I’ve been working hard lately at observing my thoughts and choosing to change the stories that I tell myself about my life and the things that happen to me. It’s making my entire experience of life radically different as I begin to see myself and the world around me with new—and much more positive—eyes.
As I’ve continued to observe my thoughts, however, I’ve begun to notice that I tend to default to asking “Why?” about the things that happen to me in life. I can spend many hours careful analyzing (and over-analyzing) why a situation turns out the way it did, why someone responded to me the way that they did, why I feel the way I do about something, why did what I did or said what I said in some situation. I do this about events, situations, feelings, or responses I don’t like—and about those that I do.
“Stoop and you’ll be stepped on; stand tall and you’ll be shot at.” ~Carlos A. Urbizo
I’ve stooped for as long as I can remember. I raised to think that in order to be a good Christian woman, I needed to excel at being a doormat, and I learned that lesson well. I’m tired of stooping and being stepped on, but it’s all I know.
The few times I have scraped my courage together and stood tall, I got shot at. I really don’t like being shot at. It feels much more threatening and hurtful to me than being stepped on. I realize that’s probably just because I’m not used to it, but being shot at feeling potentially lethal whereas being stepped on is just uncomfortable.
“It is tempting to think that in order to change our experience of our world we need to force others to change. Such thinking is an abdication of our power to change ourselves.” ~Michael Lee (Founder, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy)
I’ve spent so much of life trying to force others to change in order for my experience of my own world to change. I have many years worth of experience to show that this approach does not work. As I have worked on my co-dependency issues, I’ve gradually been letting go of this pattern in the attempt to replace unhelpful and unproductive patterns with new ones that actually work.
Even as I’ve worked on releasing this pattern, though, I’ve never thought of it as an abdication of my power to change myself; I’ve only focused on the fact that it isn’t working for me. But the moment I read this quote, I recognized it as the truth. If I think someone else needs to change in any way in order for my life to change, then I am giving up my power to change myself. I am making the other person more powerful than I am in my own life.
“Giving away our power is something we have been taught since childhood by unaware adults in our lives.” ~DailyOM
The quote above was the headline quote in DailyOM’s recent post entitled Repressing the Inner Voice (well worth reading). This post talks about how we are taught early in life to begin ignoring our inner voice as we are forced to do things like hug and kiss relatives when we don’t want to. This sort of conditioning continues even when we are grown in the many ways we are required to act in order to be socially acceptable.