You don’t get to decide when someone else is allowed to be mad at you.

So many of our fights stem from our belief that other people are not allowed to have negative feelings towards us. It hurts our ego, and our ego reacts in every defense mechanism we know possible. Whether it’s talking over people to feel heard, or never allowing yourself to be “wrong”, our egos will always come with some means of protection. We forget to think about the other person in that moment. We lose ourselves.

Someone told me today that it’s too much work to always be thinking of someone else. That the process of “How will this effect the person I love? Will what I’m about to say hurt them?” is simply too much effort. But how can that possibly strengthen our relationships? How does it make a team stronger to only be focused on yourself? The truth is that it doesn’t. No one has ever gained any real benefit by being selfish. It only pushes people away. Even in sports, the greatest athletes have been known to fail because they only saw themselves in the game. Why then do we sabotage our relationships with this mindset of “I’m right, you’re wrong” when really it’s just a matter of “this is my reality, and this is your reality”? Neither realities are wrong. They’re simply different. But we can’t wrap our heads around something that isn’t our reality. In fact, we make up as many excuses as possible so that we can’t. “What about me? What about how I feel? I didn’t do anything wrong.” We’re so scared to admit defeat that we let ourselves believe the lie that we can control when someone is allowed to be upset with us.

You don’t get to decide when someone else is allowed to be mad at you. 

Let me emphasize how important it is to learn this concept, because it truly cancels out your ego. It contradicts everything our minds want to believe. It’s hard, and it hurts, to simply allow other people to be mad, disappointed, frustrated, or feel any other negative way about us. It makes us feel like we’re not good enough. It makes us feel as if we have to defend our own honor. But by allowing people to be mad at us, we no longer depend on our ego to save us. It takes away its power. And you’d be surprised how quickly a negative situation resolves itself when we do. By validating the person we’re speaking to, we give them the room to heal. We open the door to forgiveness. It doesn’t allow for anger, or disagreements. It simply says “I hear you”. And isn’t that all any of us want? To be heard and validated?

Communication is hard as it is, and removing our ego makes it even harder. But I challenge you to take a step back next time someone becomes upset because of something you said or did and remind yourself their reality is different than yours. Everything they experience is different from you. Your only job is to try and look passed your reality and into theirs in search of compassion. It’s not going to happen every time. Your ego will win some days. But by opening the door to empathy, we close the door to conflict simply by letting other people feel the way they feel without judgement. I challenge you to give someone the gift of a safe place to feel and speak. Your karma will thank you, and so will they.

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