Change the way you respond

If something happens and your feelings get hurt or you don’t like the way that someone has treated you, it’s important to do something about it.

It’s easy to get into the habit of sheepishly speaking up then cowering and retreating when the other person shuts you down.

When this happens, the other person learns that they can easily over step your boundary and essentially disrespect you.

And so it continues on and on until you change the way you respond.

You have to back yourself, speak up for the things you’re not okay with and make it clear that you aren’t willing to accept certain things.

It may sound simple for some but for others the idea that they don’t have to just accept being treated poorly is kinda revolutionary.

Unhelpful habits

Most of us have at least one habit that we know is unhelpful, in fact perhaps you can clearly see how at times it hinders your life. However, you choose to do nothing about it.

You’ve accepted the habit as part of who you are instead of it being something that you’re open to changing or even just working on. But mostly it hasn’t caused a big enough problem in your life for you to consider it to be something that needs to change.

Perhaps you’re habit is lateness. You’re always always late everywhere you go to the point where it’s now expected.

Then, one day you being late causes a significant negative implication to your life. You lose out on something important, miss out on money or ruin a relationship.

It’s only then that you truly consider that you might need to work on your punctuality. Up until that point there were no consequences for your lateness, it was simply just an unhelpful habit. But when you lose a job because of it you realise that actually it’s a bad habit because your life has been negatively affected as a result of it.

Accepting where you’re at

Where you are right now might not be where you wish you were.

But it’s important to accept it.

You may have a detailed dream life that feels a million miles from you’re current life. And so you focus on the future to distract yourself from your current circumstances.

Perhaps there are feelings of embarrassment, shame, low self-esteem, not feeling good enough or fear associated with where your life is at. By choosing not to accept the present you amplify all those feelings which of course makes you feel worse.

Instead of trying to distance yourself from your current life, try to accept it. It’s okay to not be where you want to be in life.

That doesn’t mean you don’t make an effort to change things and work towards where you want to be. It just means that you don’t bypass the present.

Putting yourself out there

You refuse to put yourself out there because you’re afraid of being rejected. Meanwhile, you’re also not allowing people to accept the real you.

Rejection is a part of life, you’re not for everyone it’s okay, it’s nothing to be afraid of.

Don’t get so caught up in the people that don’t want you, they’re not your people. Give the others a chance. How do you expect to find your people if you aren’t even willing to show them who you really are?

Accepting change

It’s one thing to know it happens but to accept it is a whole other story.

You might find that you’ve become so comfortable with the way things are that the thought of them being any different is just too much to bear.

But change is part of life and no matter how much you try to hold on, things will always keep changing.

Choosing to be resistant instead of accepting change just delays the inevitable causing unnecessary levels of anxiety, stress, sadness and frustration. because

Think of change like the tide, it’s so much easier to go with it than against it.

Accepting less

Why do people accept less than they truly desire?

I think it comes from a lack of belief that you can attain the things that you want. Instead of being clear and saying no, you say yes because you don’t believe there is any other choice.

I think the fact that deep inside you know exactly what you want is enough of a reason to follow through with that in life. You think the opportunity to have what you really want isn’t there and so you settle for less. But I think that maybe the truth is that you don’t hold the desire of what you want strongly and clearly for long enough for the right opportunity to come along.

Instead you give up and tell yourself something like, ‘Well, I can’t have what I really want so I’ll find something else that is another version of what I really want’.

In order to go from accepting less to accepting more, you have to change your beliefs.

And that could be through daily affirmations, meditations or even just forcing yourself to hold out for that little bit longer instead of settling like you usually do.

Getting drawn in

Some people enjoy arguing.

They love it, it fuels them and they will seek it out.

They’re rarely interested in understanding other people or sharing what they know instead they want to dominate and they want to be right.

You may find yourself often getting drawn in but by then it’s too late, you’ve gotten swept up in it all. All of sudden you’re passionately explaining your point of view hoping the other person will take it in enough to agree to disagree and move on.

But the other person tells you no, they tell you you’re wrong and they try to invalidate your opinion by saying you don’t understand.

And in these kinds of situations when you’re being baited in order for the dialogue to continue it’s easy to get riled up. It’s easy to try to get the other person to accept that it’s okay to see things differently. More often than not your efforts are to no avail.

And so the growth point is in choosing to not engage even if you think this time might be different.

The exchanges are rarely helpful and you just end up leaving them frustrated wishing you didn’t once again get drawn in.

The pros and cons of labels

When it comes to labels, they can help people feel like they fit in and belong. Giving something a name can help a person feel more accepted and feel like they understand themselves better.

On the other hand labels can also be limiting. As soon as you declare yourself to be X it comes with preconceived notions and expectations. You then end up grouped in with other people that also label themselves X even though you may be nothing like them.

I recently came across a quote by someone I’d never heard of called Adyashanti:

All of these are labels. All of them are fine. There is nothing wrong with any one of them, until you actually believe they’re true. As soon as you believe that a label you’ve put on yourself is true, you’ve limited something that is literally limitless, you’ve limited who you are into nothing more than a thought.

It reminded me that labels are totally fine, as long as we don’t give them too much significance.

The difficult truth

Sometimes the hardest part is facing it.

Once you accept it, you can make a plan for what do next. That for many is exciting.

However, facing the difficult truth is the necessary first step. You do it by acknowledging and understanding the situation. In some cases it will involve admitting the role that you played contributed to a negative outcome.

That’s a helpful lesson because it allows you to understand the implications of your actions.

It might be a bitter pill to swallow but we all make mistakes. Luckily, we also have the capacity to fix them and make things better.

Does privilege negate hard work?

Privilege is a complex thing.

I think the reason that so many people have a hard time accepting their privilege is because they feel like it negates their hard work. They’re not comfortable with the realisation that if it wasn’t for certain things about them, they would have experienced life very differently. More often than not having more hurdles to overcome.

Privilege comes in many forms: financial, gender, race, sexuality and religion for a start but there is so much more.

And so if you come under the categories of Middle class, Male, White, Straight and Christian there is evidence to show that you face less barriers. Furthermore, the categories you fit into don’t disadvantage you, for the most part.

It can be challenging for people that feel like they have worked hard to be told that they’re privileged. They’re often the ones that believe in meritocracy and feel like anyone who can’t achieve the same as them must not be working hard enough.

Ironically, it’s often that everyone else has had to work harder.

I think the easiest way to understand this whole thing of privilege is to meet more people that are not like you. That way you actually get to see the what it’s like for other people.

Whether that is not continuing education because they can’t afford it, worrying that their natural hair will be a barrier to employment or even constantly having negative assumptions thrown at them because of their religions beliefs.

The point of all this is not for you to feel bad, the point is to gain understanding and awareness.

Your privilege doesn’t negate your hard work but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.