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This is #3 in a series that began a couple of days ago with my Spiritual Espresso on Passive Aggressive Pain.
Being passive aggressive towards others was one of the most painful ways that I’ve played small in my relationships.
Accepting other people’s passive aggressive behavior towards me was not quite as painful, but it was a major way for me to play small and affirm my lack of worth on so many levels.
In Part 1 I shared about how I’ve come to recognize the pain that passive aggressive behavior causes. Yesterday I shared about the first step to permanently eliminating passive aggressive pain. Today, I’m going to share with you the second most important step in permanently eliminating this behavior.
The second step is developing a skill that has helped me in not just eliminating the pain, and transforming my relationships, but it’s had a major impact on raising my self-esteem. Committing to employing the first step I discussed in yesterday’s spiritual espresso – which was about letting Spirit do the heavy lifting – and then acquiring this skill, has been life-changing for me. It’s required my true attention and willingness. It’s part of my daily spiritual practice.
I used to get triggered so often that I felt angry and defensive much of the time. I would leap into passive-aggressive behavior so fast, I didn’t even notice the shift. I was protecting myself from getting more hurt than I already was. For me, it felt like life or death. For me, my leap into passive-aggressive behavior was the only method I had for preventing my Spirit’s death.
I felt that if I didn’t control and manipulate everyone around me in order to protect myself that I’d just get run over all day long. When I started this practice, being compassionate was something that losers would do. I believed that it was a dog eat dog world and smart people were willing to do what it takes to protect themselves and what was their’s.
I had reached a point where I was completely miserable, and I didn’t like myself or my life. I hit rock bottom and that’s when I began to realize that it was because I was lacking compassion for everyone including myself. I began to cultivate the ability to have compassion for others and then I began to be able to have some for myself.
Long before I found A Course in Miracles, I discovered what Jesus meant when he tells us, your brothers and sisters are your salvation. I experienced it, so I understand it. This is why I know the power of PROVING God in my life. And that’s why I teach it in my classes. It works when you work it.
The big challenge for me was staying in my loving heart when I felt threatened. I had to learn what my loving heart felt like. I had to really connect with that feeling and pay attention to when it was there and when I shut down. Playing small in the form of shutting down, withholding Love, isolating and self-medicating was so painful for me.
Then I learned that if I reacted to someone like a tiger protecting her cubs, I could do a 180° turn. It wasn’t easy for me, but I learned that I could put my objective of being loving ahead of protecting myself and needing to be right. Amazing! Wonderful!
What was key for me was that I had DECIDED that being loving was important to me. I made it the highest priority. In a sense, that meant that my ego was on board with the program rather than fighting my Spirit ALL of the time.
In the transformation, I discovered that I could rise above the ego. I discovered that I had the power to align with Spirit and my goal of being loving, my decision to be loving, would take precedence. That’s why Step #1 that I talked about in yesterday’s Spiritual Espresso was so vital to making this shift.
I’ve written before about fight or flight reactions. I used to, mostly, go right into fight mode when I felt threatened. My ego was like a red neck bar brawler who took no prisoners. It was a valuable discovery for me to realize that there were two more options besides fight or flight – there’s freeze, and there’s also seeking nurturing.
First I learned to freeze. Now, I would call it a pause, but initially, it was a feeling of “freeze before you lash out and hurt them.” In the freeze/pause, I had time to remember what my priority was – being loving, being kind, being patient, being generous.
I decided that being able to be loving, kind, patient, and generous was a MAJOR VICTORY for Jennifer Hadley. And, in truth, it was. Spirit was helping me turn the ship around so my life could go in an entirely different direction.
Realizing that I could make different choices and that being loving, kind, patient and generous felt like a victory was the thing that gave me an incentive I truly valued. I needed to feel victorious. I needed to feel like a winner.
This shift gave my ego the opportunity to be a winner all day long. I quickly began to notice the difference in how I felt and then being compassionate, kind, loving, generous, and patient became a no-brainer for my ego.
Feeling victorious felt good. And that’s what I wish for everyone.
I started to feel TRULY empowered because I was living more and more from my heart.
I proved to myself that being loving wasn’t for losers. It was the most intelligent strategy for living a great life – AND it was dissolving the knee-jerk passive-aggressive behaviors that I’d been engaging in my whole life. Yay!
Tomorrow, I’ll share some more about putting this behavior behind us forever!
Do you feel like you’re playing small and you’re tired of it?
Would you like to make a real and lasting shift and have fun doing it?
My Stop Playing Small Online Retreat starts Friday, Sept 9. If you’d like support for making a shift from playing small in your heart, living in lack and limitation, getting in your own way, to living from Love and feeling more free and focused, check out my Stop Playing Small retreat – it’s online – you’ve never had so much FUN clearing out the mental and emotional clutter! Fear won’t stop us! Click here for more details.
MY LATEST ACIM PODCAST EPISODE: my topic is God’s Plan for Salvation. It’s simpler than we think!