I noticed something about myself recently that I didn’t like. So much of what I do revolves around other people – in fact, moving forward, I’ve pretty much devoted my life to helping other people do their lives better. I want to see you succeed, I want to see you grow – I want to see you become the absolute best version of yourself that you can possibly be.
I guess, because of that – it matters to me what you think. I want to know: “Was this helpful for you?” or “Did that make a difference?” At the end of the day, you’re the one that decides if I’m succeeding or not – in that part of my life at least. You’re the one that tells me if I’m doing a good job by how you respond to various content, so I’m constantly evaluating; “How was that received?” or “How popular was that?”
And yet, while it’s important to measure things (you can’t improve what you don’t measure) – at the same time I noticed something about myself that I didn’t like.
I noticed that the way you reacted to certain things, had a noticeable impact on how I felt about myself and life in general.
I noticed that when I got an e-mail telling me you bought a ticket to one of my classes – I felt good, in fact – I might feel good all day!
But I also noticed that if a day or two went by with no-one buying a ticket (and let’s be honest – that happens far more often) – I felt bad, in fact – I might feel bad all day.
I noticed that if you subscribed to my blog, it made me happy; but if you cancelled your subscription, it made me sad.
Let me tell you something; riding an emotional rollercoaster that you’re not in control of is a bad idea! I looked at that rollercoaster and I thought: “I can’t ride this rollercoaster every day for the rest of my life. It’ll kill me!”
So I got off.
I decided that I wasn’t going to abdicate the responsibility for how I felt to anyone else – because, the truth is that I’m in charge of how I feel, not you. And the truth is that you’re responsible for how you feel – not anyone else.
It’s still very much a work in progress – but I am making progress I think.
I also think that perhaps I’m not the only one that struggles with this? That all of us to a certain extent feel good when good things happen and bad when bad things happen; that all of us have opinions of ourselves that are based far too much on what other people think of us.
I think all of us, if we’re honest, would admit that more often than not what happens on the outside dictates how we feel on the inside. Perhaps you’ve never thought about it before, but I’d encourage you to do two things:
First – next time you’re feeling happy, sad, angry – whatever; stop and ask yourself “Why do I feel the way I feel?”
Second – if the answer to your question is external; maybe something someone said or did, or something that happened to you, in other words – you feel the way you feel because of the actions of someone else – ask yourself one more question: “Do I want to ride this rollercoaster for the rest of my life?”