I recently read this quotation by Anne Lamont: “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”
Anne’s quote reminded me of a book my dear mother lent me titled, Pulling Your Own Strings by Wayne W. Dyer (if you get a chance you should read it). Basically, it was about taking charge of your life, and owning the things that happen/ed to you and being strong enough to maintain your individualism.
That book really gave me a boost of self-belief and a new outlook on life. Before then, I was putting off many things I desired to do because I feared the opinions of others, I feared being rejected, I feared success – at times, failure.
One of my issues was the fact that I often wondered if in any way I was responsible for another person’s response or lack thereof. After reading that book I realised that I am only responsible for my behaviour. Being responsible for my behaviour does not give me license to be a donkey and to treat others badly without consequence, but I began to slowly release myself from that bondage. It is liberating, so freeing to let yourself free of the ‘responsibility’ of and for the behaviour of others.
I have been doing some deep soul-searching and facing some demons in my closet. It is not a onetime event, but I have come to the conclusion that for me to find myself, I had to make some personal adjustments. Here are a few things I did:
- I had to face the fact that I am in control of myself-
I am not in control of anybody else. Every day I get the chance to choose how I think, how I respond, what I say and how I feel about people and circumstances around me. Life will throw many things at me, but in the mix are good as well as many unpleasant things. My outlook depends on my choice. The people close to me, and those who do not know me well may choose to ascribe some dubious meaning to my responses. I had to own up to the fact that I cannot control their decisions and perceptions: and it was liberating.
- I had to recognise that I was naïve-
I was and to some degree still am naïve to many things. I tend to be overly trusting and always trying to think the best of people. I would be honest, truthful and trusting only to be betrayed. As we say here in Trinidad and Tobago, “All skin teeth is not a smile”, which means that not everyone that smiles with you is a friend. My solution, I became more protective of my peace of mind, I guarded the space between my ears and my spirit. It was an extremely difficult thing for me to do. One person even mentioned “you real different now”, as I went through the process. I decided that in order for me to stop being taken advantage of, I had to do something for Stephen. I still struggle with being naïve this, but this realisation also caused me to acknowledge that there are some people who are just downright nasty and wicked and they should be avoided at all cost, in order to maintain my peace of mind.
3.I had to realise people seek after their own interest first:
I remember helping others so much that I would even put off important personal things. At a single phone call, I would commit to perform at multiple events on the same day. I would be most present to help others, because my perception was, “that’s what people do”. Then as time went by I recognised that when the tables turned, I was left empty and in need. Those who said they were “down with you”, would walk out on me when most needed. It did not feel good, and it left me devastated and depressed. I realised that I was disposable to them and what I thought was mutual was really one-sided. So, I had to pull back a bit and take the time to reassess my priorities and some relationships. Saying no to requests and seeing about myself, is not selfish, in fact, it is necessary for me to be healthy. So now I have become better at serving others, without destroying myself in the process. I set boundaries as to what I will and will not allow.
I am becoming better at pulling my own strings. It was uncomfortable at first, because there will be some who find you different from before and less easy to manipulate, but it is all for the better. I will end this post with these two quotes: one of my own and another from the book Pulling Your Own Strings.
“The moment you stop allowing someone to emotionally, spiritually, financially and physically manipulate you – that’s the moment they start to verbalise all the things that are wrong about you. Not that those things weren’t there before, it is just that they lost the power to control you.” Stephen John
Everything that exists in the universe does so independently of my opinion (Pulling Your Own Strings, Wayne W. Dyer).