Feelings Belong to the Person Who Feels Them

Or, how to deal with the expectations of others.

It’s not easy to deal with the expectations of others, but more often than not, it’s coming from a good place. Often people are trying to pass on the advice or guidance that they wish they had at a time in their own lives, because it’s their way of being loving and protective. What they don’t realize is your life experience is very different from theirs and therefore your understanding and reasoning will not align. You might hear things like, “You should be doing __” or, “That’s not how you should feel.” In the face of the conflicts like these, all you can do is hold your ground and trust yourself. It’s okay to take care of yourself, and only you can decide how you feel about something. Just like you can’t tell another person to feel a certain way about their life, they cannot tell you how you should feel about yours.

If someone close to you is telling you how you should feel about something or how you should act in regards to an issue that does not directly involve them, that is unfortunate and I’m sure, very frustrating.  If how you feel seems preposterous and illogical to this person, know that you do not have to justify your feelings or make them believe they make sense. Just like the saying goes, you can’t judge another person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. The emotions that this other person might have in your situation are not the same, just as the scars they have are not the same. You can explain your reasoning if you like, but it’s not your responsibility to make them agree with it. Everyone has their reasons for feeling the way they do about certain things. Sometimes those feelings are very layered and complex; a mystery to even ourselves. And that is fine. Listen to yourself and do not betray yourself. Your gut will know what is best for you. That’s the only answer you ever need, regardless of what others want you to want.

If a conflict over your feelings or actions is causing you to question yourself to the point of a “spin out” (a constant loop in your head that will not resolve – like a computer glitch that’s trying to solve a problem again and again), it means you need to stop and take a break from this issue. Your inner self has not decided yet how you feel and therefore you have opposing opinions that pull you in two directions. In other words, the answer is not fully baked yet and this conflict will not be solved by force. Let it bake in the back of your brain for a while and divert your attention to unrelated things.

An emotional spin out can also be a sign that ghosts of very old feelings have been triggered, meaning this issue is touching on something from your past that is making you feel the issue is bigger than it is. Often the ghost feelings that are triggered come from childhood experiences that define our understanding of ourselves. They make us feel we are somehow bad or selfish or we are going to lose the love of others if we do not abide their opinions.

If you are unsure or ambivalent about what you want regardless of this other person, take a pragmatic approach to deduce the solution. Write a “Pros” and “Cons” list to decide what you can live with, and what you cannot live with. If one of those factors is the opinion of this other person, “So-and-so will be upset at me,” then write that down. Weigh the items accordingly. When you have weighed your options and the lists are completed you will have your answer whether your happy with it or not.  Commit to it and do not put any more energy or worry toward it.  You can’t please everyone, nor do you have to. Know that there is no perfect outcome.  Accept the discomfort of what has to be compromised, know that you made the right decision for you based on the conditions, and forgive yourself if someone is upset at you.  You went to great lengths to decide the right thing to do and you’re allowed to take care of yourself. Know you’re your intentions and heart are in the right place and let it go.

Hope this helps at a time when you need it. Happy Sunday, friends! xox Sarah May B.

Featured image via harakiri

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