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Yesterday I came across this quote:
“Remove expectations from people and you’ll remove their power to hurt your feelings.” ~ Vex King
These words hit the nail on the head. When I examined my relationships, I discovered that way too many times, I give people the power to hurt me. I’ve always had high expectations of others, and more often than not, they don’t meet these expectations.
Not because they intend to hurt me or they’re bad people. Simply and openly, the way someone handles a particular situation might be different than how I expect it to be. We all have different emotions, attitudes, and upbringing. So expecting a certain outcome is almost always a flop.
Looking deeper into how our own expectations can sometimes hurt us, I realized that there are several ways we might be setting ourselves up for disappointment.
Don’t get me wrong. Feeling hurt is real, and we are absolutely entitled and allowed to feel our pain and sit with it. (We are also entitled to hold people accountable when they cross a line.) But figuring out the ways we give away our power, we can validate our emotions, learn from the hurt, and understand how to perform in the future.
Here’s how we might be giving away our power:
1. Not setting boundaries. We are at the mercy of people when we lack healthy boundaries. When we set boundaries and learn how and when to say “no,” we stop allowing people to do things to us that are hurtful. Drawing the line between what’s acceptable and not acceptable directly tells people what they can expect from us and how to behave around us.
2. Not listening to our intuition. We all have an inner understanding of what’s happening, but we rarely tap into that silent part of us. Oftentimes, we ignore our gut feeling and sink deeper into unhealthy situations or relationships. If you feel something is off, don’t take the easier option and disregard how you feel about the situation or the person. Trust your intuition if you want to save yourself heartache.
3. Worrying about what others think. It took me a long time to realize that I can’t please everyone. Being a people pleaser and constantly seeking validation from people is generally disheartening. By seeking outside approval, we give others the power to awfully hurt us. We need to understand that no one truly knows who we are. What people think of us is their own opinion, and it shouldn’t define how we feel about ourselves. Bottom line: never value people’s opinions above your own.
4. Staying in victim mode. When we play the victim, we directly give people the power to manipulate us and belittle us. Even if it’s difficult, we need to learn how to stand up for ourselves and tell our stories in a way that feels empowering and brave. If we need validation or attention, we must clearly communicate it without going into victim mode.
5. Holding grudges. When we hold a grudge against someone, we think they can’t hurt us again. Our negative and revolting feelings become our shield against further hurt. Wrong. Holding grudges only hurts us. To take our power back from that person or situation, we must learn to forgive and move on.
Ask yourself: how am I giving others the power to hurt me? What can I do to claim my power?