In this week’s blog Chantelle shares powerful and practical tools in how to not take things personally. She speaks about healthy communication, the art of listening, holding back your assumptions, focussing within and the power of vulnerability.
For me, the practice of seeing external triggers and reactions as a reflection of my internal word, rather than taking them personally has been a powerful shift.
It takes humility and a willingness to feel our own guilt, shame, sadness, anger and fear. However, as Tantra so often teaches me, when I feel this pain, it takes my awareness to something deeper i.e. a truth about myself and my life, how I feel about what I am doing, or about why people are acting towards me the way they are.
For example, for a while I noticed I was regularly triggered by people who I judged to be “attention seeking,” always in the spotlight or talking to much. I didn’t like this quality in others and thought it was selfish and narcissistic. However, when I reflected deeper, I realised that it actually spoke to a sadness around my lack of performing, being seen in my power and joy and letting my voice be heard. Since shifting my career into more performance work, and allowing my voice to be heard through more teaching work, writing and in conversations, the trigger is no longer there and does not have such a hold on me.
I notice that when I react and don’t do this process of inner reflection, it feels incredibly uncomfortable and I often end up regretting what I say or do as a result.
Deep down, deflection is an unwillingness to really be authentic with ourselves and with others. What painful truth are you most terrified to admit to?
This idea of deflection makes me think about how we as a society are facing, or not facing, the painful truth of climate change. With the devastation of the fires in Australia, we have been forced to face and accept the painful truth of what we have done to our planet and the jeopardy of our survival on it. And yet, how many of you know people that are still resisting and deflecting this truth? Perhaps when you catch up with family, they refuse to accept that climate change is happening or are unwilling to change their behaviour to more sustainable ways. How many of our leaders are willing to accept this truth and make the required decisions for change? For a lot of people, if they were to accept this truth they would have to sit in deep pain and grief and would have to sit in the discomfort of their own contribution and responsibility in this.
When we come out of reaction, deflection and taking things personally, we can start to work with something real to create change and do things differently. We have to feel the emotions and can then move forwards – both at a personal and collective level.
I hope the following words can support you in this process.
Love Erin xx
Eliyah Practitioner and Teacher
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One of the key contributors to our suffering is taking things personally and going into reaction whenever someone has a different viewpoint to us. This not only happens in person, but also on social media.
The thing is, it is our responsibility when we experience anger and reaction, not the responsibility of another person, who we may perceive as wrong, stupid or difficult.
People can be as ignorant or difficult as they like, but their words or actions only create a reaction when they are triggering our own insecurities, lack of certainty, fears, needs or vulnerabilities.
This is why it’s so important that we take responsibility for our own state of being. Breathe. Calm down and inquire into the reaction inwardly rather than blowing up outwardly. This is a human superpower!
Ask yourself, “Why am I reacting to this?” instead of being stuck in “I’m right, you’re wrong. How can you be like that or think like that?” then proving your case. The former is insight and the latter is judgement. The former leads to the capacity to reflect on different points of view, the latter creates an attachment to the other person “getting it”.
Imagine how freeing it would be to simply listen and allow others their own perspective? It would support us to stop seeing people as “against” us, and genuinely consider other angles, viewpoints and options.
Eventually, you will begin to see a pattern of what sets you off. This will help you understand WHY you end up triggered by similar things. It is only then that you can move forward to resolve repetitive issues, instead of going through the same arguments over and over again.
The ability to not overreact or take things personally keeps growing your self-awareness and expanding your heart. It grows you up so that you can actually receive others instead of shaming them for not agreeing with you.
FROM UNHEALTHY TO HEALTHY COMMUNICATION
People often communicate with an emotional charge; wanting to be right, to make the other person wrong, to have their points and emotions validated or to be understood. This often leads to words loaded with accusation, shame, blame and criticism, where no one is properly listening and the situation escalates or one or both partners deflect, withdraw or close down, supressing the issue and as a result, resentment builds.
Deflection is when someone communicates something to you that causes you to feel triggered and instead of taking it in, you take the conversation into a different direction or turn it back towards the other person. This prevents you from listening, reflecting and becoming more self-aware.
Too few of us actively seek out and LISTEN to feedback about how we could improve. More often, we are cautiously fishing for compliments or innocently seeking feedback that will validate us in areas that we know we excel in or that we feel insecure about.
Our egos are fragile and we don’t like change, so it is no wonder deflection becomes a tool people use to avoid really looking at themselves! Even the most useful feedback with the best intentions can bring out the worst side in us, as shame arises in our own being about what is being fed back to us. I know for myself, when someone I love becomes unhappy with me, it can be hard to deal with my own feelings of inadequacy that come up. If I can’t own the shame I’m feeling, or just be with how they feel without taking it personally, I deflect.
What if something that has been said to you has an element of truth, which, if reflected upon, could open you to greater love and awareness of self?
So, how do we shift from unhealthy to healthy communication? One essential step is the necessity to process & feel your emotions, take self-responsibility, feel what you actually need and know you are worthy of expressing it.
THE ART OF LISTENING
Through mastering the art of compassionate listening and reflecting, we learn to foster compassion over pride, acceptance of pain rather than denial or distraction, and self-responsibility over victimhood.
By holding the same compassion, attunement and awareness that we have cultivated through our listening and reflecting practice, we are also more likely to communicate to our partner or another without projecting when the roles are reversed.
In this way, communication of needs, wants and desires between two people ceases to create conflict and separation, and rather allows the Souls’ yearning to be heard, seen, felt and loved to become a reality.
CAN WE JUST LISTEN?
Eventually, you realise that the reason someone is unhappy with you is because a need is not being met, not because something is wrong with them or yourself. That need could simply be more compassion, understanding, kindness or more quality time and presence. It can be easy to try to figure out what is wrong with someone else when they are upset and try to fix them instead of actually reflecting on what they feel, and how they are seeing a situation.
Can we just listen without making someone wrong and reflect on what is being heard? Yes, we can! It is easy? Not always!
It stands to reason that we would be far better equipped to have a healthy relationship with ourselves and others if we could reflect rather than take things personally. After all, feedback is one of the strongest influences on our development.
This requires us to listen actively and compassionately, be willing to feel the shame of not measuring up to our own standards as well as others’ and be willing to feel the unpleasant emotions that come up. It also requires that we don’t make assumptions that we are losing love or freedom in some way which requires us to have the courage to ask questions. Once you have the answer, you won’t have to assume anything because you will have the truth. For example: Does this mean you don’t want to be with me anymore? Do you still love me?
BE WILLING TO BE VULNERABLE
Vulnerability is the gateway into harmonious relating. It is that tenderness beyond the mind and beyond the ego’s need to be right.
Raw feelings take such courage to feel and express and yet once we do we can finally breathe into our Feminine and surrender.
Yes, it can be really scary. Yes, we must face our fear of rejection and fear of loss. Yes, it means trusting and letting go of the unhealthy barriers we are taught we must uphold. Yes, we must let go of our pride and own our feelings of sadness.
But in our choice to be vulnerable we surrender to a level of presence and love in ourselves that cannot be felt if we remain closed. We surrender to the space our own Masculine is holding in his capacity to witness without judgement.
It’s amazing how when I surrender, or hold another in their surrender, the veils fall and there is just that beautiful holding that does not take anything personally.
When you are willing to be vulnerable you will be bared to yourself and others. You will move from victimhood to power.
When we can communicate responsibly and lovingly from the heart, we open to deeper vulnerability, where another can feel us and what we have to say can be more easily received.
When we can compassionately listen, we invite people to open up more and create an opportunity for deeper intimacy, growth and self-reflection. We grow up and create more trust, transparency, love and deeper understanding of each other.