I have a close friend who does this. It never fails. My other friends and I will pour our hearts out, spend hours telling her what she should do in her situation, she’ll agree with all of us, and then, more often than not, do the exact opposite. At first it used to irritate me. Why in the world did I just waste my time giving this girl advice if she was going to do the complete and total opposite. Then after watching a similarly titled YouTube video recently, it dawned on me, it wasn’t that she was wasting everyone else’s time, but she was choosing not to waste her time or energy arguing about something that ultimately affected only one person in the group, her. So often we get so caught up in trying to prove our point on why we are right that we fail to realize that ultimately, everyone is right and 9.9/10 times, no one’s opinion is going to change after the conversation. We are all just going in circles, repeating our points in different ways trying to get everyone else to believe why it is our opinion that is superior, that we never truly even listened to the other points, and why should we? Everyone is simply giving their perspective based on how they view the world which is as true to them as our unique perspective is true to us.
The sky is green. The world is rectangle. Bean pies taste better than sweet potato pies (which we all know is a lie by the way) but I digress, just agree. From that person’s perspective, everything they believe is true. Have you ever seen a show where they do a flashback from different perspectives? I saw scenes like this a lot growing up on shows like Martin, Seinfield, The Fresh Prince etc. The characters all experienced something together though each individual person’s flashback story was totally different. Typically this was done in a comedic style but it can be applied to our everyday lives. Two people people can have an experience together and though the exact same things happened to them, based on their perspective and how they view the world, their perspective or their truth in the situation will be unique to them. One thing I’ve naturally done since a child is try to see things from other people’s perspective. Why are they saying this? What is triggering them in this situation? Why are they getting upset? It’s a waste of time to argue and go back and forth with people because what you see is totally different from what they see. A good example of this is the photo of the dress that went viral a few years ago. Some people saw white and gold while others saw a blue dress. No one was wrong in what they were seeing because it was a way that the dress was photographed that made certain people see it differently than others. People spent weeks arguing over a color of a dress that they didn’t own and had never seen in person. Imagine the time and energy that can be wasted arguing over things that simply don’t affect you. I’ve seen things online that I grossly disagreed with and started typing out comments before I stopped for a moment and erased it. I asked myself do I really want to add to the noise? Do I have the energy or want to use my energy going back and forth with the other people that are sure to respond to my comment to disagree? Am I going to change anyone’s lifelong opinion based on mine? The answer to all of those questions was no. So, without a second thought I erased it. Though naturally, I love a good debate, I’m learning that the energy it takes to state my extremely close to a fact opinion 😉 is a waste of time. I’m recognizing that the other person is always going to view things from their lens of the world which will always be as right to them as my opinion will be right to me.
Recognize why you’re being triggered
Do you ever just feel the need to argue back with a person? Or maybe you find yourself getting upset with what they are saying. I find it important to not immediately retaliate and attempt to hurt someone back but instead try to figure out why I’m feeling upset or uneasy from what they are saying about me. I’ve noticed that if I’m being triggered by what someone else has to say about me, it’s because it’s a part of me that isn’t healed or that I know I need to work on. For example, if someone, anyone, a stranger, a loved one, a friend, came up to me and said, Oh Ashley, you’re so selfish. I would be curious as to why they felt that but I wouldn’t be triggered by it, because I know I’m not a selfish person. That person is reflecting what they feel about themselves or responding from their lens of the world and placing that on to me, which isn’t my problem. If someone said, you’re so short, or your macaroni and cheese is trash, again, I wouldn’t be offended because I’m not short and everyone that has had the pleasure of tasting my mac n cheese knows its heaven sent. Now, recently someone said something about me looking like I had a baby bump and I wanted to flip the table over. I wasn’t mad at the person. In fact I didn’t even know the person but I was triggered because one, I’m bloated, PMSing and emotional right now and two, I’m working on losing weight and know I’m not at my goal. I was triggered because I agreed. My stomach was looking big af in that moment and I knew it. In another instance, a friend challenged my knowledge of black history. The friend went on to taunt me for what felt like hours (was really just minutes) about my lack of knowledge. This transported me back to my college African American studies class where I received a B (should have been an A but my professor was hating) when I had A’s in all my other classes, bringing down my GPA. It brought me back to being taunted in school and called white girl because of my complexion. It triggered me because of my internal issues of always feeling like an outsider growing up. It triggered me because despite knowing more about black history and culture than many in my circle, I still know I’m not as knowledgeable as I’d like to be. I was triggered because my friend’s words spoke to unhealed parts of me and parts I agreed with, so in turn I became defensive and upset before I was able to acknowledge that I was triggered. While triggers can feel painful in the moment, they are there for a reason. When people trigger you, use it to your advantage to recognize the parts of you that still need to be healed and get to work.
Do what feels right
I’ve made it a point to stop seeking advice and instead do what feels right to me. When we seek advice it’s typically when we ourselves are feeling lost and confused, which is truthfully the worst time to be consuming another person’s opinion because our own intuition isn’t at its strongest. Once again, you aren’t necessarily getting the truth, but their truth. They can only tell you what they would do based on their fears, their upbringing, the way they view the world. Think about your life a year from now, five years, ten years. How will your decision affect your future? How will it affect the lives of those closest to you? Can you live with it? Can you be happy with it? Instead of soaking up the opinions of your friends, family members, therapist, pastor, monk, whoever, sit with yourself. Sit in solitude. Consult with yourself, listen to your inner voice, consult with your higher power and truly figure out what it is that you need to do to achieve the outcome you desire. If you’ve been doing this and still haven’t figured it out then take a little more time until you do. Don’t punish yourself for not being more decisive or all-knowing. Taking time to figure things out only means that you understand the weight of your decision and are being thoughtful enough with yourself and possibly how your decision will not only affect your life but those you care for as well. Take the time needed to make a decision that you will be proud of. Remember there is no right or wrong way. The world will open up for you no matter what you choose, you just have to have the confidence to lean into your decision and go from there. Most things aren’t life or death and you can always make changes along the way to create the life you want.
Will you agree to agree moving forward?
Love & light