Don’t’ hurt Johnny’s feelings! How many times did we hear that as kids or tell that to our own children? We were all taught at an early age not to “hurt each other’s feelings” But the truth is that once you fully understand that our own thoughts create our own feelings then it becomes true for everyone else as well. We never really had the power to hurt anyone else’s feelings. That was a lie. Let me explain…
I love the concept of the” emotional ecosystem.” I learned this from my mentors, and mainly from Master Coach and instructor, Kara Lowentheil.
The idea is that we all have our brains, our own thoughts, and our own emotions. This makes up our emotional ecosystem. We can’t think or feel for anyone else but ourselves. This logically seems true but the moment we interact or have a relationship with others, we enter this fantasy that we can control what the other person thinks or feels, The truth is that we can’t. They have their ecosystem and you have yours. Once I understood this, it became very freeing. With clients, I am a guide who helps them grow into their own ecosystem and learn to release any fantasies that they have that they can fully control other people’s thoughts and feelings. I can’t express enough how freeing it is to just let other people be responsible for their own ecosystem while I take responsibility for mine and you for yours.
I think this has a lot to do with our concept of “confidence”. I noticed that once people understand this concept, it grows into this sense of really knowing themselves. They grow into a comfort within themselves which feels like “confidence”. After all, confidence is really about is loving yourself enough to not care what others think.
I will give you some very personal examples only because you can probably relate to this. Before I learned this thought work I was a perpetual “people pleaser”. I used to say “sorry” all the time, be super polite, hold back on my opinion at times so as not to upset people. I saw my daughter picking up the same habits. I was “nice”. Now I see how damaging this was. It was like we were not trying to take up too much space in the world so that we could make room for others. But it is also sort of manipulative. By acting a certain way I was trying my best to “make people like me” This was a ridiculous idea and pursuit. I never had the power to “make” anyone like me. That was completely up to them. Either you like me or you don’t, that is up to you. I wanted to control other people’s opinions of me, but looking at it now, I never have any control if they liked me or not. And honestly, people who have love and comfort within themselves and not trying to “please” all the time are much more likable anyway. Once I took ownership of my “ecosystem” then I have the power to create the person I want to be. This is available to anyone. If you have a brain then it is completely in your power to train it and create the person you want to be.
I love observing my kids. I have teenage twin sons and their friends bust on each other all the time. Like, they really call each other insulting things and find it hilarious. It is so interesting that one of my sons finds this joking back and forth entertaining and the other one would rather not engage in the roasting and bantering. This difference in the boys is just the thoughts in their heads about it. One finds it funny and knows that their roasting is not really about him and takes it lightly. The other one must believe at some level that what they are saying has some truth and that thought bothers him. They are dealing with it in different ways, which is fine. They each have their own ecosystem. One is using it to laugh and joke back. The other is learning that he does not want to be around that type of friendship and is seeking friend different relationships elsewhere. One approach is not better than the other. They are just learning, taking ownership and adjusting.
So what is your ecosystem like? This is the best part of life coaching with clients as we get to explore this and better yet, you get to intentionally decide what you keep and what you let go in your ecosystem. Is your ecosystem loving, embrace beauty, foster joy? Those are options that are already available to you.