"Feedback always tells you more about them than about you." - Tara Mohr
Hello my dear friend,
Hope you are having a well-deserved weekend!
Have you ever been "left" by a friend? Have you had friends who ended your friendships? I have and I also have to say that I ended many friendships myself, but this time it was the first time that the friend preempted me. It wasn`t surprising or too shocking as our friendship had, unfortunately, already gone downhill, so it was actually both-sided, that we - who basically disagreed with each other - agreed to end our friendship. But this time, I was on the other end and although it was my intention, too, to end the friendship, I had to admit it was a weird feeling, esp. with the friend`s harsh way of ending things. This definitely made me reflect on ending friendships, so here are my 3 wisdoms in case you have had experiences before and would like to process them, too:
1. Know that feedback is always about them, not about you
By chance, this week`s module of my "Playing Big" programme by Tara Mohr was about unhooking from praise and criticism, in which Mohr outlined that feedback always tells more about them, than about you. Feedback is always about the other person`s priorities, perceptions, and preferences, even if the feedback is directed towards you. Say someone said, "You are ugly", then it still only tells more about the person giving the feedback, i.e. what they deem beautiful and not about you being indeed ugly. The same is true for positive feedback - for example, if you get the feedback "you are so compassionate", then - even if this may be true (which you define), then it also tells more about them (that they see and appreciate compassion) than about you as a fact (how could they also ever know?).
This way of thinking was really game-changing for me, because I think you can agree that we, esp. women, have learned to take feedback personally - surely it is about us? And this is where the danger is, that we get hooked from feedback and on what others people think, such that our self-worth and happiness are often tied to others` reactions, claps, likes.
Meaning, when the friend ended our friendship with a bang of harsh tone and comments - it told me more about her (that she seemed to be aggressive and resentful), than about me. I also know from my past experiences when it was me who ended my friendships, that it was clearly about me, about my pain, about how I saw things (even if it meant that the others were wrong). So knowing this can help you detach from others` negative energies, that they cannot bear themselves and have to project on you or pull you down with them. Notice mindfully what else, such as self-doubts, may fly around as a result, which are only thoughts and not the truth (also not making the others wrong, so to not be trapped between right / wrong, victim / perpetrator, good / bad).
2. Choose mindfulness - endings don`t have to end with big drama or a bang
When I was reflecting on how the friend ended our friendship - even though they may have good reasons for their hurt emotions - if there is no mutual conversation then they can be likely stuck in their perception, likely a self-righteous (as the harsh tone suggested). I had many good reasons to be angry and accusing, too, but I decided to connect with my Inner Mentor and not to fuel more pain and suffering. I was ready to move aside any resentments and reasons to be right.
But I could tell the friend was choosing another approach, which is fine, because it is her decision. However, as I was reflecting, I wondered whether our perceptions and behaviors may be skewed by television, newspapers, and gossip that endings always have to end with a harsh cut. Magazines always report the big news when celebrities divorce or separate. When people are fired, it`s big news. When a political term is ending, the former US president also made a big deal out of it. We tend to live a perception that endings are harsh and often contain a victim and a perpetrator. Of course, endings can be very painful full of disagreement and fear, but it doesn`t mean that there is no other way to also deal with endings.
My feeling was that the friend was either the victim giving me all the fault or the perpetrator not wanting to be the helpless victim. I can tell from my side that I feel neither / nor, because my philosophy is that (1) everything starts with us and (2) a relationship always involves two, so we are actually often both the victim and perpetrator depending on what angle we are looking at a situation from. Also even when it is painful, we can still choose mindfulness (that we both actually practice) and end it peacefully, because there were also good moments to be grateful for. Also do you want your last words to a person be full of resentments? Even if you wished them well, the intention is what eventually matters, and will always come back to you (karma).
3. Ending something in the outside may only be half the mile, you have to also do your inner work
This leads me to my last observation - the friend, whom I knew before that she was unable / unwilling to look at the spiritual mirror and process her negative emotions, seemed to aim to cut me to not feel any pain anymore. So I seemed to be the reason for her pain, and by removing me out of the picture, it would hopefully soothe her pain. But what I learned from my own experiences when I left other people myself - their energies and images were still with me. Because we are not only physical, but also spiritual people. I also once read that even if a relationship had ended on the outside, there is still a relationship, which is just dormant or non-existent - but basically you can never end a relationship, you will always be in relation to someone. So my wish for the friend is that they will find their peace that they are seeking for.
The friend`s last request to me was to not talk about them in my blogs or so because they would like to "correct the energy" and remove any negative energies that seem to come from me. Here I can only say, that this will be my last blog post about this friend to share the wisdoms of being "ended" for you, but also to say that again, it is not about us, but about them. If you are disturbed by others` negativity, then because it is about your own negativity that you are not able to process. As the friend once told me in our last fight "It has nothing to do with me, it is all about you", I can only gently give this back.
Therefore, it is immensely important for you to do your inner work - to heal your wounds, to look at the spiritual mirror (feel free to ask for a coach or a friend to do this work with you), and find peace in yourself, without having to rely on others` reactions or lack thereof. But mostly, choose love for yourself - others` reactions don`t define your worth or lovability, you are a worthy and lovable person (just as the other person, too), but sometimes paths diverge for the greater good after a season has ended and the purpose of the relationship has been met.
Love, from me to you,
How are you dealing with your friendships? Let me know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – I very look forward to hearing from you! :) PS: Subscribe to my #mindfulmagic Newsletter to stay in touch for upcoming posts, free offers, and news :)
Inspiration: Tara Mohr - Hooked vs. Unhooked
Reflection: What does feedback tell me more about them rather than about me?
Intention: I introduce a new relationship to feedback.
Viet Linh Le is a female visionary, qualified coach with corporate experience, and multi-cultural founder of @vietnamwellbeing, with the mission to change our world by coaching the next-generation decision-makers. Find out more on www.vietlinhle.com