this update is the first of the series ‘small but significant changes’
i have lost, wasted so much of my life’s energy to worrying about how others might receive me.
but thankfully this year, during a counselling session, something clicked. and – no exaggeration! – the result has transformed the way i live my life.
until that therapy session, i was very much under the influence of what i could describe as a mammoth, vampiric parasite that was sucking away my energy – energy that all along i could have been using to do other more exciting things.
here’s just some examples (some of many!) of ‘worrying about receiving’ that have drained, zapped hours of my energy away:
- was i too loud just then? everyone seemed quite peaceful before i turned up… have i spoiled their moment? have i annoyed them?
- i called a new female friend at 11pm on a thursday night hoping to chat but they didn’t answer – will they think i drunk called them?
- thinking about it, i sounded quite assertive then, didn’t i? i wonder if they thought i was being rude – i really didn’t mean to sound rude!
- agh, why did i look at my phone just then?! i did it without thinking! he’s totally going to think i’m not interested in his business idea!
- should i have said that bit about how fairy liquid and non-organic cows’ milk are poisoning his child? that probably didn’t come out in the best way, thinking about it.
i don’t think these kinds of worried thoughts are at all unique to me however i do think they reflect my own neuroses, areas of confidence (or lack thereof) and aspects of my personality i’m not completely comfortable with. yours might be completely different! what do you worry about most in terms of how other people might receive you?
so, what do i try to do differently now?
what i’m now practising* is letting go of the responsibility of how people receive me.
(*practice is so important when it comes to making life changes – don’t overlook it – it takes work and you won’t get it right straight away!)
i can usually achieve this by checking in with myself, by asking myself a few questions around what i have just said or done:
- was i intending to be kind?
- was it coming from the right place?
- did i consider their feelings & what i know they’re going through right now?
if i feel good about my answers to the above, i can be confident that i’ve done my part and that i don’t need to worry about maybe having caused upset. the rest is up to them.
it really isn’t up to you to worry about how people receive you – it’s their responsibility to receive you in a healthy way. for me, relinquishing this responsibility to others has been such a game changer! i think this is one of the most liberating parts of the process.
each and every one of us live in this world complete with our own filters, personal emotional triggers and are at times prone to very irrational emotional reasoning! unless the person is your nearest and dearest (and unfortunately that might not even make a difference!) it is highly unlikely that you will be able to guarantee somebody will receive what you say or do in the exact way you want them to receive it.
whilst we can’t control others, we can control ourselves to make this small but significant change.
and as i mentioned already – this change of approach really has transformed my life. i honestly feel like i have been gifted this additional ~25% energy from nowhere!
i feel like i have so much more energy and headspace to do things i actually want to spend time doing! like: this project, being more organised for my day job, reading more again before bed & just being a (little) bit more chilled out!
i think the change has also helped me be more comfortable being me and given me more trust in my relationships with others – quite incredible side effects from such a small change.
i know i won’t always get it right but with the motivation of having more energy, for me, there really is no going back. i want to continue practising putting the focus on the ‘sending not receiving’ from this moment on.
i’d be interested to know your thoughts – do you worry about how others receive you? do you have any good strategies for how you deal with this? post your reply to facebook, instagram or down below. thanks!