A Love Letter to all of My Haters

Dear Haters,

You know who you are.

You’re the ones who think about me a little too much. The ones who spend your precious time and energy that could be used elsewhere, on me. You’re the ones who don’t like me, because of this-or-that reason. I’m sure they are “good reasons”, or so you tell yourself. But really, you know those reasons make no sense at all. It’s jealousy, really. Unless I have done something absolutely god-awful terrible to you, which you know I haven’t, then it’s jealousy.

But still, you continue to hate. Using all of that energy to dislike me. Day in and day out, you make your disapproval, disagreements, and dislike known. Sometimes in subtle ways and other times in very obvious ways. You are a crafty one, I’ll give you that. You sometimes throw me for a loop, making me think you’re being sincere and then your true colors come out and my hopeful moment comes crashing down.

But let me tell you something, oh dear crafty hater: If you think for one second that you can beat me, you can’t.

If you think that you hating on me is going to make me quit and give up, it won’t.

If you think that your mockery, your judgment, and your disagreement is going to make me think I am wrong or change my mind, you are out of your mind.

If you think you are the one winning, I can tell you with absolute certainty, you are sadly mistaken.

The same time you are using for your contempt of me is the same time I am using to out-do you. The energy you exert in thinking of how you can deliver another sly remark or a passive-aggressive comment, I am using to work on my goals and am planning ahead. You take up no space in my mind. I give you no thought.

You see, if I stopped to care what everyone thought of me, I wouldn’t be where I was right now. I am faster, smarter, and closer to my goals than you ever will be because that’s where my time and energy goes.

The sad truth is whatever it is that you claim to “hate” about me, you actually hate about yourself. Mhmm. Because your perception of me, your view of me, is really a mirror of how you perceive yourself. Maybe not literally, but there are deep similarities there. That’s how our realities are created. So really, you spending day after day disliking me, is quite literally a waste for you. But it’s not for me.

What I am trying to say is this: Thank You.

For your time.

For your energy.

For your doubting me.

For your gossip and judgments.

For your worrying.

For your disbelief.

For telling me I would fail.

For saying that I can’t.

For saying that I shouldn’t.

For disagreeing with everything I ever say.

For hating on me.

You see, the thing is you fuel me. You are responsible for pushing me to new limits. For motivating me to work harder, get back up, and persevere through even my most trying of times. You inspire me to be better. Do more. Keep going. In fact, I often set such lofty goals because of you and what’s crazy is I achieve them! I achieve more than I think is possible because of your contempt. I am driven with a desire to be my best and the best because of your hate and disbelief.

Anything you have ever said I couldn’t do, I did.

Anything you have ever said I wouldn’t do, I did.

Anything you have ever believed about me, I proved wrong.

Anything you ever disagreed with me on, I proved right.

So, keep your dislike game strong. I’ll be far ahead of you, while you stay exactly the same.

Your biggest fan,
Me.

 

 

Photo by John-Mark Smith from Pexels

Hearing Things We Don’t Want to Hear

There are times when we all hear it, words from our friends, family, or even coworkers about ourselves that we sometimes don’t want to hear. Who wants to be told that there are things they should work on? Who wants to hear our problems might be our own fault, or that we aren’t right about something? Often times, these things are told to us in roundabout ways, hidden beneath passive-aggressive comments and remarks, that we know are meant to mean something other than how they come out. Other times, they may be direct, gut-wrenching, blood-boiling statements about ourselves that we are uncomfortable listening to.

Think to a recent conversation you have had – with a family member, friend, boss, stranger, even – that maybe didn’t go the way you intended and maybe you felt as though you were being personally attacked. Maybe someone had brought up a topic that you feel they have no business bringing up (that is an entirely different thing). Or perhaps, you brought up a particular topic or situation or idea and had solicited someone’s thoughts or advice on the matter. Regardless, you ended up on the topic of “X”, and you just did not care for the way “so and so” was speaking to you, or the things that they said. It could have felt they were talking at you, telling you what you should have done, should have said, should have acted, or should do now. You ended the conversation feeling a little frazzled, somewhat hurt, and definitely judged.

Sound like a conversation you can recall easily?

Don’t fret. We all have those from time to time. Here, we’ll talk about the good, the bad and the ugly. The good is that you’re not alone in feeling these things after some conversations and in fact, many of us experience these on a daily basis or every time we speak to “so and so”. The bad is that we don’t realize, but we often put ourselves in those situations or conversations ourselves (even by not removing ourselves from it or ending the conversation, we are participating and allowing it to continue to happen), and the ugly: These are good conversations that can ultimately lead to better versions of ourselves and better relationships with others. Yes – they can – if we can work to be a little less “sensitive”, or at the very least, learn to deal with “tough love” from others.

How to Deal with Tough Love from Others

 

First things first, if you asked for someone’s advice or opinion or what they thought, etc, then be prepared to hear what they have to say. You can’t expect people to tip-toe around your feelings if you are outwardly asking for their honest feedback. Not to mention, what good would it do anyone if people were not fully honest? How would we grow as people if we didn’t have someone who cared enough or was willing enough to be honest and bring a fresh perspective to things? Those are the kinds of people in our lives that we all need to work on appreciating more.

But secondly, use this as a learning experience to grow and also put yourselves in their shoes too. When you are on the receiving end of these hard-to-hear conversations, don’t take everything personally. Sure, it can feel personal, but the giver of the hard-to-hear advice or opinions may not be communicating what he or she means, very well. So while they have good intentions, it may be coming off a way that had not intended. This is because tough-love is called that for a reason – it’s tough to give. Often times, the person having these conversations with you or being honest with you is having a more difficult time telling you these things than you are listening to it. It’s important to listen to them, but also important to participate in these conversations to better understand their perspective, intent and advice.

And lastly, remember that these people care about you otherwise they wouldn’t be trying to help you – even if it may not seem like they are “helping”. They want you to be happy and do whatever that means you need to do. So although the words may not come out in the best way sometimes (do they always?), they have your back and want to see you succeed in life. Never assume they meant to burn you with that comment, or that they don’t like you because they are criticizing you.  Many things can be mistakenly taken out of context, or misconstrued.Think of the people in your life who just tell you what they think you want to hear. Those people do not truly care about you and would not be there for you if/when you really needed it. The people who can say it like it is; those are the people to keep around.

Why Tough Love is so Important

Many of the things we are told by those who love us and know us best are exactly what we need to hear. Often times we are lying to ourselves and are unable to see a situation for how it really is, or solve a problem on our own with our bias lenses. Those who bring to us those criticisms or hard truths about ourselves aren’t usually way off base, if we really think about it. In reality, they are quite often pretty spot on, if we can admit that to ourselves. Without hearing these truths or having someone call us out on our BS, we would forever spiral on our own misery. These wonderful truths can be just the wake up call we need. They force us to take accountability for ourselves and our lives and by realizing that we are accountable, we can realize that we are in control. And when we can realize we are in control, we have the power to make changes!

Recall a few recent conversations in which you received a little tough love from someone else. Did you open your heart and mind and really listen to what your friend had to offer? Were you accepting of their advice or their words, even if you disagreed with some points? Did you have a good, open dialect with them or did you quickly and instinctively become defensive and closed-off, changing the subject or ending the conversation abruptly? The next time you see or catch up with these people or person, give them a hug and thank them. Let them know how truly you value them and how you know they mean well in their intentions. Thank them for always listening to you, even when it’s tough, and for giving you the honest advice and tough-love that you need to hear. Then, don’t stop there – do them and mostly yourself a favor and take accountability for your situations and take action my friend!

Good Relationships Make The World A Better Place

In reading this month’s copy of Happinez magazine, I stumbled across an eye-opener of an article about Relationships. It was a series of interview questions from a world-class relationship therapist, based in New York, who has written two groundbreaking books on modern love. Her name is Esther Perel.

Esther gave such a fresh perspective on today’s relationships and modern views on love, and has clearly lived a life of purpose teaching these perspectives to couples to help change the dialogue of love. She speaks of how love and the expectations or rules that may have existed in love just a decade ago, no longer exist or apply today because “the role of love in our lives has changed so fast”.  Ester goes on to stress the importance of communicating about love and working with your partner to identify how you want to be together. In today’s day, those conversations aren’t likely to happen. Most relationships lack communicating about what their love will look like and feel like to them. Most couples assume the rules that society has applied to couples of years’ past.

Ester is dedicated to helping remove the pre-established rules of love and helping couples build their own views and rules (which will change throughout the course of a relationship – and should!). This view may work for couples today, but because the world is changing – and fast – these conversations must continue to happen.

When things happen in relationships, especially with happy-couples, such as infidelity, Ester is energized to help couples understand why this occurs and then helps them decide how to move forward. “In order to answer that question”, she says, “you have to move past the whole mentality of victim and perpetrator and look at the context of the affair. Often, when someone new catches your eye, its not because you want to leave your partner, but because you want to leave the person you’ve become.”  She is most interested in affairs within good relationships because she believes that “Rather than the quality of the relationship or the wish to leave your partner, an affair sometimes reflects the desire for a missing piece of yourself.” She goes on to say, “It isn’t to meet another because there is no greater other than a newer version of yourself.”

The happening of an affair is not the end of a relationship. In our lifetimes, most of us will have several marriages, or long-term relationships, and some of those could be with the same person. Ester does believe, however, that the happening of an affair is in fact, the end of a marriage. But, she then asks her couples if they want to begin a new marriage with one another. By asking her couples this question, she says they have a sense of dignity, as though they can come out better or stronger, and not be defeated or feel powerless. Her goal is to help couples feel energized by their relationships, to feel in control of them and to determine the outcome and course, themselves, without any external pressures or societal expectations.

This all ties in so expertly well of the model offered by capitalism consumerism today, which is ‘Not enough’. This model applies to every area of our lives, and Ester is helping her couples have more control in the Relationship area of their lives. What I found most insightful in this article and Ester’s views, was her ability to shed light on the fact that while infidelity is wrong, by your own definition of both infidelity and wrongness, it shows these deeper layers of people and what they be missing from themselves or within themselves – which is exactly the model we are living in.

What this all meant to me, was that her work is to have people feel as though they are enough and to establish communication with the people they are in relationships with in their lives about their views and needs. She helps people grow, to understand themselves, and to have healthy, happy relationships – not only with others, but with themselves as well.

Spread the love and remember that we are all good enough. Pay attention to what you do on a daily basis; what actions are you taking that may be an indicator of you thinking you may not be enough in your relationship? What conversations do you think you need to have with your partner? Write these things down and then take action on them. Make the conversation happen and open up opportunities of happiness and love into your life!

Photo by Anastasiya Lobanovskaya from Pexels

Do You Have to be Friends with Your Coworkers?

It can be difficult to know how to navigate workplace relationships. We all put too much emphasis on the need to be friends with our coworkers, but it’s not for everyone. Some psychologists would actually argue against having true friends in the workplace, aside from maybe a few people whom you would likely be friends with outside of work if you didn’t work there. Why is this? 

Having friends at work can have many downsides, the biggest one being a significant decrease in productivity.

One of the top sources of distractions in the workplace is from having coworkers in close proximity. Layer in being friends with these coworkers and that can be disastrous to your work efficiency and productivity.  Close friends will want to catch up on personal and work gossip and that tends to take priority over deadlines or getting work done. This can be especially difficult in an open workplace environment where you share work space.

In order to make progress in the workplace, there is a need to have disagreements. It’s important that coworkers bring different viewpoints to the table and are able to have a healthy dialogue of opinions and innovative solutions. When there are nothing but close friends having this conversation it’s likely that everyone shares a similar mindset, which kills creativity. And when there happens to be a difference of opinions, people will without a doubt take work disagreements personally and then likely gossip about it later. Moreover, friends are not able to confront issues head on, because they are afraid of offending the other person or upsetting them. This all spells workplace disaster.

So, if you’re wondering if you have to be friends with your coworkers, the answer is No. Sure, there is a need to be accountable, communicate effectively, and be sincere, but it never has to cross the line into a true friendship. In fact, by being these things, but no true friends, you are able to separate your personal life from your professional life. This way small things like someone’s coldness or attitude can be ignored or looked past, but tangible work problems like not getting a task done or not answering an email, cannot.

There is a need to be accountable, communicate effectively, and be sincere, but it never has to cross the line into a true friendship.

Being emotionally removed from your coworkers makes it that much easier for you to put your best career interests first. If there is a tangible work problem that is affecting your work, you’re able to take action to resolve that without being too emotionally invested in the situation or feeling uncomfortable. It allows you to see the workplace exactly what it is meant to be, which is a workplace. And if and when you want to move on to new exciting opportunities, you won’t have to consider how your friends will feel if you leave. There will be no internal workplace influences over your decision making.

It’s also really nice to leave work at work and leave home at home. In many close friendships that are formed at work, chatting about work outside of work and chatting about personal life at work, is inevitable. There is typically no clear set of boundaries when you both share the common ground of work, so those conversations always creep up in your time away from work. This can make you feel as though you never truly get a break from work.

Not having close friends at work also allows you to form healthy professional relationships. Have you ever been in a situation where you may be senior to your coworkers, but because you have close friendships with them, they likely don’t see you or treat you as a senior? The days are filled with them making jokes, gossiping about workplace issues, or trying to just socialize or plan for outside of work events with you – which would otherwise be unacceptable workplace behavior with someone who is their senior. It would then be hard for you to keep that line of professionalism and authority with the team because they know too much about you personally, or because they feel you are one of them.

Coworkers may mean well when they try and pull you into the latest gossip or ask probing questions about your life, but it may not be appropriate or welcomed. Think about if workplace friendships are right for you and if you decide they are not, there are ways you can keep your relationships friendly and professional, without needing to be invested into a true friendship. And even if right now you are a little more close to your coworkers than you’d like, you can change it without coming across as rude or anti-social. By working to set some healthy boundaries for your workplace relationships, you can free your time and your mind to do what you’re there to do, which is work. 

Instead of Looking to Others, Look to Yourself

The relationship you have with yourself sets the tone for the relationship you have with others.

Ever realize that so often you look externally for specific characteristics and qualities in others – whether it’s in a close friend, a spouse, a partner, a relative, or even a coworker – instead of being those things for yourself? We’re looking for specific things that we don’t possess or rather, that we want others to possess for us. Instead of finding the right person or friend, you can be that person to yourself. This is one of the biggest gifts you could possibly give to yourself.

Just like you would do these with or for a friend or partner, add the following things into your daily life to create and maintain a healthy relationship with yourself.

Treat Yourself to Some ‘Me’ Time

You don’t need to fill your time up with social events. It might seem scary or difficult at first, but work to spend some quality time alone – staying in or even going out. It doesn’t have to be extravagant with a solo vacation or an expensive shopping splurge. Just pencil in some time to do those activities that you keep thinking about but always pass off. Those things that you keep meaning to do or starting up again, but continually sacrifice. Having dedicated time regularly to yourself to do whatever it is that brings you joy is crucial to having a solid relationship with yourself. It allows you to explore your passions and interests and to invest in yourself, which in turn creates more happiness and satisfaction in your life. And bonus, if you go out alone and make that a regular habit, that really kicks butt in empowering your independent spirit. Warning: you might really like it.

Check-In Every Once and A While

If you’re finding yourself wondering who am I and what am I doing with my life or something similar, chances are you’re not asking yourself frequently enough. This is a sign that you’re a little out of touch with your self. Take some time to sit in a peaceful area where you’re most comfortable and check in with yourself from what thoughts are surfacing on your mind lately to how your body has been physically feeling. Ask yourself questions that you would ask to a friend whom you’re catching up with.

Truly Listen to Your Self and Take Your Own Advice

When you are consoling a friend in despair, it’s likely that you don’t interrupt with criticism or negative talk, so don’t do it to yourself. When you’re having a rough go, don’t let your inner bully try and dismiss your feelings or make you feel unworthy of feeling upset. We can be ultra hard on ourselves, never allowing ourselves to fully feel and process our feelings and emotions, making it difficult to move on from whatever it was that caused them to begin with.

Listening is only part of it though, you have to then carry out that conversation and give sound feedback and advice to yourself, but then also listen to that advice – without judging it, without shooting it down. Give yourself time to think through how you would help a relative in this situation or how you would help your best friend. You can be this friend to yourself, and in fact, it’s important that you do so. Being able to guide yourself through difficult times gives you the strength and abilities to be mentally present to help and guide others through theirs. Otherwise you’ll relate whatever your friend is going through to something you are personally experiencing and haven’t figured out yet – and that won’t be very helpful at all.

Evaluate What You Seek In Others and Why

Self-reflection is a major component into having a good relationship with yourself. This goes a little deeper than the am I happy with where I am questions and dives further into the why am I seeking xxx in others, what is it that I am truly missing or not experiencing that will allow me to feel fuller and more satisfied in my life? These can be terrifying questions for some that may not regularly work through these with themselves, but it’s really no different than doing this exercise for someone else. If it helps, write in a journal or even on a sheet of paper that you then throw out (hey, it doesn’t matter if you keep it, just that you do it).

Be Self-Serving, Not Self-Consumed

Essentially this means that we need to not spend so much time looking for ways that other people can serve us or help us, but rather, turn our energies onto helping ourselves and then helping others. So many people are losing what it means to have deep and valuable relationships because people are looking to others for the wrong things. Instead of seeking out relationships that we want to be a part of and nurture with support and compassion, most people look to find relationships that will serve them or benefit themselves individually. Ever notice how most relationships, although sad, tend to sway in the favor of one individual? Or at the very least, it’s very rare that both people in the relationship are elevated in equal amounts at the same time. You have the power to change this in your relationships by focusing your energy into being the person you need, for yourself. And then being that person for others, too. This is the more rewarding path.

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