Projection

Sometimes we come across a person in our lives and we see potential for greatness in them.  In my case this individual is much younger than me, but we still connected and a friendship grew.  This girl is young, pretty, smart and had a bit of chip on her shoulder about life; but as I learned about her background I fully understood and even came to love that ever presiding chip on her shoulder.  We would talk about life and the people we had to deal with at work and come to laugh about it later.  I felt that even though there was a big age difference, she was mature beyond her years.  I felt, because of her hardships in life, she had been one of those young people who overcame it and was better and stronger than the average person her age.  As time went by I realized my first impression of her was a little off and I had missed some key issues within her personality that would come to affect me and our friendship later.

When we are attracted to a person, either in a romantic relationship or in a friendship, usually we are attracted to a couple of things in their personality.  The first set of qualities are those that remind us of ourselves.  The second set of qualities are those we may admire about the individual and want more for ourselves.  However, this attraction can become twisted, because often what we want to see in others is really more of a reflection of ourselves and not always who the other person really is, and this is called projection.  I realized I had painted this nice picture of a young woman who was like a younger version of myself, with a bit more edginess from her troubled past.  I thought she had something that I value in others when I see it….grit.  Now, I have come to realize the tough girl image I first encountered is just a facade and she is really one of the most sensitive people I have ever met.  This is where things get complicated for me.

I do not do well with overly sensitive people and it is even worse when people do not realize they are being overly sensitive.  I am very focused, honest and straight forward about my thoughts and feelings.  I do not water things down to make it easier for people to swallow.  When I catch inconsistency within a person I can only stay quiet for so long before I finally just tell it like it is.  In a working environment I am very methodical and focused.  As I have gotten older I realize that I may come off very matter-of-fact when in my “work mode” but most people understand I am there to get a job done and don’t take it personal.  Individuals who really take the time to know me also know I never set out to hurt anyone and usually once the job is complete and the work day is over I am back to my fun-loving self.  That is why this particular friendship baffles me.

In all my 40 years on this planet I have never had a person tell me I am hateful, bitchy, or mean.  I have never had someone point out a laundry list of times I have hurt their feelings.  So when this particular friend explained her feelings about me I admit I was a bit taken back.  Of course my first reaction was to explain some of the situations and why I may have reacted the way I did, but defensive and apologetic came off more like I was agreeing with her assessment of who I am, and I did not agree with her.  I had to process her viewpoint fully and realized that not only had I projected some things on her in the beginning, but maybe she was also projecting on me.  However, my projection was one of more positive and hers was very negative.

I know I am not a negative person and I know that I do not say or do things to intentionally cause another person to feel bad, that is not my heart.  My entire education and goals in life is to help others be the best they can be.  I have real conversations that only a super sensitive person looking to be the victim would twist into something ugly or hateful.  If I feel like I am walking on eggshells around an individual with every conversation or meeting, then I really don’t want to be around them anymore.  Furthermore why would someone want to continue to be friends with a person who they feel is hateful and bitchy to them?  It made no sense to me why she would continue to reach out and want to get together, but at the same time continue to twist everything I say into something negative.  The simplest question-answer text conversations could turn into comments from her being dismissive, rude, and….well….hateful and bitchy…and that is when I realized it.  Okay, how she feels about me is really saying more about her than it does about me.  I chose to project things on to her that were positive and strong qualities because that was my first impression of her, and even though I was very spot on in some aspects, I see now that she is still very immature and sensitive in other ways.

Sometimes, we have to love people from a distance and create boundaries for our own sake.  I cannot afford to have such negativity in my life right now and even though I do care for her, I do not think I can continue to be around her on a regular basis.  Pay attention to how other people will label you because it can teach you about who they really are.  People have a choice in their words and how they choose to perceive the world around them.  Are you consistently choosing the worst?  Do you find yourself judging others harshly?  When a person addresses a problem in the relationship do you make excuses, get defensive and retaliate with a laundry list of things they have done in return?  Do not let yourself get sucked in to the negativity, do not be the person who always chooses the negative and remember…

I am not what you think I am.  YOU are what you think I am.

The world around us is a reflection of who we are.  If you don’t like the world you are in then the real change starts with you.

With peace, love and honesty,

Stacy

Speak Your Truth & Forgive to Free Yourself

I have recently had the privilege of reading interviews and progress notes pertaining to rehabilitation programs.  A consistent theme with many individuals is guilt or shame about the past.  Often the guilt or shame comes from events they really had no control over, but it just eats away at them.  In the negative environment often the easiest available relief from the guilt and shame is to escape through drugs and/or alcohol.  Abuse, neglect, lies, cheating, tragic loss, are the most common reasons for such deep pain.  In a perfect world we would understand that each day is a new day and a chance to be different, but often we feel change is not possible because the past defines who we are and therefore defines our future.  So the shame of past dirty deeds follow us around, making us believe it is simply too hard and we are not strong enough.  Shame, guilt, anger, fear, hurt…all of these negative feelings keep us trapped in a dark place.  If we stay in that dark place long enough we actually identify with it, accept it, and the thought of moving passed it is unimaginable.

The idea of letting go of everything we have ever known about the world and ourselves can be a very scary process.  Some individuals are in denial of what is really happening, they do not see how their choices are affecting themselves and those around them.  Obviously the first step is no longer denying the truth, but instead, facing it head-on.  We must be brutally honest with ourselves.  If you have been abusive to others, a cheater, told lies, just purge it all.  Lay every dirty deed out on the table that you have committed on yourself and to others. Then find it within yourself to forgive yourself.  Admitting your wrong doings to yourself and out loud to those you have treated badly can be very humbling and also freeing.  Some may accept your truth and your apology and others may tell you to get lost.  The point is not what others think of you, but the fact that you are owning it, taking responsibility and at the end of the day what really matters is what you think of yourself.  If you truly speak from the heart and let it all out, letting the denial, anger, hate, mistrust and all the other negative feelings go, then you will begin to feel free and know in your heart that today really is a new day.

The second step to admitting the truth is acknowledge what others have done to you.  Those who have abused you, lied to you or cheated on you, even those who left or died in some tragic way.  You have to let go of that anger and hurt and forgive those individuals as well. This also means not taking the blame on yourself for what others have done to you and no longer using what others have done to you as excuse to continue living your life in a unhealthy way.  Being honest and offering forgiveness are the keys to freedom from the negative emotions and the first step to letting go of the past so that you can move forward.

Once you have spoke your truth and forgiven yourself and others, you can re-evaluate and take inventory of your current circumstances.  Where are you in the important areas of your life?  Do you have a family, a job, a home, an education, a spiritual connection or faith in a higher power?  If you have done enough damage to be without all of these things then you can start at the basics and build yourself back up.  This will not be easy but the process is very rewarding.  I have watched individuals complete a GED, enroll in college, get a job, an apartment, start going to church and build a support system, and eventually rekindle positive relationships with children and other family members.  The truth is you have to start with yourself and learn to be alone first.  This process is the hardest because being alone can lead to temptation to revert back to the old ways of thinking and unhealthy habits.  You cannot force yourself back into others lives.  Some may never forgive you and that is their choice.  Be willing to keep moving forward and forgive them for not forgiving you.   Have your own back, because if you don’t love yourself you will continue to allow yourself to be put in bad situations and make bad choices.  This process can involve letting go of unhealthy relationships that may not support your goals.

Letting go of all the negative and toxic relationships, thoughts, beliefs and ideas about yourself and the world around you is very therapeutic, but sometimes easier said than done.  Individuals may relocate in order to start all over and remove themselves from toxic environments.  It may sound extreme, but sometimes it is the only way to reclaim  health and happiness.  It is not about the past anymore and the future does not really matter, it is the present moment that really matters.  Today is the first day of the rest of your life, start speaking your truth, apologize, forgive and re-evaluate your current circumstances and most of all be grateful for having each new day. The truth really will set you free.

With freedom, forgiveness, truth and love

Stacy

 

 

 

 

Hurt Feelings

Ever been with someone you love and they say or do something that completely hurts your heart?  You wonder later if maybe you are being a big baby but you analyze it from every direction and basically the comment or action was just for no other reason than to be mean.  Mama has always said, if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.  I guess we are all human and say things we don’t mean at times. Right?  At what point do the little cuts become a big wound?  How do we distinguish between being human versus being abusive?

I have encountered quite a few men in my life, (my father, bosses, friends and boyfriends) that have the habit of always pointing out the negative with ease, but rarely giving a compliment.  This is something I pay a lot of attention to because my love language is mainly words of affirmation.  I like to hear that I am appreciated, I prefer a love letter over a material gift, I need those words in order to feel fully loved.  Everyone has a love language and I believe my boyfriend has completely different love languages than I do.  My most important languages are words of affirmation and quality time, I believe his are acts of kindness and gifts.  The book of 5 Love Languages can really help you navigate how people show their love and feel loved in return and in this process also help you to not be as frustrated or get your feelings hurt.

I understand that people have bad days, I am actually probably one of the most forgiving, understanding, and positive people on the planet because I study people.  I get to know people, I watch, listen and learn constantly.  I take my time to reflect and analyze words and actions of others before I come to a decision on how to respond, if I respond at all.  I usually know when people are genuine or simply just being assholes.  If you can be really honest with yourself then it makes it easier to identify the assholes in life.  Being honest with yourself means, not making excuses for other people who talk down to you or treat you badly over and over again.  If you are dating a guy that makes you feel bad about yourself on a regular basis then he is probably just an ass and you need to move on.  Unfortunately, women (or men) with a low self esteem don’t believe they deserve better and they just make excuses and continue to be the victim, not realizing they have a choice.

I have had my feelings hurt before, as a matter of fact I had my feelings hurt twice this week and I found myself thinking about it a bit deeper.  My first reaction was upset, I didn’t cry but I got quiet.  Then I got a bit angry which made me even more quiet because I refuse to speak in anger, I have learned angry words lead to regret.  When someone hurts us our first reaction is to hurt back and that only makes matters worse.  The person who hurt my feelings came off really harsh but also a bit playful.  I didn’t say much and just changed the subject of conversation.  Two nights later it happened again, over the top reaction to something by this same person towards me.  Again I was quiet and thought intently about how I should respond.  He knew he had hit a nerve and again tried to play it off like a joke.   I tried to remind myself that he had been sick for a week with a bad cold, so I decided to react in a playful way.   I pointed out the two harsh jabs in one week and told him I didn’t like him when he was sick because he becomes a cantankerous old man.  He sat on the couch with a smile on his face knowing that it was true.  However, to be perfectly honest, a part of me was still hurt by his choice to be mean to me for no apparent reason.

The next morning I drove to work thinking about the incident because the comment didn’t bother as much as the fact that it bothered me so much…I asked myself why?  My conclusion…he rarely ever gives me compliments.  If he complimented me with the ease that it took him to say those hurtful things it probably would not have stung so bad.  It saddens me that a person so close to me can so easily make fun of me but rarely tell me all the things he loves and appreciates about me.  It all comes back to my love language.  If your love language is quality time and your significant other never spends time with you then you will feel hurt.  If your love language is gifts and they never remember special occasions then you will feel hurt,  My love language is words of affirmation and I rarely hear them so when he says something mean it hurts me deeper than it should.  So how do I get over that?

This is where things really start to get deep.  You have to be very in control of yourself and how you choose to see the world.  Basically, what other people think about you is none of your business, even those that you love.  Other people are going to have good and bad days and some who love you may be jealous of you or many other crazy feelings and emotions.  The point is, you can’t spend your life worrying about the small stuff and it is all small stuff.  I am very focused on getting myself to a certain level in life, so focused that even the man I love will not make me feel bad about myself.  If he wants to be mean then he can have his words but I will not join him in the fight.  I know who I am and where I am going and no one will take me from my path.

We have to realize that when we are going strong, feeling blessed, and really focused, some people, (even the ones we love the most) may be intimidated by our success.  We cannot allow their insecurities to change how we feel because their negativity is their problem, not ours.  Get quiet and think to yourself what you know to be true….maybe they are really just having a bad day, or maybe they are truly just being an asshole.  If you are honest with yourself then you will know the truth in your heart and the truth will set you free!  Don’t take it personal because their thoughts and actions towards you or anyone else should not reflect on you.  You are only responsible for how you respond, and your thoughts and actions.

Love, Happiness, Health, and the Truth,

Stacy