Are you a prisoner of others past experience with you? (Part 2) by Roz Usheroff

“Many years ago I learned that when people give you feedback … they are really telling you about themselves…their beliefs, values, experiences, expectations – their ‘story’, their ‘reality’.  So, it’s not ‘personal’.”

The above is an excerpt of just one of the many responses I received to Part 1 of this post on dealing with someone who either doesn’t like or has had a negative experience with you.

The person who made the comment went on to say; When someone appears to not like me, or behaves negatively toward me, I remind myself of this and I find that it helps.  I can then be curious, instead of defensive.

While I found that there were many views on how to deal with a difficult relationship I find that this observation, at least in part, represents a good starting point.

To begin, you should not take the disapproval of another personal.

Now I fully understand and appreciate the fact that this is a position that for many contradicts their initial reaction to not being liked or being viewed in a negative light.  In fact it goes against what for the majority is a natural desire to be accepted and fit in.  As an aside in an upcoming post I will talk about the phenomena of what is commonly known as the herd mentality.  However in relation to today’s post, acceptance and validation is a big part of our need to be accepted.

As a result, when someone criticizes us we more often than not can take it as a rejection of us personally, as opposed to a specific idea or an action.

This of course is the critical point which will determine the route you will take going forward.

By not making it personal (or taking offense), you leave yourself open or “curious” to not just understand the why, but also proactively seek in a positive context, any possible solutions.  This is both empowering, and at the end of the day productive.

Now someone will ask what if the other party doesn’t wish to pursue a shared journey of enlightenment and resolution.

Roz Prisoner Part2 image

My answer in this latter instance is the same.  By sincerely reaching out to the other person, you are now freed from carrying their baggage of discontentment, as you have done everything you can to build a bridge of communication or right a wrong.  If the other person doesn’t want to go there, it is their choice.  But keep in mind that their decision to maintain the break, is likely linked to factors that have more to do with their circumstances and views of the world as opposed to yours.

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