Have you ever had the experience of feeling like someone is judging you or talking badly behind your back only to realize later it didn't happen and you misinterpreted or made the whole thing up?
I was recently at the post office on a busy afternoon and went into an anxiety induced delusion about ‘someone’ behind me in line getting frustrated over the time it took me to use the self serve machine. Afterwards, I turned around to apologize for my lack of preparedness, only to discover that no one else was standing there.
This is a great example of a negative aspect of my own relationship with myself. If another person had been there in line, I would have made my inner shaming about them, when it was actually about me not feeling competent in other areas in my life and using the excuse of somebody else's (imaginary) frustration to beat myself up for it.
In my coaching practice, I talk a lot about the importance of being your own best friend, but this experience at the post office is a perfect example of acting on automatic pilot, letting my inner critic shame me for her perceived 'incompetence' over not having the zip code of my destination handy. Thankfully since no one else was standing there, I could catch myself in the act of causing undue stress and laugh off the intensity of my mood. But it makes me wonder how often this pattern occurs when I'm not so easily made aware of it...
Becoming conscious of our tendency to attach negative feelings to other people's perceptions is an important step in more easily modulating our own emotional thermometers. Through the lens of higher perspective, whatever story we tell about ourselves is the story everyone else will reflect to us, whether they know it or not. What we perceive in the external world is what matches the emotional experience of our inner one. Taking responsibility for the personal thoughts that cause our perceived reality is not easy, because there is always 'proof' of outside influences, but the truth is, no one outside of us has the power to control what we think and feel about ourselves.
Unlike computers, we are conscious creatures who have the capacity to awaken to the 'programs' we run and may choose to 'download' new updates at any time. Whereas our predecessors didn't have ‘AirPort’ technology, we now have the capacity to awaken to a whole new way of perceiving reality that can change our lives in a matter of seconds.
On October 4th, Mercury went into retrograde for the final time this year. If you're unfamiliar with the astrological term, Mercury is the ruling planet of communication, and when it goes retrograde (or backwards) in motion to the Earth's orbit, communication mirrors that. The larger theme of each Mercury Retrograde is to revisit, return, rework and revise old thought patterns, emotions, agreements, relationships and projects.
Therefore, I encourage you during the month of October to look for any aspects of your own relationship with yourself that you might be ready to revise and release. It's not always fun to find bugs in the 'program,’ but it's the perfect time to update the software.