Recently, a woman in my community has decided she doesn’t like me, or is mad at me, or would like me to disappear. I’m not sure which because she never explained to me why her behavior toward me suddenly changed. It is obvious she treats me different than others and barely says hello or goodbye when I greet her. I have ideas as to why, but no definite answer. And what I’m guessing is causing her negative attitude toward me is something I have no control over. Because of this, I haven’t really made any attempts to address the situation.
The truth is, I don’t really care if she likes me or not. Luckily, I’ve never been one to seek other peoples’ approval, and I do not feel a need for them to like me. What DOES bother me is the negative behavior. It sets me off, throws me off center, disturbs my mojo. I like things in harmony. Harmony means everyone is pleasant and civilized to each other. Any discord rocks me to the core.
So, I knew deep inside this was a lesson. This woman was actually giving me a gift. A situation to learn how to not let other people’s behavior affect me. How to stay grounded in my truth.
This is much, much harder than it sounds. To stand my ground at first feels like conflict, and I don’t like conflict (which is another reason I haven’t addressed the situation. *sigh*)
At first I tried killing her with kindness, as the saying goes. Unfortunately, that kindness turned into sarcasm when she didn’t respond. As she is walking away (after ignoring me while talking to others) I say, “Have a nice day, Jane!” and as she continues to walk through the door without even a twitch of response. As the door is slowly closing behind her, I say more loudly, “It was good to see you again! I hope you have a fantastic day!” Obviously, this behavior was juvenile and I stopped the (failing) tactic of killing with kindness approach.
Then I tried ignoring her completely, which is probably what she wanted. But I wasn’t comfortable. It’s weird to be in a crowd of people feeling the energy of negativity and avoidance directed toward you from someone. They act like you aren’t there…but you are very, very present.
One day, I was having a conversation with a small group of people and the woman was interested in this conversation. So she joined in. I was so excited. I thought, “This is it! This is my chance to engage in conversation with her, looking eye to eye, talking like human beings.” And so it happened. Not a lot, but we did engage each other briefly in conversation. I was so happy. My whole energy changed. I was able to see her as a person again, not, “the person who hates me and avoids me like the plague.”
When she left for the day, I genuinely said goodbye to her. Her behavior was the same, but for some reason I didn’t care. And then it hit me.
I was letting her affect my behavior in response to hers. And in return, I was trying to make my behavior affect hers. I know this is a “Duh!” moment for others, but to actually FEEL it in my body, feel having my power back was the “ah-Ha!” moment I needed.
You see, I am a kind person. I am a happy person. I enjoy being pleasant and personable with others. And I let her take that away from me.
Anthony Hopkins said, “My philosophy is: It’s none of my business what people say of me and think of me. I am what I am and I do what I do. I expect nothing and accept everything. And it makes life so much easier.”
That was my lesson. I am what I am. I have my truth about myself. And that is all that matters.