A friend recently expressed his frustration and anger with people who don’t immediately reply to his text messages, or worse still, when they don’t reply at all. He considers it inconsiderate and disrespectful. He acknowledged that sometimes people have a legitimate reason. Perhaps they’re busy at the moment the message arrives or perhaps they’re away from their phone didn’t receive it right away. His frustration was with people who consistently behave this way because it’s not something he does.
When I asked him to probe a little deeper into his feelings, he admitted that it made him feel unimportant, particularly when it involved a close friend. He felt that the person on the other end didn’t care about him. That he was being taken for granted. It made him feel unwanted.
When he talked about his childhood, he admitted that he grew up feeling unloved, unwanted, unaccepted and unappreciated. His parents weren’t overt about expressing their love with words, hugs and other acts of affection, and it had clearly had left him with much emptiness and unresolved emotional pain.
We also talked about why prompt responses were so important to him and he realized that he ‘needed’ it to validate his feelings of lovability, self worth and adequacy. It makes him feel good when people get back to him right away. It is almost like an addiction.
Finally, we talked about the idea of empowerment. I pointed out to him that he was allowing someone else’s behaviour to control how he was feeling … he was giving away his power … and when we do this, it triggers feelings of powerlessness, which then causes us to feel resentment towards the person who is making us feel this way.
In order to help him resolve this experience, I suggested that he first read Eckhart Tolle’s ‘A New Earth,’ so he could learn about ‘ego state’ and ‘pain body’ because when we are trapped in ego and stuck in our pain body, we allow ourselves to be triggered by external circumstances. We lose the ability to look on other people’s behaviour objectively,particularly when it is emotional pain that is causing their behaviour.
Next, I asked him if he could say with 100% certainty that when someone didn’t reply to his text messages, it was because that person was inconsiderate or because they didn’t care about him. Of course, he realized that he couldn’t, and he also realized that it wasn’t serving him to give away his power by letting himself be triggered by someone else’s behaviour particularly when he couldn’t be certain of their motives. This is true regardless whatever way other people treat us.
Then I suggested to him that he needed begin to resolve the emotional woundings from his childhood, perhaps by doing inner child healing meditations.
Next, I advised him that he had a three choices. First, if there was someone in his life who was continually ignoring his messages or mistreating him in any way, he could talk to them and tell them how their behaviour was making him feel … he could allow himself to be heard … without being accusatory. This would allow the other person to explain themselves, although it wouldn’t necessarily guarantee that they would change. Second, he could end their friendship. Third, he could do nothing and continue to be triggered by their behaviour. Realizing that the first option was most empowering, he decided to take that approach.
Finally, I suggested to him that one of the best things we can do for ourselves is learn to live with compassion so that we can look at people with the knowledge that we are all doing the best we can with what we’ve learned and experienced.
It is important to understand that all of our experiences are meant to be gifts. They are meant to help bring awareness to our unresolved emotional woundings. They are part of our journey towards spiritual enlightment.
Have an awesome day!