“Stand in the place where you live.” – R.E.M.
When I was extracting myself from a messy business situation years ago, my mentor said to me: “Look, they all want you to make this easy for them. They want you to clean up the mess, put it in a box, and put a fucking bow on it for them. It’s not your job to make this tidy for them.”
That was revelatory for me. Up to that point I was actually losing sleep about whether they were losing sleep or not. I was taking their angst and letting it into my head space. I was making their problems my problems. And it was blocking me from my preferred feelings. In that space, it became more difficult to access my core desired feelings — because I had, in a way, abandoned my self. I had stepped away from my core.
After the lightbulb went off, my position became this: “Yes, it’s messy. I’ll take responsibility for my share of the mess. But it’s not my job to manage your worry. I’m not responsible for your feelings.”
That was the first time I really got what it meant to stand in my power. And, remarkably, when I’m in my power, I feel much more peaceful — and able to generate more positive feeling states.
When we over-reach to make sure everyone is “comfortable” or make it “easier” on others, we can step out of our center. I’m not suggesting an every-man-for-him-self tactic, or precluding compassion and integrity. I’m talking about over-extending to the point that you lose hold of your own life line: your core desired feelings.
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