“Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves will affect us“. ~Stephen Covey
When I was 7 years old my friend Tracie and I decided to play “barber shop” in my garage. Tracie had long blonde hair down to her hips of which her mother doted and was very proud. As we took turns sitting in the barber chair pretending to cut each other’s hair, I had a brilliant idea…what if I really cut Tracie’s hair; her mother loved it and then used me to cut Tracie’s hair from now on! (Give me a break, I was 7 years old!) So, I ran in the house, got a pair of scissors and cut away. I mean CUT away…when I was done Tracie’s hair was shorter than Liza Minnelli’s on a bad hair day!
Needless to say, her mother hated it, screamed at me and I was scarred for life! This one incident led me to develop a complex for being an extreme perfectionist on top of being terrified of displeasing somebody for fear they would yell at me. Whenever we have a heart wrenching experience, it sets up our conditioning in a way that (if we allow) changes our behaviors when a similar experience occurs in the future. I obviously did not go into Cosmetology after that experience, but I did allow other people and events from then on to affect my choices. Due to the fear of being yelled at, not liked and shamed for not being “perfect,” I began to make my life choices based on what I thought other people expected of me. What’s funny about this habit is that how do you ever really know what someone else is thinking and what they expect of you? You don’t!
Don Miguel Ruiz has a wonderful little book entitled, “The Four Agreements.” The four agreements are simply:
The hardest one of these agreements, in my opinion, is not taking things personally. When you can finally realize that we each interpret an experience based on our own conditioning and perspective, then we can finally understand that it is ok to make decisions without external input. What we choose in the moment of the experience is ok, regardless of if anyone else agrees.
We hear constantly about greening the environment; adding solar panels on your house to all natural materials to make every item in your house is the green way to do things. I say we all green our internal environment. Take an inventory of the toxic items and garbage in that brain of yours, get rid of the hazards and create your internal environment to be one that is protected from external toxins; mainly, what other people think. Why do you value what someone else thinks so much over your own thoughts? What makes their thoughts better than yours? Just because their external environment looks green, does not mean they are internally green. Ask any coach…we hear and see it all day long! We are all great actors.
Refuse to let anyone talk you out of your own feelings.
Refuse to be reduced to someone else’s opinion of you.
And know in this moment and every moment going forward that you are worthy of being loved unconditionally…no matter what the external environment is telling you.
Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and Google+