A friend of mine was very upset this week because of an incident that happened at school. Her son had been playing with a little girl on the wet playing fields and both children’s coats had got a bit muddy. My friend wasn’t surprised by this, her son is 7 and muddy clothes come home on a daily basis. She says “It’s par for the course with boys.” However, the mother of the little girl was very cross about her coat being dirty because she had only recently washed it. She told her daughter that my friend should wash the coat, or her son should be made to do it!
The little girl clearly took her mum’s words literally, and whether they were meant to be relayed or not, they got back to the little boy and subsequently his mum, my friend. The next day my friend bumped into the little girl’s mum at school and took the opportunity to mention the incident and apologise. Realising how cross she still was, she offered to take the coat home and wash the coat. She was then shouted at in the playground and pretty much accused of having a bully for a son.
In case you’re wondering at this point, the little boy absolutely isn’t a bully. The children are friends, both are lovely characters and play very happily together. There was obviously more going on for the other mum at that moment than a mucky coat.
I happened to see my friend at school immediately after this ticking off had happened. Quite understandably she was shocked and tearful. It got me thinking back to a time when I experienced something similar.
A couple of years ago, I was away on holiday with a close girlfriend and our children. It wasn’t the first time we’d holidayed together and we’d always had a great time. On about the third day, we were having a chat about what to do for the children’s supper, when something triggered my friend and she absolutely lost her temper. Completely unexpectedly, she started screaming and shouting at me in front of the children who were completely distraught. The scene was horrible: her children were shouting at her to stop and my daughter was crying and fearfully clinging to me. Not a pleasant situation in any way.
For some reason I stayed quite calm; it may have been shock or perhaps my motherly instinct kicked in, but I didn’t feel the need to retaliate. I tried to calm her down with words, but that was pretty futile, so I told her that I’d take my daughter out for tea and we would talk later when we’d both had some time and space to calm down. I walked out the door of the holiday home to a barrage of abuse and the words “If you walk away now, we’ll be gone when you get back and you’ll never see me again!”
Fifteen minutes later I texted her to reiterate that I’d only left so that we could all calm down and that I really hoped she would stay and talk when the children were in bed because our friendship meant the world to me. Unfortunately, she kept to her word and less than two hours later when we returned, she had gone. The next morning I received a message saying she never wanted to see me again. I was terribly sad and confused.
Initially I couldn’t work out what I’d done to attract that situation into my life. I adored this friend and I was hurt that she would throw away our friendship on what appeared to be a bit of a hormonal flux! I knew that was something you don’t do when you’re in a good place, so in one sense it would have been easy for me to push all the blame back onto her. But I also knew that we always create our reality, so somehow, I was responsible, not necessarily for my friend’s outburst, but for the verbal ‘attack’ that I had experienced. I forced myself to stay open to discovering how that could be.
As the subsequent months unfolded, I was able to look inside myself and see my part in what had caused a rising anger inside my friend over the days prior to that fateful evening. I came to understand why some of my words that week might have triggered her insecurities and I was able to own my insensitivity. You might think this process would be difficult when the other party isn’t there to ask questions of, but my friend had said enough during her rant for me to see her perspective of the truth and I used that information as my starting point.
What I believe had happened was, I’d been feeling frustrated because she was reverting to some old behaviour that I could see was causing her trouble and drama and I told her that. Even though I did this kindly, she hadn’t asked for my help and wasn’t ready to hear what I had to say.
Honestly, I had judged her, and she felt that. How she was behaving was none of my business. But that hadn’t stopped me trying to make it my business under the umbrella of ‘I’m trying to help you because I care about you’. When we try to fix people, even when our intentions are good, we give them the message that they aren’t acceptable as they are. Perhaps our message is even construed as they’re not strong enough or capable of fixing themselves.
I had to dig deep inside and be very honest with myself to uncover my next layer of learning. Basically, by advising my friend, I was actually trying to fulfil my own need to feel both needed and admired. In the past she had listened and adorned me with appreciation for my advice, but this time, when she hadn’t done that, my ego didn’t like it one bit. I felt insecure because subconsciously, it made me question what I had to offer.
This realisation didn’t come quickly. It unfolded over the course of a year through completely unrelated events and was revealed as part of something way bigger that was going on for me. (I’ll save that for another day).
I wasable to take one lesson from that horrible evening pretty much immediately. Learning always happens on different levels and this is a great example of that.
Any reasonable bystander to the incident would probably have concluded that my friend was completely out of order. She was aggressive, said cruel things and she frightened the children (and possibly the neighbours too!) The tantrum was disproportionate to the events that brought it on. Incidentally, this is great information in itself, as it’s what counsellors sometimes refer to as a ‘loaded response’. When very strong feelings come up for us in situations that, on the face of it, don’t warrant them, we can always know there’s something else going on deeper down inside.
My own temper has always been something I’ve struggled to control. In the past I’ve been very easy to wind up and the reactions I often feel and show, can be hugely out of proportion to an event. I’ve often behaved exactly like my friend did. For years I put that down to being a highly sensitive person who feels everything on a very deep level. I am also a very passionate person who expresses themselves in a somewhat colourful way! That runs in my family!
Ironically, it was the same friend who had the outburst that used to regularly console me after I lost my own temper with my partner. She would reassure me, saying “You can’t be half a passionate person. The passion is in all of you: the good side and the bad. When you ‘blow’ you’re going to really ‘blow’. Don’t beat yourself up about that.”
Those were wise words and she was absolutely right. We all possess characteristics that aren’t too pretty and there’s no point resisting the ones we don’t love. However, (and this is the huge realisation I came to that fateful evening)…
When we ‘throw our weight around’ either verbally or physically, we hurt other people and that is not okay. It’s also not necessary. It’s bad behaviour. If that sounds like stating the obvious to you, that’s great. Unfortunately, some everyday occurrences in life might have us believing differently – fights in TV soap operas; the news; aggressive drivers. How much of what we’re exposed to ‘normalises’ this behaviour for us and our children?
The energy we spout with hurtful words is completely negative. When we shout at someone, or otherwise treat them badly, we shower them with dark energy. It’s a bit like vomiting a cloud of painful emotion all over them. That’s our emotion; not theirs.
At some level, that’s going to hurt. Not just our target, but ourself too. Now while that might be our intention in the immediate moment, (that person may have hurt us very much), that’s just our ego driving. That behaviour isn’t coming from a place of love, resonant with our soul, the much larger part of us. It’s coming from our own hurts.
It is impossible for us to behave badly in the moment that we are in alignment with how our soul feels about us. We may be able to justify our response in our heads because of what the other person has done, but that’s irrelevant to the bigger picture; the vibrational perspective.
As adults, we all have the ability to learn to control ourselves if we want to. I couldn’t have made that statement a couple of years ago because I didn’t know for sure that it is possible for people to change their behaviour. I didn’t have my own experience of doing that sustainably then, but today, I do.
My family will tell you that I’m by no means perfect and I never will be. (Being perfect is impossible, so that would just be weird!) I still have to manage myself and sometimes I don’t do a great job of tempering those less attractive parts of me. But on the whole, I am proud to say that I am a very different person than I was a few years ago and that’s a result of practicing how I want to behave, not necessarily how I naturally behave. Living consciously means I get to choose my reactions every time.
We don’t change overnight, because all ‘bad’ behaviours stem from emotional pain. They exist for a reason, usually as a consequence of unmet needs or past hurts. For our behaviours to change, we must heal the emotional pain underlying them. And that means, first identifying those. That’s what ‘bad’ behaviour helps us do. It shows us where we need to heal.
Acknowledging that we have behaviours we don’t like can be hard; it’s a very brave thing to do. It’s contrary to our ego’s natural instinct to defend ourselves. But there’s really nothing to defend – we are humans and we all pick up hurts through our lives. It’s very likely that these will cause some ‘bad’ behaviours in us.
We all start off good and it’s incredible how the smallest of things can cause us long lasting emotional pain, particularly when they happen in our formative years. There’s certainly no need to feel any shame about how we behave, and it’s pointless being hard on ourselves. In fact that simply serves to make our behaviours worse.
Being accepting of ourselves is the first stage of discovering what we need to change in order to feel happy and to attract better experiences into our lives. Funnily enough, I’ve found the discovery work takes a lot more time than the healing itself – and that’s no reflection of the level of pain that sometimes unfolds! The healing is generally a lot easier than we think it will be when we know how to do it.
Since originally publishing this article, I have created a 12 week online membership programme of self-discovery. It’s called the Happiest You Programme, is designed to improve all aspects of life, and covers everything we need to feel truly fulfilled and prosper. That includes relationships that feel great, work we love that suits both our personality and lifestyle requirements and the best relationship with money we’ve ever experienced. Most importantly, a deep contentment with who we are and where we are in life. In the programme we uncover what success means to you, personally and exactly how you can achieve it.
There are modules on healing past hurts and resolving the emotional issues that present like I’ve written about here. Healing is necessary in order to have an incredible life. We can’t get away from that. How many of us are holding onto feelings of guilt, sadness, fear or anger deep down from what we’ve been through already? It’s a perfectly natural thing to do, but vibrationally it affects our future and prevents us from attracting the abundance that is our birthright.
I’ll show you how to master your mind, stop negative mental chatter and unblock old beliefs that may be stopping you from getting exactly where you want to in life. We even cover topics such as depression, eating disorders and personality adaptations like narcissism.
To be as happy as we’re designed to be, all aspects of our life must be in balance. The Happiest You Programme makes that easily attainable by taking you through a simple process. Often it’s not knowing what to do when, that keeps us from embracing change. If you like the idea of someone holding your hand through a journey of personal enlightenment, then this may be for you.
Much love and abundance to you.
Hi Kate! Very interested in hearing more about your program this summer! I reached out to you months ago and now am coaching myself. I have always felt like I have so much to learn from you, so please keep me posted!! 🙂
Hi Molly! Great to hear from you again. I hope you enjoyed your travels and that your move went well. I’m really pleased to hear you are coaching now. Wow you’re having a busy year! I’ll definitely let you know when my programme launches. It will be in the next month x