and GROW (which is the whole point really..).
It’s about CONSCIOUSLY choosing a different path (or way of thinking) which, in time, shifts our reality.
One step at a time.