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Choosing Our Own Side

I think when we have been harmed, injured, or are having a tough time with a situation, we try to seek validation from others. We want to tell people our side of the story. Some of us may do this endlessly because we don’t know how to self-validate. We just want to keep telling the story of how we were wronged and sit in the problem of it. We do this because we want to be seen and heard and we want to know that this other person understands us. The flip side of that is, if they don’t understand or agree with us, our self-esteem takes a hit.

It can be a wonderful reflection of emotional maturity to recognize that we don’t need people to be on our side for something to be true for us. It’s ok if people disagree with our decision to end a relationship with someone, or not show up to a social function, or say no to something they’re offering us.

Sometimes the explanations and the conversations we’re having with people are intended to get them to think like us. We believe that if we can get them to agree with us we’ll feel better about the choice we made. We have to sit with the fact that some of the decisions we make in life are just going to be uncomfortable, and may not be understood by the people around us.

If we don’t go on a family cruise because we’re trying to save money, and we try to explain that to our family members, they may still feel like we should have taken the trip with them. They may take a different approach to their finances. That doesn’t mean not going on the trip wasn’t the right decision for us.

If people are talking about us behind our back, it’s easy to understand why we would want to tell everyone the truth, but we have to remember:

  • People have a choice whether to believe what they’re hearing or not. They have the ability to evaluate what they’re being told for themselves.
  • When people who know us well hear something that isn’t true, we have to trust that they will be able to discern that.
  • We can’t clear our name or convince everyone. Sometimes people just want to believe something about us, or they don’t want to be wrong about us.
  • We will not always be able to get people to see us as we are.

People can have their experience of you, and you don’t have to agree with it. We have to learn to make our peace with that.

Journal Prompt
How does it make you feel when people believe something about you that isn’t true? How do you manage those feelings?

Reposted with permission from nedratawwab.substack.com.


Mastering boundaries for a balanced life & harmonious relationships.