A repeated Lesson: The proper response

Photo by Meghan Duthu on Unsplash

Properly responding to someone who drives you mad and crazy needs preparation. Let’s face it, everyone is faced with such moments. This might just be one of your melancholic readings for today but read on to know the how-to.

Have you ever been in a situation where you got so upset you were left speechless?  I have… too many times!

A friend

An incident some 7-8 years ago happened with a so-called friend who slandered me. I was not there to defend myself and heard only through our mutual friends afterwards what she said. They have no idea what really happened between us and only heard her version of the story. Even though I wanted to defend my stance to them, my real target was her and there is no way for me to reach her. I’m not able to tell her off—I kept my silence and just severed our ties.

A family member

One summer while visiting family, I encountered the same incident with a female relative who crafted stories about me and and spread it among her friends–some of whom haven’t even met me or was briefly acquainted. On the last day of my visit, I called her to try and reason out why I withdrew, cut off communication and would not acknowledge her presence when she’s in the room. Instead of listening to me, she yammered on and on trying to make her self-made story sound even more authentic. She was neither regretful nor concerned of our situation. What mattered to her was how good she felt with the attention and her stories.

Have you ever been placed in this situation where you physically felt the pain from the inside? I couldn’t sleep properly and if I did it was restless. I was having stomach cramps and my breathing felt very shallow. My face was forever in a frown.  I was distraught, upset, angry and horrified that here were people who could easily betray me and my confidence. All I could talk about for a while was my friend or female relative and the circumstances.

It felt like I was back to square one on this life’s lesson. How was I suppose to respond? Why should I suffer through this again? There were plenty of tears shed and some wondering on who to really trust. This is where my Emotional Intelligence failed me. Even now, I still consider my reactions to both incidents inadequate. It felt like I took the blade from the hands of the instigators and struck it straight to my heart.

How to respond

A couple of weeks ago I watched a video of Marisa Peer’s TEDx talk on “How to avoid rejection and get connection.” She gave five ways to deal with rejection. These five ways showed me the proper response. They are as follows:

  1. Thank you for sharing that.” (Is a statement to not let the rejection in but still allowing them to speak their mind)
  2. Would you repeat what you said more slowly?” (Allow them to self-reflect on what they said)
  3. Are you trying to make me feel bad about myself?” (Allow them to explain themselves and give yourself an emotional distance to what they said)
  4. That’s not going to work because I am not going to let it in.” (State specifically how  you will not allow yourself to be hurt by what they said)
  5. Do you know that critical people have the most criticism reserved for themselves? You are showing me and others how dissatisfied you are with yourself when you behave like this.” (It’s important to say this without sarcasm because you are calling the person out for what they are doing, which is hurting themselves.)

She ended her speech with a metaphor of a holy man with a journalist who doesn’t like him and kept verbally abusing him. The holy man kept smiling the more he was abused and finally the journalist asked the holy man why he was smiling. The holy man’s answer was If you gave me a gift but I didn’t take the gift, who has the gift?”  This thought was extraordinarily liberating because it provided me with a beautiful perspective.

If you gave me a gift but I didn’t take the gift, who has the gift?

Having the proper, level-headed response in any given situation is what I needed to prepare myself for. My answers should not be based on the emotional burden of being rejected or the circumstances I am placed in but to call the person’s actions out for what it is. Oh, I know how easy it is to just say these things but SO difficult to execute in such strenuous and emotionally-charged situation. I know it too well.

As Maya Angelou once said, “do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” 

I will definitely try my best to give the right response because now I know better.

Do you approve? Still go and live your life!

Dear readers,

Do you approve of me?” is a question that were never voiced when we talk to our parents, siblings, other family members, and friends regarding our dreams. We seek approval and acceptance but we can’t seem to ask that question directly, perhaps since it will make us sound so destitute for affirmation in the end.

Photo by Jenna Anderson on Unsplash

I have spoken with my family and several friends about pursuing my dreams. They, in turn, have numerous questions of their own:

“Is that what you really want to do?”

“How are you going to go after it?”

“Have you mapped out what path to take?”

“What are your plans to succeed in it?”

“Do you have a plan B to achieve your goal?”

Many of them have a realistic view on how I could fulfill it or how the dream might fail; this perspective is based on the environment they grew up in and their experiences.  Any which way they answered my question, my instinct is to check if they have answered the covert question–the question I dare not ask up front:

“Do you accept me and my dreams?”

This is a bizarre situation I placed myself in because I am setting myself up for rejection and even double rejection. Whatever their answer is to the main question, I will always look for meaning and clarity on the concealed question.

As a whole, many have been supportive in my pursuit as long as I always evaluate and re-evaluate the path I need to take to get there—I have to stay focused.  There were also many who pushed me to “try things out” because in the end regret for not trying is the real failure.  Most of all, there were many who unconsciously answered that they do approve of me and better yet they believe and have faith in me. That at last made me realize that my goal in achieving this dream is truly not to please other people.

Pleasing people is similar to opening a valve that drains you. Depending on who you are trying to please, it could feel seemingly small and totally unnoticeable or a constant overflow from a dam. Perhaps it started as a trickle and now you’re dealing with a downpour. This is still an ongoing battle in my life but it feels wonderful to tell myself that it is not my goal and I could definitely take it off of my goal list. Right now my goal is to maximize my skills to produce wonderful stories and books that would reach out to people, so I should focus on that.

Readers, the main lesson I am learning here is to take responsibility for my life.

I can’t turn to anyone and blame them for leading or pushing me to pursue things nor could I sulk and wait around for life to hand me bags of gold and opportunities. Neither should you.  So, this is what it means to move forward:

  • Find your dreams and exclusively pursue it
  • Undertake it without pleasing other people
  • Lastly, it is your responsibility to live your life to the fullest.

Blog Revamp

Photo by Pop & Zebra on Unsplash

It’s time to overhaul my old “Ist es in deutsch?” blog. The contents were slow in its progress and I kept losing my focus on the purpose for starting it. I also had some internal struggle on keeping my blog entries real yet maintaining privacy and distance—I’m from the old school of not `airing my dirty laundry´ in public. If I truly want to share my life’s adventures in my new home country, I have to let you peek in and see my not-so-perfect life and low key living—cause that makes me real.

My new goal for this revamped blog is to share personal thoughts, my reality and pursuit of the long-delayed writing career. There will still be posts about Germany, its culture, food and lifestyle.  So don’t give up on reading about those in this blog.

Towards the end of some posts, you’ll find me asking you to rate my posts because I want you to be involved in improving my writing. If you find my writing needs further improvement and have kind advice for me, do leave a comment. I read every one of them and even notes it down on my writing journal.

Thank you so much!