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Secret Ingredients

People can be like that too.

I’m not referring to the obvious issues that would inspire anyone to walk away from the kitchen altogether or at the very least, get some outside help. Family and friends who talk with their fists, who abuse drugs or alcohol, who lie and cheat and steal things … well, we know, hopefully what to do with them. We put these human Twinkies on a shelf in the very back of our lives and hope they change their nutritional composition over time or through 12 step meetings.

I’m talking about the other people in your life — the ones who may have a “secret ingredient,” a way of communicating with you that instead of lifting you up, keeps you feeling down or sad or angry when you interact. The solution to living with these folks isn’t necessarily to avoid them, but rather to become aware of what’s going “into the mix.”

For example, do you have anyone in your life who tells you that you don’t have a right to feel what you’re feeling? These people typically say things like “Stop being so sensitive!” or “I didn’t mean to be critical; it’s your fault for taking it that way!”  No matter what you do, it always seems to be your fault for feeling bad, your fault for “mishearing” or “misunderstanding” what otherwise feels hurtful or overly critical.

Stop right now, and look at their recipe. The truth is, like everyone, you are entitled to have feelings about everything and anything. Something that hurts you and makes you cry might make someone else laugh and sing and neither of you would be wrong. Your feelings are part of what makes you special. They are never mistakes. You are never stupid for feeling something. The heart, no matter how hard we might try to convince it to do otherwise, does not lie.

Now, is it possible one person can interact with another person…and a miscommunication can develop? Of course. Our intentions and their results are frequently different. If someone doesn’t mean to hurt your feelings, and they do anyway, it’s not necessarily their fault. But it’s not your fault either, for being hurt. It’s called a misunderstanding. At best, it’s a fifty/fifty problem. Not all them — but not all you, either. Beware of someone trying to make it so. You don’t need to apologize for having emotions. We are people, not cheese. We talk back.

Practice sharing your feelings, on a daily basis. Practice letting other people know when you’re sad or angry or scared…or even happy! It’s your personal baggage; you might as well show it off.

Become allergic to someone telling you not to feel, or that your feelings aren’t right or appropriate. Unless you’ve just escaped from a mental institution and are calling yourself Abraham Lincoln, they are appropriate. Because they’re yours. Honor them. And limit your consumption of anyone who says to do otherwise.


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