I have a few coaching clients I send this text to occasionally, simply as a reminder of previous conversations and context for their situation: “It’s not you, it’s them.”
Most of the time, that’s a needed reminder for myself as well!
In the land of thought work and tuning into what’s really going through our heads, deciding whether or not we want those thoughts there in the first place, and then deciding what to do with those thoughts if we want to transform them, it’s often helpful to remember that indeed, sometimes it is most definitely not you and it most definitely is them.
I can’t tell you the number of conversations I’ve had with others that started with “Is it just me, or…” And more often than not, that thing that everyone else tries to make you feel insecure about or that your system’s culture characterizes as not quite right isn’t in fact anything all that exceptional or wrong or bad after all. Next time you’re feeling a little unsure or insecure or even wondering if you’re doing something wrong while everyone else seems to get it right, examine it a little closer with these three questions:
- Is what I’m feeling insecure about/being criticized for something I need to look at further?
- Is there any validity to the critique I’m receiving, and would I like to do something different in response?
- If it weren’t for these people/this system/this culture I’m currently in, would I still be questioning this?
When you start to tease apart those thoughts and lay them out for inspection, you may begin to realize that the data points in a much different direction than you were afraid it would. You gain some perspective and objectivity, and you begin to build confidence in your own approach and thought process. You stop letting other people “should all over you.”
Most importantly, you gain valuable data points to help guide your thought processes and maintain your momentum in the future. Instead of looking around and wondering what you’re doing wrong while everyone else must be doing it right, you start to question that perception.
And this inquiry, this willingness to examine your own thoughts, this courage to question the judgments of others, and your ultimate exploration into your own truth is what will set you – and keep you – free.
So next time you start to waver or start to wonder if it IS actually you, just remember, it’s not only possible, but I would say it’s likely that it actually isn’t you. It hasn’t been all along. It’s them.