I have been to many counsellors and therapists that try a holistic, spiritual approach to dealing with depression, low self esteem and anxiety disorders. To be honest, this is not the sort of person that I am, and although I have taken some positive changes and suggestions from these therapists, I have also disregarded some of their points too. I don’t think we ever have to take others’ opinions on life to be 100% true, as let’s be honest, we’re all winging it, just some better than others! So, I have taken on most advice from my therapists, until it doesn’t ring true to me or within my life, and some of their advice has really been tested this week.
I have been told a few times by a few of these holistic therapists, that the people that walk in and out of your life, no matter how long they stay, are a reflection of what you believe yourself to deserve, what you think of yourself, how you feel about the world and others, and reflect your repressed feelings. This is an idea that this week, has puzzled me. Are we really a reflection of everyone around us? Or are people sent to make us recognise that which we are glad not to be? Reflections we are glad not to see when we look in the mirror?
During my last 7 days, I have been exposed to a person, who is normally a good friend, who has been particularly angry, aggressive, and confrontational. This person has caused me upset this week, knocking my confidence about my thoughts, beliefs and hobbies, and with comments that have a sting in the tail.
You’re boring and all you like to do is go for walks at the weekend.
Your hair must have been that awful colour as soon as it was dyed, it’s not got worse, it’s always been like that.
The above examples are just two of many comments made to me by a supposed friend, and as people with self esteem issues and those who are kind in life will understand, comments like this can be hurtful. It is personal, it is attacking, and it is hurtful. Now, I am the sort of person to stand up for myself, and not let people get away with speaking to me disrespectfully, and I will vow not to let this continue as I have.
I have come to see that I just do not believe that everyone you meet in life is a reflection of yourself and your own feelings. I do not feel angry, I do not feel like I need to belittle people. I do not feel that I need to learn to defend myself, if that is the lesson “the universe” is trying to teach me. And I certainly do not believe I deserve to be spoken to without respect. I respect others until they show me a reason not to, I stand up for myself where needed, and I live a life based on my hobbies, what I love, and I’m learning to branch out and do more exciting things, but at my own pace and when I feel ready.
No, this week, I have come across an angry person. Angry about their own lives, jealous that I have things that they do not, bitter that their life isn’t quite how they planned, and obviously self conscious enough to put others down to make themselves feel better. I am not this person, nor am I a reflection of these behaviours. I am not angry at life, or others. I am proud of how far I have come, how much I have changed, how I interact with others and how I respect them. I still have a long way to go, and perhaps at times there are reflections I see in others that mirror an anxiety or feeling of doubt or sadness in myself. But to see these and to recognise is to also be able to change them. How lucky I am to see my errors, and therefore work on them. It is extremely clear that not everyone has this ability.
In a way, perhaps this situation has taught me something. It has taught me that I don’t want to be around people who hurt me, or people that feel uncomfortable to be around. I am growing into my own skin and my own happiness, and I do not need to be dragged down into other people’s misery, or hurt by their ‘jokes’ or comments with a sting in the tail. Next time I come across a person who feels particularly cold, and like they are attacking me, I will again evaluate whether I believe they have been put in my path to teach me a lesson. And I will be aware that most of the time the lesson is to be thankful that I am not a reflection of their negativity, and to be grateful, in this scenario, that I have no bitterness towards others, as I am focusing on my own life, career and happiness.
Gosh, at times like these, I really see how far I have grown! Don’t take everything to heart, not everyone is meant to make it on your journey, let go and let live. If you do see reflections in yourself of other people’s behaviours that you just do not like, change your reflection. Don’t let them drag you down or pull you back on a road you’ve worked so hard to turn away from. Paint a new picture. And make yourself better, not bitter.