Relationships with others are a big source of thoughts that lead to stress in our lives. There are usually people in our lives that we don’t like all that much and being around them may generate thoughts inside us that lead to stress. We have a set of expectations of how people should act and what they should say, but unfortunately other humans have usually not gotten the memo of the rules.
I have found that the people who rub me the wrong way have something to teach me. There is a concept in psychology called projection that Sigmund Freud developed. Basically, it boils down to the things you don’t like about other people are the things that you don’t like about yourself.
This was a big shock to me.
There’s no way that this person who I cannot stand because they only care about themselves is a reflection of what I don’t like about me. But once I sit with it for a while, I can see that it is true. I do act like I only care about myself sometimes and I really don’t like it because I have a belief that it is wrong to do so. Digging in a little further, I’ve found that this belief doesn’t serve me. You have to be your own best friend first before you can actually be a great friend to others. Doing the work to reprogram this belief has also led me to have a completely different relationship with the person who initiated the entire process. It’s like magic.
This is just one of many examples of my own beliefs that I have found by doing an exercise of looking in the mirror when someone rubs me the wrong way. Here are the steps I follow to dig deep.
- Write down everything I can as to why I can’t stand the person. Pick out one reason.
- Turn that reason into a “Am I” question? For example, Am I acting like I only care about me?
- Turn that into a sentence. I am acting like I only care about me.
- Ask “why is this a problem?”. Keep asking until you get to the real reason it’s a problem for you.
- Ask if it’s really true or if it’s a belief that may be limiting you in some way.
- Get to work on reprogramming the belief if it’s something you want to change.
The next time someone rubs you the wrong way, keep this exercise in mind. It leads to a treasure trove of limiting beliefs.
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