Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
I woke up this morning thinking about a well-meaning comment I had made to a friend. What was meant with love and encouragement, may have very likely come off as pompous, lacking in understanding, and coming from a far different place in my heart than intended! It’s easy for that to happen in today’s world of e-communication. When speaking directly to someone, the tone of voice, inflection, and facial expressions silently speak volumes and give added meaning and context to the spoken word. These nuances are often lost in the world of text messaging. I wrestled with it for a while, wondering should I say more to clarify, or just let it go? Then I ran across Ralph’s quote above. My answer was clear.
Ditch The Need To Explain
It’s funny how our minds reframe things in a more palatable fashion. We have a way of making it about the discomfort of another, rather than recognizing it as our own. Though it’s true, I was greatly concerned I had triggered some emotional uneasiness in my friend, I was also finding myself in a place of defensiveness. The need to explain, to make sure another understands exactly where we’re coming from, is a defense mechanism I’m dismantling more each day. That’s not about their discomfort, it’s about mine. Rumination is the first key we’re existing in this over-protective, demoralizing state. The incessant need to replay situations over and over again is a highly destructive process that robs us of self worth and confidence. It also places a great deal of time and emphasis on behavior that decimates our frequency and contributes to our own negative thought re-patterning! These are shackles I choose to be free from, so I’m once again cutting the chains.
Taking Responsibility For The Emotions Of Others
The more of my own internal work I do, the more I realize I am fully responsible for everything I say and I’m charged to do so in a loving, truthful manner. Those are the pieces I need to carefully craft, being sensitive to the receiver. However, as an empath and one who is overly-sensitive to the emotions of others, it’s easy to continually rehash situations and question if things were understood as intended. That begins the all too precarious dance of taking responsibility for the emotions of others, something I am no longer interested in entertaining and a highly unhealthy practice.
Discomfort Is A Necessary Part Of Our Growth
We are not responsible for how another chooses to interpret incoming information, which is filtered through their lens of experience, emotions, and applied accordingly. It’s not my place to police the world and make sure everyone’s feelings are intact. It’s simply my role to do my very best to deliver each message in the most compassionate way I know how. As a healer, that’s a hard line to take, as easing the pain of others is my passion. Yet, I’m becoming highly aware that often these interchanges are necessary parts of our growth, and stand as a mirror to highlight sensitive areas that have yet to be healed. If every bit of discomfort in our lives was smoothed over by another, we would never be challenged to grow and expand. By taking on the roll of easing the often necessary discomfort of others, in some sense, we can become enablers. It’s a fine line and I choose to walk it very consciously and with great discernment.
What Is It I have To Learn From This Experience?
The most important question I’m learning to ask myself on a pretty continual basis is why am I feeling so uncomfortable and what is it I have to learn from this experience? The unpleasantness that another may be feeling is never about me, it’s always about their lens, perspective, and internal issues. Likewise, the disquiet I’m feeling is all about my own stuff, and has nothing to do with others. We simply act as catalysts in the lives of one another, instigating introspection and bringing to the light those things which have been held in darkness for far too long. In hindsight, I am eternally grateful for the role others have played in revealing my hidden thorns. Though I may have been irritated or frustrated at the time, I clearly see those often distressing situations were necessary springboards in my forward advancement. Recognizing this helps me to no longer trigger as quickly, and I can more easily pull back and assess from outside the confines of emotional reactivity. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean I never feel uncomfortable, it just means I can more easily put it in perspective and look at the bigger picture. Having said that, there are still some times I fail miserably on that front, but I’m improving every day!
Staying Focused On The Present, Leaving Yesterday Behind
Today, I’m choosing to set aside rumination, worry, and responsibility for how others are feeling about my actions or statements. I trust that if another needs clarity from me, they are fully capable of asking for such. Otherwise, my attention needs to be laser focused on the present. I have much to accomplish and this time and energy can be far more productive invested in what positive differences I can make in this world!
Love & Light,
Laura Lum Corby
Also published on Medium.