I am in a Facebook group of women entrepreneurs who support each other. Sometimes people have amazing advice, and other times it becomes a total bitch-fest.
Not too long ago, one of the members posted to vent about someone who came into her shop, nosed around for quite a while, muttering about the lack of quality, then finally bought something exclaiming, “This better not be on sale next week.”
I stopped looking at the comments once they got over 100.
The majority of the comments were vengeful or hateful in nature. “Put it on sale just to stick it to her.” or “What a bitch.” And, worse.
There I was, not making a sound, shaking my head at their behavior in anonymity.
I soon realized that I was no different, and that ugly comes in many forms.
There is the OUTWARD UGLY (the woman in the shop).
There is the BEHIND THE BACK UGLY (the nasty comments in the FB group)
There is the SILENT UGLY (me--judging them for being so judgy.)
It’s ugly no matter what form it comes in.
For a long time I would never admit that I could be ugly. That I could be a bitch. That I was just as judgmental as the next person.
Now, I am okay with my ugly. I wish it wasn’t there, but I no longer fight against it, or deny that it exists. Instead, I embrace and examine it.
You know why?
Because it’s a signpost. It is telling me something deeply important, and if I don’t embrace it and get curious about it, it will unleash itself and do major damage--potentially irreparable damage.
The lady in the shop unleashed her ugly.
The ladies in the FB group unleashed their ugly as well.
But I doubt if any of them examined their ugly to see what it meant about THEM.
I kept my ugly hidden, and once examined, I was able to see how my EGO loves to tell other people how to be better people. It allows me to feel worthy. It allows me to fulfill my need to be important and significant.
You know what else it does? It disconnects me.
Your silent, or behind the back, or outer ugly can also lead to disconnection if left unexamined.
What do you think you would discover if you embraced and examined your inner ugly? What universal need is your inner ugly trying to fulfill?
In All My Ugliness,
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Courage. Compassion. Connection.
For the most part, we all love our grandmas.
Even when our grandmothers say the “wrong” thing, criticize us unknowingly, and don’t seem to “get it,” we take a deep breath, and then we muster up the patience and understanding to help them understand. We don’t let our anger or frustration take over.
What if we did the same thing with the assholes in our lives?
I know that you are probably cringing right now, but I please hear me out.
Why do our grandmother’s act the way they do?
They don’t always realize what they are doing, and even if they did, they wouldn’t care because they are grandmas. It’s the exact same thing with the jerks in your life.
All of the challenging people in our lives are acting the way that they are for two main reasons.
Reason #1: They have been conditioned to do so. They are acting within their values, and it just happens that what they value and what we value don’t align.
Reason #2: They aren’t acting within their value system because they are acting from their subconscious defense mechanisms, which kick in in times of stress, insecurity, despair, hurt, etc.,. When our defense mechanisms takes over, it’s like some other person (a child perhaps?) temporarily takes over, and we lose sight of what really matters. Only the most mindful and self-aware of us even notice.
If reason #1 and #2 don’t fit, is it possible they could be an ass, plain and simple. They know what they are doing, why they are doing it, and they don’t give a shit who gets hurt in the process. (We love to believe that this is behind all of the difficult people in our lives, but it isn’t--it’s usually the first two.)
If you really want to turn things around with a challenging person in your life, I encourage you to start treating them like you would your grandma. We cannot influence people to change if we do not value them as a human being.
Here are a few ideas...
If you start to value others, like you value your grandma, I promise that your inner and outer environment will become a lot more peaceful.
P.S. If you enjoyed this post, consider giving it a thumbs up, sharing it with others, and/or leaving a comment below. I would love to hear from you.
Courage. Compassion. Connection.
The other day I was eating lunch and my phone rang. When I saw who was calling I said to myself, “F**k. Not again,” as a pushed the decline button. I didn’t want to talk to her because it was lunchtime, AND I didn’t want to talk to her because I consider her to be a complete pain in the ass.
Do you have these kind of people in your life?
Those people who you avoid like the plague because you don’t want to deal with whatever comes your way--the criticism, the negativity, the complaints, the anger, the whatever.
And when you finally do interact with them, it’s like the perfect storm. Their negativity combined with your reluctance and judgments, leading to even more misunderstanding and frustration.
So what do you do? What do I do?
I chose to feel like it. I chose to reframe how I think of them.
I am never going to FEEL like interacting with a difficult person.
I am never going to WANT to interact with a difficult person.
I am never going to ENJOY interacting with a difficult person.
I am never going to CONNECT with a difficult person.
Instead I chose NOT to think of them as difficult.
I chose NOT to think of them as a pain in the ass.
I chose NOT to think of them as the enemy.
Instead, I chose to think of them as a HUMAN BEING who has some hidden shit going on that is causing them to act the way they do.
And when the reframe doesn’t stick (which is often the case), I do something that makes me FEEL LIKE IT, right before interacting with them. In the case of this pain-in-the-ass-woman, I danced around my office for a bit, smiled really BIG, set an INTENTION TO CONNECT, and picked up the phone.
I didn’t wait to feel like--I called her.
I didn’t sit around and ponder what she was going to say and how I would respond--I called her.
I didn’t analyze all of our past interactions--I called her.
I didn’t practice my French--I called her.
THE RESULT: I still got off the phone thinking she was a pain-in-the-ass, but we had a successful conversation where we connected, understood one another, and can move forward.
Not every interaction is going to be EASY, but there are ways to make it EASIER.
P.S. Even the word “dealing” and "difficult" have a negative connotations, don’t you think?
Courage. Compassion. Connection.
The other day I was speaking with a woman that I know and she mentioned that she was struggling with how to deal with a fellow tenant in her building, who also happens to be the president of the homeowners association.
She described him as an asshole and a bully, and that everyone in the building was afraid of him, including her, but that she was determined to work things through.
When I asked more questions in order to help support her, I found out what it was like for her to have a conversation with him.
She described him as being both aggressive and intimidating and that when engaged in a conversation he gets really close and continually pokes his finger at her shoulder as he is making a point. (She demonstrated on me, and I was also uncomfortable.)
“I tell him 5 or 6 times to stop, but he keeps doing it. I back up to have more space and he just moves forward again.”
That is when the light bulb went off in me!
This dear woman had set a boundary for him, and let him know that his behavior was not acceptable with her, and then she continued to TELL him, but she didn’t SHOW him.
There is a difference between SETTING BOUNDARIES and UPHOLDING BOUNDARIES, and when we have people in our lives who are not treating us the way we want to be treated, it is because we have unintentionally taught them it was okay.
We can set boundaries with people all day long, but if we never follow through with them, we are in essence saying, “It’s okay, I know I said I didn’t like that, but you can keep doing it.”
When we don’t follow through with our boundaries, they aren’t boundaries at all.
The advice that I gave my friend is the same advice I would give you.
Here are the steps I invited her to take:
Are there any people in your life who are not treating you the way you want to be treated? How can you use these steps with them?
Courage. Compassion. Connection.
SOMEONE ELSE’S REACTION DOESN’T EQUAL YOUR FAILURE
The other day, I shared a video about fear and most of the commenters noted that their major fear was around failure, or embarrassment, or negative feedback, etc,.
All of which got me thinking…
When I think of my past “failures”, there is always someone else involved in the equation, and I deem myself a “failure” based on someone else’s unfavorable response to something I did or didn’t do.
And this has been going on my whole life...
>>I failed a test because my teacher decided I wasn’t up to his/her standard.
>>I failed to get into a specific university because the admissions office decided I wasn’t a fit.
>> I failed at an interview because someone didn’t offer me the job.
>> I failed to persuade my husband that we really need a second car.
>> I failed to sell out my e-course because not enough people signed up.
In each and every case, my “failure” is dependent on someone else’s action.
What if we take the other person out of the failure equation?
>> What if instead of failing a test because I didn’t meet a specific standard, I actually succeeded at the test because I studied hard, I did better than the previous test, I answered more questions, etc?
>> What if instead of failing to get into a university, I simply wasn’t the right fit?
>> What if I instead of failing at an interview, I succeeded in maintaining my confidence and cool under pressure, I prepared for the interview by doing some mock interviews, I answered all the questions succinctly, and I was authentic?
>> What if instead of failing to persuade my husband, I instead planted a seed that if watered regularly, might bloom some day?
>> What if instead of failing to sell out my e-course, I relish the fact that I created a new e-course from scratch, with hours of fabulous content, and used multiple new marketing channels to get visible?
So, what if instead of having an equation like this?
OUR GENUINE EFFORTS + SOMEONE ELSE’S REACTION = FAILURE
It were to be this?
OUR GENUINE EFFORTS = SUCCESS
Looking back, I know that there are still plenty of examples where I still “failed” even if you take the other person out of the equation because I know that I wasn’t BEING or DOING my best. I wasn’t living with integrity. I wasn’t practicing my values. Those I can own.
For the rest, though, I know that there is room for celebrating my successes, even if someone else would have seen it is as “failure.”
This is definitely a work in progress for me, what about you?
What if you took out the other person from the equation? What successes can you celebrate?
WHO HELPS HOLD YOU ACCOUNTABLE?
I am part of a French book club. We meet every month for 2 hours to talk about a book that we have been “assigned” for the month. It’s a way to practice not only our French reading skills, but also our French conversations skills.
I am not quite through this month’s book, and realized that I will be unable to attend our next meeting due to conflicts.
And you know what happened?
My motivation to continue with the book did a NOSEDIVE. A serious one.
Prior to knowing that I wouldn’t attend, I was dutifully reading every day, and now, I haven’t read for days.
Has something similar happened to you?
You are super motivated to start something or re-start something, and then poof, your motivation plummets?
My problem is lack of external accountability.
Yes, I could be accountable to myself, but it seems that other people do such a better job of it.
Do you know why? Because I am driven to connect and I am also driven to look good in other people’s eyes. It’s a combination of my need for connection and my need to be and feel valued.
That is why I set myself up to succeed as much as possible.
That is why I am part of a French book club.
That is why I have a running partner.
That is why I have a business coach.
That is why I am part of a mastermind.
I know that they will hold me to my commitments and integrity, even when I don’t hold myself to them. And what’s more, there is no differential in power between us, like with a boss-employee, or teacher-student, or parent-child relationship. I am not worried about being admonished for not stepping up. They are in my corner with compassion and inspiration (sometimes without even knowing it.)
Who is helping hold you accountable? Not just to your goals, but to who you are committed to BEING, not matter what happens.
Courage. Compassion. Connection.
P.S. If you are looking for a new source accountability and inspiration, come join my new FB group--She Thrives, We Thrive. It's all about courage, compassion, and communication. See you there!