Occasionally, I get what seems like an inordinate amount of pushback from a lot of people all at once. My adult sons and daughter, who respond to my advice with sarcasm and rolled eyes. My wife, who expresses her opinions about what I’m not doing right without hesitation. Extended family members, friends, and colleagues—everyone likes to give their two cents. At times, other people’s opinions seem to be everywhere I turn, as if I’m in a torrential downpour, and all I’m doing is getting soaked.
When this happens—as much as I try—it’s hard for me to stop being so sensitive to what others say. I’ve tried extra meditation, in an attempt to get my mind clear of negative thoughts, and I’ve tried to pinpoint exactly what my sensitivities are. But I couldn’t get to the bottom of it.
Until I realized that if so many people are “coming after me,” maybe there’s something wrong with me. Maybe I haven’t gotten enough sleep and I’m cranky. Maybe I’m being overly sensitive. Or maybe…who knows! But I can simply be in a mood and, when that happens, I have to try to keep my wits about me when I think someone is coming after me. I can do this by making sure I don’t get into arguments and continuing to keep psychological distance from my loved ones. I can also use a mantra like “don’t make things worse.” Or I can simply try to be aware of my mood and try to keep stimulation to a minimum and not push myself too much or take on too much. Heck, I might even call in sick or take a half-day off.
Every day isn’t perfect, but my experience tells me if I continue to do my “work,” maybe, just maybe, I’ll stop thinking it’s you and realize it’s me.