Consider these scenarios:
- When a student said “No” to the sexual advances of her teacher, the teacher responded, “You need to learn about spiritual surrender.”
- After a young woman told her ex-husband that she didn’t want him to come by the house, he yelled, “You’re just reacting out of fear, and fear is an illusion.”
- A man received an unexpected letter from an angry friend who pointed out all the mistakes the man made in raising his son, and blamed the man for the problems in his son’t life.
As you read these scenarios, it’s probably obvious that there’s a lot of manipulation going on here, But, in real life, when you’re in the heat of an argument or you need to confront an authority figure, the emotional charge of the situation can cloud your thinking. It can be difficult to see yourself clearly, when someone tries to convince you that they are RIGHT about you…when they claim to be right about everything you’re doing wrong.
Who is the authority on you? You are! As Wayne Dyer says, “What other people think of me is none of my business.”
But what if you get thrown off balance by other people’s judgment or criticism of you? You might feel especially vulnerable when dealing with someone in a position of authority. For example, if a spiritual leader, a teacher, parent, or someone you consider to be an expert has a negative opinion about you, you might be tempted to value their point of view more than your own. This can also happen with friends, your spouse or partner, or even an enemy. You might get “hooked” by how they feel about you and how they see you.
If you find yourself going into confusion or self-doubt, and you’re wondering if maybe the other person is
right about their negative perception of you, here are some red flags to watch out for:
Does the person…
- Use spiritual ideas to make you wrong, shame you, or put you down
- Analyze your actions and tell you exactly how messed up you are
- Tell you, directly or indirectly, that you don’t know what you’re talking about
- Say you shouldn’t be setting the boundaries you’re setting
- Deny your feelings
- Claim to know, better than you do, what is best for you
- Blame you for the pain they are feeling
All of the above are tactics for undermining your sense of your own integrity and inner authority. Don’t get hooked!
No one can tell you who you should be, what you should believe, or how you should be feeling.
*Please leave a comment and let me know how you keep yourself from getting sucked in to other people’s judgments about you.