What would please you
We spend lots of time trying to make others happy or preventing their unhappiness. This requires one to: chose to stop doing what is unnecessary and do something constructive by living on your own terms in the present. This may involve stopping what we “should” do and making a choice on our own behalf.
Use Your Judgment
In this context, your new choice is to use your judgment to override your defensive attitudes. Reality requires you to know what you are thinking and trust your own judgment. You can use your adult judgment to determine which words make sense and which are used to be hurtful. Any solution using your judgment will be good enough to get the job done.
You can get your independence back by reminding yourself that you have the power of choice. Specifically, you have power and control over what comes out of your mouth. You can catch yourself about to live on others’ terms and choose to shift your mental gears. Catch yourself about to explain, defend, debate, cajole, counter-attack or submit, and choose not to do it. You are choosing not to operate out of your old carryover attitudes from the playground. You do not react, but you are choosing to respond. That includes choosing to say nothing while he vents. You can stay in the present and exercise your power of choice constructively, using your adult judgment, which your adversary does not have. Nodding your head during the tirade is a sign that you are hearing what he said, not that you agree with it.
Regain Your Self-Respect
His criticisms of your skills are not to be taken as a reflection on your worth. But it’s hard to avoid going down the path of doubt and self-criticism. You can’t help yourself in a way. You can regain your self-respect by reminding yourself that others’ comments are merely a child’s temper tantrum; they don’t help the situation for him or for you. Even if they are true, they are only imperfections. They are regrettable, and you wish you didn’t have them. You wish you had seen this coming in advance, but you did not. You are a worthwhile human being in spite of these human imperfections. This part of the process is not between you and him, it is between you and you.
You are choosing to liberate yourself from the tyranny of your old attitudes, such as, “I don’t want to be displeasing” or, “I have to take a stand or he’ll think I’m a wimp.” Instead, you are making a third choice. You are freeing yourself to act responsibly and effectively on your own terms in this crisis. You don’t have to say a word. You are able to use this turmoil as an opportunity to replace your own self-doubt with mature, effective self-respect: the feeling that you are a “worthwhile human being in spite of your faults and imperfections.” That is reality. We don’t always feel that way. We need to feel it more often. You can use this crisis to grow on, to declare your mature independence as a person in your own right, not against him, but for you. He doesn’t have to know what is going on in your head. It’s none of his business.
Confident woman image available from Shutterstock.