A Sense of Ownership
“They disrespected me. ”They made me feel bad.” ”They upset me.”
What do all of those phrases have in common?
They all blame the “they” for how the “me” feels. Those sentences blame our feelings on something or someone outside of us.
What if we said this instead?
“I’m choose to feel (insert feeling) about (insert experience). Because of how I feel, I’m choosing to (insert action).”
For example: I’m choosing to feel bad about what you said to me. Because of how I’m feeling, I’m choosing to walk away right now.
Sometimes, we try to take ownership of our feelings and it backfires somewhat because of how that sentence typically starts. We say, “You made me feel…” That’s blame and it’s a lie. It’s not true.
The reason why it backfires is because of the sense of blame that the phrase offers. The sentence started with “you”. That’s blame. “You did this. You made me.” Change “you” to “I” to remove the blame. “I did this.” “I made me.”
Nobody can make us feel anything. The feelings are a response to something outside of us. But those feelings are changeable based on how we perceive things, what happened 5 minutes earlier, how much sleep we got last night, whether or not we’ve had coffee, and which way the wind is blowing. Because the feelings are so changeable and based on such a wide variety of circumstances, they aren’t always a true reflection of what’s happening around us. They aren’t always accurate. That means we have to make choices about our feelings.
We can choose to project them or not. We can choose to display them or not. We can choose to blame them on something outside of us or not. We can choose to feel differently about something or not. The feelings are a choice not a true reflection of what’s happening and often not even a true reflection of what we’re thinking.
If the feelings come up and we’re not completely in control yet, we can own that too. The first choice we can make is not to project those feelings. The second choice we can make is to be honest about that.
“I need to deal with these feelings I’ve chosen before I can do this.”
All of these shifts in how we talk give us our power back. They create that sense of ownership that’s missing in other phrases. The more we’re willing to own every thought, feeling, action, and word the more empowered we become.
“I need to deal with me before I can deal with you.” That’s probably more true than anything else we’d likely say. It offers ownership and projects nothing onto anybody else. That’s empowerment.
What would happen if you started to consciously change the way you phrase things?
What would happen to the pain if you made a conscious choice to own the feelings instead of project them or blame them on others?
Surprising things happen when we can become aware of ourselves within the experience in such a way that we stop projecting our feelings onto people and situations.
Full ownership of ourselves is no easy task. It requires a lot of awareness and a willingness to examine where all the feelings and thoughts are coming from without the story of blame behind them. That’s not easy because of how convenient it is to blame our experience for everything. It’s much simpler to pawn everything off on the outside world.
But, while it may be simpler, it’s generally more painful because it doesn’t offer us a path to being able to manage anything. We don’t have control over the external world. So, if you’re just blaming the external world for everything, then your only form of control is to try to manage the external world.
As Dr. Phil would say, “how’s that working for ya?” Chances are, it doesn’t work for you. It’s actually really frustrating and hard to do. Usually it just results in more pain because we can’t ever get enough control over the external world to be happy for any length of time. There will always be something out there that we don’t like. There will always be a problem around. One of things we have to be able to do is co-exist with the problems. The way to co-exist with the problems is to own your own thoughts, feelings, and actions.
“I’m choosing to feel (insert feeling) about this problem. Because I feel that way, I’m making the choice to “(insert choice).”
Maybe your choice is to walk away from the problem. Maybe your choice is to ask for help. Maybe your choice is to try something different. Maybe your choice is to see the problem differently. Whatever your choice is, make sure it gives you control over your own thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Guess what? Now you can co-exist with that problem. It no longer has control over you. The blame is gone.
It’s simple but it’s not easy, right? I get that. Our work as conscious, somewhat awakened beings is to begin the process of owning our thoughts, feelings, actions, and words one thought, feeling, action, and word at a time.
Part of the process includes understanding how language can empower and disempower us depending on the phrases we use.
Are you willing to make a conscious effort to change how you speak in order to empower yourself?
Love to all.
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