I’m Diana Swillinger, and this is the Renew Your Mind podcast. Episode Number 12. When People are Wrong About You.
DIANA: Hey. Hey. How are you all doing today? I’ve had a very introspective week. 2020 has been kind of a crazy year. There are a lot of important transformational and honestly, life changing things going on in the world right now. I don’t think things are going to be the same after 2020. Hopefully there’s a lot of positive change. That’s what I’m hopeful and praying for. So this past week I’ve been feeling heavy and reevaluating my mission and how I add value to the world. I think a lot of us are thinking about our place in the world right now. There are a lot of causes that I care about and I know I can’t help with them all. So I went back to what I know about how God’s been directing me and I spent a little time restating my mission. So I thought I’d share that with you. I’ll get back to sharing itunes Listener Reviews next week. This week, let me just share a little bit about my mission. This isn’t an official mission statement. This is just what’s on my mind this week when I’ve looked at again, how I add value to the world and how God’s directing me. So here it is, the mission for my work and the Renew Your Mind podcast. My mission is to help one person at a time to let go of destructive thoughts and emotions.
My mission I don’t know if there’s supposed to be just one statement. I have a few. My mission is to help you renew your mind so you can experience more fully the life giving and transformative emotions that God makes available to us right here, right now. My mission is to help you renew your mind so you can show up better for all the people you encounter in your life with more compassion, love, humility, and respect.
My mission is to help you renew your mind so you can create more peace, hope and joy and love in your life today and spread it wherever you go. So today on the podcast, onto the topic, I want to share with you something that I’ve wrestled with many times in my life. It’s a topic that I’ve taught about several times, blogged about it, coached lots of people through it. I get a lot of questions on this one. Today we’re looking at being okay when other people are wrong about you. Are you okay when someone’s wrong about you. Sometimes we’re not right. And I’m not saying the goal is to get to a place where we don’t care what people think about us. I don’t think that’s realistic. People are relational, and we’re hardwired to care about other people and to love and to serve. And we want other people to care about us. Sometimes in all that, we just care about what other people think about us. But sometimes it can interfere with life or create negative emotions or get us feeling stuck or trapped or angry, and we just go around being offended and upset, and that’s no fun. So that’s what I want to talk to you about today. The reason that we care so easily about what other people think about us is because we all have an innate need to be validated. It’s how we were made. It’s built into us. We want approval. Approval motivates us.
Ever notice how a toddler will light up when you tell them they did a good job or we clap for them? They love being seen validated and approved of. It’s just natural from when we’re little babies and toddlers. There’s countless studies about positive reinforcement in people’s lives and how it helps people be more emotionally healthy, or, uh, how it helps motivate them to do good things in their life. Now, people aren’t really like dogs, but I have a dog example, so I guess we’re a little bit like dogs because I’m using this example. But dogs love to behave for you when you approve of them and give them positive reinforcement. When I was a kid, we had a dog, and my dad taught lots of tricks to the dog. His name was Mercedes. I was a little kid, and I thought it was so fun when he would do the tricks. He taught him to do the normal stuff play dead, shake hands, sit up, roll over, stay, come. He even did this one trick where my dad would say, get the ghost. And then Mercedes would scurry around the house, sniffing the ground, as if he was trying to pick up the scent of a ghost somewhere in the house. That was the big party trick. I’ve never seen another dog do get the ghost. I have no idea where my dad got that idea. If anybody listening has seen another dog do that, send me a message. I want to know, because I think he might have been the only one.
Anyway, my dad trained our dog with positive reinforcement, with praise, affection, and
approval. Again, humans are not dogs, but it’s a good example. There are some similarities to our desire to have positive reinforcement and praise and affection and approval. We want that. We want to feel loved and accepted. It’s normal. Now, I don’t like to be scratched behind the ears, but I do like to get my shoulders rubbed. I like hugs.
You know, I like to be told I did a good job, and I like it when other people want me around. This is natural.
This is how God made us. We’re meant to connect and love and encourage each other. But then, as it turns out, we’re also here on Earth with a bunch of imperfect people who make mistakes and people who have free will and get to think whatever they want. Sometimes we don’t agree. Sometimes we judge each other. But even with that, we still desire to be approved of and validated. And then, darn it, a day comes along and someone’s wrong about you. So here we are. Is it okay for someone to be wrong about you? Is it okay if someone thinks you’re selfish? Is it okay if someone thinks you’re not parenting right even though you’re doing the best you can? What if you post on social media and you’re trying to be positive and someone lets you know that they think what you said was very wrong? Is that okay? Are you okay with that? I think somewhere kind of in our logical brain, we know it’s not possible for everybody to agree with us. It’s not statistically possible that everyone in the world is going to like us or believe we have good motives or agree with everything we say or like us. We really know this. We know that it’s likely people are going to think we do some things wrong. This is life. This is normal.
But still, when it happens, we end up feeling like crap. Because inside, all of us have a need to be accepted. We all have this need to be valued. We all need and want to feel loved. Even when we know it’s not possible for 100% of the people to approve of our choices or agree with our perspectives, it still is natural that it bothers us when someone lets us know they don’t agree. This is a story that I’ve told some people, and it’s really resonated with them. So I’m going to use this story. I have a friend who decided she doesn’t want to be my friend anymore. Her kids had a misunderstanding, and she wanted to resolve it in a specific way that I wasn’t comfortable with.
I’m really simplifying this, but ultimately her response was to tell me that I wasn’t offering unconditional love, that I was arrogant and steamrolling, and she was really upset with me. I thought she was wrong because what I was actually feeling was calm. I was feeling compassion. I was really working to understand, and I really felt a lot of love for her. I knew what I was feeling because I’m the one experiencing the feelings in my body. So I knew I was feeling love and compassion, and I wasn’t feeling judgment or arrogance or other things that she believed. And I tried to share with her kindly that she was wrong about me, but she still disagreed. So now what? How do you think you’d think in that situation, what do you imagine you might feel or do? Maybe you would complain to other people. Maybe you’d ruminate about how wrong she was, maybe judge her back and think she’s a meanie or some other word. Would you think she’s the bad guy and you’re the victim of her accusations?
So you know from listening to my other podcasts that feelings come about because of how we think. They’re a product of what we think. So if you thought things like that, what emotions might you feel? I’m guessing resentment, justification, anger, annoyed. Here’s some different thoughts you could have when someone’s wrong about you, or in a situation like this. You might think, she’s right, I’m a loser, I blew it again. Something’s wrong with me. I don’t even understand what I did wrong. And if you thought things like that, you’d have different emotions. You’d feel inadequate or shame, maybe insecure or selfloathing.
And sometimes we go back and forth between thoughts like this and we keep feeling different things. But what good comes from feeling any of those things? Those thoughts don’t help and they’ll leave you feeling terrible. So let’s talk about how we can let someone be wrong about you and how you can respond, or how to move forward in a healthy and mature way. The first thing you would need to do is to stop entrusting other humans to meet your need for approval. Remember, we all want to feel valued and we want to feel loved and approved of, right? So I’m not saying we don’t get this need met in part by people in our lives. We do. Just this week I had that need met through a person. I do some coaching for another coach. I do some work coaching work for him, and he sent me three emails of approval and encouragement yesterday. When I read those emails, I thought, I’m doing a good job, I’m offering value. And then I felt the emotions valued and appreciated. So people do contribute to meeting the need. I’m not saying they don’t.
What I’m saying is, don’t entrust your need to be valued to other people who are fallible and are going to mess it up. They’re going to forget to encourage you sometimes they might get mad at you and accuse you of doing things that they don’t like. Or maybe they’ll accuse you of doing things you didn’t do. Or they’ll get wrapped up in their own stuff and you won’t get noticed. So don’t place the responsibility to feel valued into the hands of broken people because they’re not going to get it right all the time. You know where else you shouldn’t put responsibility to feel valued into your own hands. The self help world is filled with people that will tell you to believe in yourself, have your own back, believe you’re worthy no matter what, and look out for yourself. Now, I do agree that we should love and encourage ourselves I really do. I talk about that all the time. I intentionally believe in myself and reassure my own worth, and I hope you do too. You should do that, I think. And there is truth in that. I teach it a lot. Love your neighbor as yourself. You need to love you. God tells you to love you and then love others.
But you are a fallible human being, too. Sometimes you slip up and you’re hard on yourself and you doubt your worth, or you tell yourself you’re screwed up or you’re no good. Right? We do this to ourselves. We cannot rely on ourselves to prove ourselves worthy. We’re going to mess it up too.
Doesn’t mean don’t do it. Just like other people. Other people encourage you great. You encourage you, great. It’s not enough. Even if you’re really good at it, it’s still in our DNA to feel worthy and get self approval outside of ourselves. In fact, I’d argue that we really need to feel like we belong outside of ourselves before we can truly affirm ourselves. So if we can’t rely on the other people outside of us to do it, we can’t do it ourselves.
Then what? There is only one true place to find that you’re accepted, valuable, loved, worthy, beautiful, lovable, just right, exactly how you’re supposed to be. Amazing and okay just as you are. There’s just one place, actually, a person. There’s one person that can do that for you, and that’s God. God chooses you. There’s nothing you need to do to prove yourself to God. There’s no opinions or thoughts. You have to change in your brain for Him to fully accept you. If you make a mistake, he’s going to give you grace and abundance. He’s going to be like, Fine. You’re still valuable. You’re still worthy. It doesn’t matter what you do. He’s saving a place for you in heaven.
There was this one day. I was sitting in my office, and my daughter came in. She was questioning her worth because some friends at school had rejected her. I think she was in fourth grade. She came to my office. I turned around on my yoga ball chair so I could look at her. She climbed into her dad’s oversized office chair, crossed the room from me. It’s a small room, so she was right in front of me there. She slouched down in the chair, and she swung her legs over one of the armrests, and her head was leaning on the other one, and she hung, uh, onto the desk, and she was swinging an office chair back and forth because she was in fourth grade, and that’s fun. Anyway, she told me how her friends had come up to her on the playground that day and started saying a bunch of things that they didn’t like about her. Like, you know, we don’t like about you. We don’t like this. We don’t like this. We wish you would do this. Different when you do that. That makes us mad. They just kept going.
So she was telling me about this, and I’m sitting there, I’m like, well, sweetie, we cannot change anything that they say or anything they think about you. And then I promised her that she was still awesome just as she is. It was quiet for it seemed like a long time to me. And she said, how do you know I’m awesome? I said that’s easy. God made you. He’s awesome. And he made you in his image to be like him. He’s awesome,
so you’re awesome. She believed me. Isn’t that nice how kids just believe these amazing things you tell them? When we’re adults, we don’t always believe so easily. But I’m telling you, you should for sure believe this one, that you’re awesome because God made you. And I said, you know what else? That means? Your friends are awesome too. God made them in his image, and they’re awesome. And she smiled like everything was okay. Then I’m telling you the same thing. Your need for value can only be met by God. Not by others, not by you. And you’re never going to be okay with somebody else being wrong about you if you don’t find your value to be real. If you don’t believe it’s true, believe it.
There’s nothing you can do about it. Sorry. There’s nothing you can do to add to your worth or take it away. It’s just there. Deal with it. And then when someone else judges your words or your choices or your appearance or they’re wrong about you, you don’t need to attach your worth to that at all. And you don’t need to judge them back because they’re human and they’re awesome too. We all get it wrong sometimes. We get it wrong sometimes. They get it wrong sometimes. It’s no big deal. This is the human existence. It’s okay. So back to my friend that doesn’t want to be my friend anymore. She had a story in her brain about me. Her story went something like diana’s unloving, she’s arrogant. And all the other things she said, that was her story happening in her brain. And it really was a story about her life, her perspective, her thoughts, her feelings. It was all about her. It wasn’t really about me. It came from her hurts, her thoughts, her experiences in life. And I can let her have her story and not make it mean anything about me. My value and worth is secure. I don’t need her to be right about me for me to have that.
So she had her story, and I get to just let her have her story. And then I get to choose my story. What story do I want to have about the situation? I could have a story about being the victim. That would be easy to do. And then I’d feel resentful. I could decide to believe her story must be true. And about me. I’m a terrible person and I should feel shame and inadequacy, but I didn’t want to feel any of these things. So those stories weren’t the ones I wanted. So what was my story? Well, I felt some rejection at first because I did have the thought that she didn’t want to be my friend. When I thought, she doesn’t want to be my friend, I felt rejected. And then I processed that feeling. I thought it was appropriate to feel rejected for a little while, so I let myself have the feeling. Go back to the episode about processing feelings. I allowed myself to feel it when I needed to. I felt it for a couple of days, and then it would come and go, depending on if I thought the thought, she doesn’t want to be my friend anymore. I wanted to feel compassion. I wanted to keep feeling love, and I wanted to feel peace. So if I wanted to feel those things, I knew I’d have to manage my thoughts. I also noticed that I wanted to feel some grief. I thought about it. I thought I could feel some grief and compassion, love and peace. I could do that. Did you know that’s possible?
So when I had a thought, I’m really sad that she doesn’t want to be my friend anymore, I felt grief. That was
appropriate. I want to depress us. That, uh, grief. I also thought, she’s feeling pain, she’s doing her best, and she’s trying to navigate life’s challenges. It’s not easy. And I felt compassion. Can you see how important it is? How I needed to be secure in my own value and worth, to not have those painful stories and to have these healthier stories? I also thought, she has really been there for me over the years, and she’s a special person. That’s true. And I felt love for her, and I wanted to feel peace. So I’m like, how can I be at peace with this? And I came up with thinking on purpose. God knew, God’s got this, and I was able to have some peace. I could not change her thoughts and actions. I just decided I was going to be okay with her being wrong about me. I’m sharing this story with you in a under 30 minutes podcast. So obviously there was a lot involved in this. I didn’t come to processing her being wrong about me in 30 minutes. I worked on this on purpose, and I had a lot of practice with some of these coaching tools before I got to that day.
So I needed practice to be able to do that. And having that experience was practice too, by the way. When
difficult things happen in life, those are our opportunities to practice doing things better and being more
emotionally mature and growing in our character and becoming better people. That’s how we do it through the tough times. And the people in my life get practice because of me too. Trust me, I am not 100% perfect yet. Maybe tomorrow, not today. By the way, did you notice the coaching tool from episode ten woven in solving this problem? What did I think? What did I feel? What did I do? It’s all part of solving these problems. Sometimes we just need to make a mind shift and shift our thoughts and get it all sorted out. I took the drama out of my friend saying things about me. I took the drama out of her saying she didn’t want to be my friend anymore. Then I chose thoughts that allowed me to love her just as she was and create the emotions I wanted in the situation. And because I was secure in my inherent value, I could just show up with humility and compassion. It’s not always easy when other people are wrong. Even when you get good at using the coaching tools, it’s still not easy. But the outcome you want is possible if you’re willing to do the work.
As always, I am here to help. If you want some help, you come find me. I’ve been having some great conversations on Instagram, so you can go check me out over there if you want. My name is my account at Diana Swillinger. If you send me a direct message over there, I will reply. If you want faster results with what you’re learning here, I’ll coach you for free. I still have free, uh, coaching going on right now. I will probably for all of 2020. I don’t know if I’m going to be doing it after 2020 though, but I am for now. So go get your coaching call while you can. You can start feeling better right away.
You don’t have to wait and check out the website, Rympodcast.com, that’s where I have the link for that free coaching call. You just get right into my calendar. It’s really easy. That’s it for this week, y’all. I will catch you next week.
Until then, take care. As an advanced certified life coach, I help Christian women trying to live their best
lives, but they still feel unsatisfied and stuck. I teach thought management skills that work so you can enjoy
life again and step into who God has created you to be. Don’t forget to head on over to RymPodcast.com to get my free resources or a free coaching call.