When someone has an issue, there can sometimes be this expectation that we must fix their feelings about it, even when it becomes apparent that we’re not at fault or we’re not the person that they need to address the situation with. On this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, I use a recent experience of this to highlight the importance of being self-aware and drawing our line when we need to. Turns out, we are not duty-bound to hold ourselves hostage to any conversation. Yes, even with family.
Some nuggets from the episode:
I explain how one hour into shopping, I paused and acknowledged that I was angry and indignant. As soon as I became mindfully aware of my feelings, they subsided. Without that awareness, I might have dealt with the situation altogether differently. The anger would have expressed itself through passive aggression.
- Sometimes we have to ask ourselves “What has gone on in the past that might prompt me to respond in the way that I am in this moment?”
- We don’t have to pretend that, for example, that isn’t someone who’s The Favourite. No, we don’t have to take up residence in this recognition and persecute ourselves about it, but we cultivate a sense of humour about what might be the absurdity of the situation when we recognise, for instance, that a sibling is The Golden Child, The Prodigal Son/Daughter etc.
- With misunderstandings, sometimes the things that people say to and about you raise alarm bells. You become aware of their distrust, their insecurities. Maybe some issues that they’ve hoarded. You realise that perhaps you’re not quite as cool as you thought you both were.
- It’s not your job to be the listener, the fixer, the perfect one, the peacekeeper, the scapegoat, the black sheep.
“Just because you’re someone’s daughter/son, it doesn’t mean that your job is to let them have a tirade at you. It doesn’t mean they can unleash on you. It doesn’t mean that you’re supposed to solve all their problems. There are other ways for you to be [their daughter/son].”
- Consider the things that you believe are in your job description. It’s my job to do this in my family. It’s my job to do this as a person. Those things are not your job. These are things that over time, you’ve told yourself they’re what you need to be and do in order to feel worthy and needed. Anything that’s causing you to disrespect who you are as a person, to invalidate your needs, expectations, desires, feelings and opinions, that’s not cool. And it’s not your job.
- Sometimes people want to be angry. Sometimes we don’t want to move on from stuff.
- People don’t feel about things based on how things are. People feel about things based on what they believe including what they want to believe. When we start to observe people’s idiosyncrasies for what they are, we start to feel “uncrazy”.
- “I’m sorry to hear that you’re going through that. I really hope you get it sorted out soon” and similar, detach us from the advisory role that they might expect but that isn’t necessarily our place (or desire) to fulfil.
- Questions like “What do you want me to do?” and “What do I want them to do?” bring clarity to these situations. These pave the way to a clearer ask, recognising what you need to do for you, or recognising that you have unrealistic expectations. It’s also very possible they/you have it already.
- Each time we become more aware of who we are and we become more aware of what we’re carrying around with us in terms of emotional baggage, we have an opportunity to heal, grow and learn. By responding even a little differently to how we have in the past, we evolve.
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