Sounds so easy, doesn’t it? Someone belittles you, tells you that you can’t do something or that you won’t succeed…just kick ’em to the curb. Be done with them!
Yeah, well. Sometimes it’s not that easy.
Sometimes the person who does that to you is someone that is fully involved in your life. Someone that you can’t just leave. Maybe it’s a member of your family. Maybe it’s a boss at a job that you desperately need. Maybe it’s an ex-spouse who is the mother/father of your children and has to remain in your life. Maybe it’s an abusive relationship that you’re not able to get out of just yet for reasons only you know.
And oftentimes, because those are the people that may be around us the most, we think they are the people who know us best. And we put a lot of weight into what they have to say. As Kelly Clarkson puts it in her Mr. Know It All song lyrics:
“When somebody tells you something ’bout you
They think that they know you more than you do
So you take it down, another pill to swallow…”
Well, guess what?
That’s it. Plain and simple. They are wrong. No need to ‘swallow that pill.’ Because they are human just like you and I are. And being human, that means that they are apt to being mistaken. (Pretty often actually.) And those times that they are belittling you and telling you what you can and can’t do? Those are those times.
They don’t know you better than you do. No one does. You know your heart. You know what’s in there – what you feel and don’t feel. Who are you and aren’t, what you can and can’t do. You know the you that no one else sees. The one that you might keep hidden for fear of not being accepted by the people in your life who are impossible to please. But you know it. It’s there. You may keep it hidden well (I’m sure you’ve had years and years of practice), but it’s still there. No matter how much you allow their words to pile up and form a barrier to hide it behind, the true ‘you’ is still there. It won’t be defeated. The still small part of you that still loves yourself keeps it under lock and key where no one can touch it. And you know that. Don’t you?
I have recently crossed paths with an abused woman. It has weighed very heavily on my mind. I’m haunted by the way her eyes look. So dead, so full of regret and sadness. And I’m so very very sorry for her. It’s so easy for people to tell her to leave – to tell her to get out of that situation. But I don’t know her life. No one does. Only she does. I hope that one day she finds her way out. In fact, I’m somewhat consumed with hoping for that. It amazes me that humans can be so cruel to one another. But in the meantime, until she finds her way, I wish I could tell her this. I wish I could tell her that I know it’s not easy. That you can read Mark Twain quotes until you’re blue in the face, but they aren’t going to pave the path out the door. They just aren’t. Things just aren’t as easy as they appear from the outside looking in.
But there is something that she can do. Something that you can do if you’re seeing yourself in what I’m saying. You can alter that Mark Twain quote a little. I don’t think he’d mind. Rather than saying to “keep away” from those people, why don’t we say to “keep YOUR HEART away” from them. Don’t let what they’re saying penetrate your heart.
As I said, you can’t always keep away from those people. Life just doesn’t always allow for an easy out. Sometimes it’s next to impossible. So do your best to keep that guard on your heart and don’t let those negative words through. You are your own best friend, ya know. If you’re not there for you, no one else is going to be. Stick up for yourself. Even if it’s just that small little voice inside, let yourself hear it. Don’t shut it up. Don’t let them win. Listen to what it’s saying. Do you hear that? Do you hear what it’s trying to tell them?
“You’re wrong. You’re wrong. You’re wrong.”
Keep listening. Practice hearing it over and over and over again. Eventually that voice will get louder and louder if you let it. And before you know it, it will sound almost just as loud as the negative voices coming from the outside. And then finally, when you’ve practiced enough and you’re fully ready, you’ll see that something amazing has happened.
That voice will be so loud that it drowns out the others.
It can happen. You just have to let it.
“It is the still small voice that the soul heeds,
Not the deafening blasts of doom.”
– William Dean Howells