We will inevitably hurt and disappoint others by being true to ourselves. Theresa Byrne shows us how to do it with compassion and grace.
Hurting others sucks! That awful feeling when you know you’ve caused someone intentional pain. Because what they wanted, and what you wanted were not the same thing.
It’s a natural part of life and being human. For anyone who’s had to do the breaking up, you know what this feels like. Even if you’ve had a friendship break up, or even worse, breaking up with your hairdresser or personal trainer. “It’s not you, it’s me.” “We need to talk.” “Hey do you have a sec?…”
Imagine those days or weeks before you’re ready to have “The Talk.” Even in friendships or business relationships we have to be ok with disappointing someone or speaking up.
We draw boundaries. We say “no.” We speak our mind, tell our truth and not everyone likes it.
We let others down. People get upset. We feel badly. But we can have compassion, and still speak our mind. We can be empathetic and still say what we need to say. Knowing what you want is the first step, asking for it is the next. Learning to accept that we cause pain to others and move through it, is a practice. The biggest practice of self-compassion because it involves forgiving ourselves for causing hurt.
So What do you do when you know something you did (or didn’t do) hurts someone else?
Here is my own personal philosophy and if it helps you: superawesomegreat.
1. I sit with the feeling. Not trying to do anything but sit with it.
I don’t try to run away from it, but I let myself learn.
What did I do or create that hurt someone? How was I part of it? Was I too afraid to speak my truth? Could I have done it sooner? Was I just “going along” not to cause waves? Was I confused? Was I trying to be a people pleaser? Was I hoping things got better or different? What is there for me to own here, so I don’t keep doing it. What do I need to see, so that I can grow from this? What is my lesson in this?
2. I realize that I would rather be someone who feels bad when I know I hurt someone else’s feelings.
If I didn’t feel bad for causing pain, then I would be someone who disregards the feelings of others. I don’t ever want to be that person. Ever.
3. I never purposefully try to hurt anyone and always try to be CLEAR when there’s a conflict.
Or pressure. Or I know someone wants something different than what I want or can give or do. But sometimes I can’t see those differences right away. Knowing that, I try to speak up as soon as I do. It’s not easy, but it’s part of my practice. Learned the Hard Way. Too many times I went along with what someone else wanted, without saying, “Hey that doesn’t work for me.” or “I would rather not have things go this way.” or “I don’t like this.”
4. I know that along the way people are going to be disappointed. In me.
The person I have to stay true to its myself. Knowing what others expect or want from me doesn’t mean that I have to do it. Otherwise I would’ve listened to everything my parents wanted me to be and I never would’ve been my own person. I wouldn’t have run my own businesses, and I wouldn’t have taken all the great adventures. Or I would’ve stayed married in a relationship that not only didn’t work but also became toxic to my very soul.
5. I also know that sometimes we come into other peoples lives for a reason.
Sometimes that reason involves something painful. A disappointment. An expectation. I don’t know their journey, their path, or their lessons, and I try to live with integrity, but sometimes pain is a catalyst for learning. For both of us. And to honor that pain and that knowledge, I try to learn from it as much as I possibly can. Even when friendships end, we have an opportunity to be grateful for what that person brought to our lives and know that separating from them is still a good thing.
I want to be empathetic, and I know sometimes pain in unavoidable. But I can’t run from it, I can only go through it.
Sometimes the only way “out” is through.
Originally published on TheresaByrne.com.
Photo—Thomas G. Fiffer