So, no squats or kettlebell swings today; let's talk about making our mind stronger!
Not that kettlebell squats and swings don't help you to strengthen your mind. I actually really think they do. Working out can be tough, and especially after an extremely hard workout, or after achieving something you didn't know you were capable of, you've not only strengthened your body, but also mind.
I want to share a thought that has helped me mentally to get over some hurdles and difficulties in life. Here's the thought by Miguel Ruiz, the author of the book called The Four Agreements:
“Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.”
That's an important quote for anyone who tends to overthink relationships with other people, tends to have anxiety around people they don't know (and sometimes also around people they do know!), and who try to please everyone.
Believe me, I know it well. And if that's you too, keep reading!
It's in Their Own Mind, It's Their Own Reality
About three years ago, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. Getting into this situation was the combination of many things that I had let go too far. Eventually, I started seeing a therapist to get over my anxieties and depression and get my life back on track.
My therapist was a smart guy. After hearing my story and my fears and anxieties, he told me something interesting: My biggest problem that I needed to tackle first, was to get rid of the need of pleasing everyone.
I was the absolute best in trying to please everyone. According to my threapist, my greatest fear was not being liked by other people and becoming judged by them. Even by those people I didn't know anything about…
This is exactly why I think the quote – Don't take anything personally – is so important. Because of this: Nothing others do is because of you. What they say or do is a projection of their own reality.
In other words, we're not responsible for other people's thoughts or behaviors. It really isn't our business if they like us or not.
Our job is like ourselves. And that's something we have to get good at.
There's Always This One Person…
Every week, I meet this one person for work, with whom… let's say, we're not best friends with.
It seems that no matter what I do, he's never happy with it. No matter how well I have prepared my work, it's not enough. Sometimes this person expresses his frustration very clearly just to me, other times lets other people know that he think I didn't do my work well.
At first, I was okay with it. I listened to this person's opinion, and tried to take it into account, because I appreciate helpful feedback. I didn't take it personally. I think that people are generally good and he just told me his opinion so I can do my work better.
The next time we worked together, he was really grumpy. He wasn't happy with my work, and he loudly let also everyone else know about it. This time, I let it affect me. It made me really sad, helpless and even guilty.
I was upset because despite really planning and explaining my work as best as well as I could, he was still so rude to me.
I thought about it several times during the rest of the day, those thoughts just didn't leave me alone.
When I said it out loud to my husband – Why does he always complain, no matter how hard I try? – I realized that I'm letting this person's perception, his own reality, affect me.
I had to change my perception, stop being a victim and keep doing my work as well as I could.
Always Do Your Best
Always do your best is actually another quote from the same book. When we know that we've done the best we can, it confirms us even more that there's no reason to let anyone else's bad mood, grumpiness or rudeness to affect us. There just is no real reason to let that happen.
The quote from the book goes on like this: “Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.”
How awesome is this?
We can avoid judgement, self-abuse and regret, all the other negative feelings that stop us from keeping moving forward with our lives and working toward our goals, if we always do the best possible thing in every situation.
After my little meltdown about this person's behavior, I was able to get my confidence back, once I had confirmed myself that I had done my best, and the way he reacted was the reflection of what's going on in his own world.
It had nothing to do with me.
It Doesn't Mean We Shouldn't Care
Not taking things personally doesn't mean that we have to be cold-hearted, unkind, ignorant people who don't care about other people's opinions or feelings. We have to care, listen to and help others around us.
But not taking things personally is important to protect ourselves from negativity that people may throw at us, maybe without even realizing that they're doing it. A lot of times, people have no idea how much randomly said words can hurt.
But the more we think about those negative words or rudeness we receive from other people, the more we let them affect us. In the worst case, we actually start believing those things.
We should still care about others, but at the same time, protect ourselves from letting them potentially poison our lives. One grumpy person who is constantly in a bad mood, doesn't deserve your mental energy and mental space. He's not worth it!
If you always do your best, no one has the right to be mean to you. Unfortunately, that doesn't always help; people can still be very rude! All that matters is how we look at it and how we let it affect our mind. That's what makes the difference.
Let's listen to critisism, learn from it, do our best in every situation, but let's not take people's rudeness personally. It's their own reality, not ours.
Stay strong, and know what you're worth!