Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Hopeful Thinking Saturday, September 10, 2022 - Don’t Be Used to It

How many times have you said, or heard other people say, “It’s OK. I’m used to it.“ 

Sometimes we get so used to living in dysfunction that we invalidate our own feelings. Usually because someone has suggested, either implicitly or explicitly, that we do so.

The term is also potentially passive aggressive. It can be used in an attempt to make someone feel guilty, whether they deserve it or not. Take note when the phrase is used, by you or others. Because it means there’s always a story to be told there. And work to be done. 

Exactly what is it that you’ve gotten used to? Being told that your feelings don’t matter? Being told that you’re less-than, not important, not intelligent, not experienced? Who’s saying that to you? More importantly, what is it saying about them?

Interestingly enough, this is an opportunity for compassion, even forgiveness. Anytime you or someone else uses that phrase ‘I’m used to it’ it should be like a red flag with sequins on it in the sun. It should get your attention, big time. Especially if you’re the one saying it. Because in order to overcome all that stands behind that phrase, you’re going to have to exhibit some compassion and forgiveness for yourself. Because you have been indoctrinated to believe whatever it is that’s made that sentence possible to escape your lips. The same is likely true for anyone else who uses it. 

You deserve more. As does anyone who feels comfortable emitting that phrase. 

Of course there are occasions where the words are used in a heightened melodramatic fashion, often for effect, sometimes even a laugh. A mock guilt trip. That’s OK.

What’s not OK is if you believe it. What’s not OK are all the reasons behind your ability to tolerate the inappropriate statements or actions of diminishment by others. 

This tolerance is a skill. A tactic that you’ve learned in order to cope with an otherwise intolerable situation or individual. Rather than stand up, you have sat down.

Decide here and now whether or not that’s a good idea. Consider for yourself in this moment whether or not you deserve to be in a position where you must tolerate the intolerable. 

What have you done? And what have you done to yourself that you believe it is your job to just get used to it? And what might you do differently now?

We are in an era of heightened toxicity. In the workplace, often in our family lives, school, church, and certainly  amid our political squabbles. 

So what shall we do with it? The goal is resilience, of course, balanced with a bit of agency to make positive change wherever we can. To say that you are “used to it” is an attempt at that resiliency, but really it functions more like giving up. It certainly includes no personal agency to affect change. 

Don’t give up! Don’t give in. Declare your self-worth, even if you don’t believe it at first. Because it’s true whether you believe it or not. Start acting like it. Fake it if you have to. But make the choice to move in that direction regardless. 

If you feel that you're trapped in a situation that declares you powerless, know that it’s a lie. You are not powerless, you just haven’t yet figured out how to use the vast amount of power you have. Yet. 

The lives we live are almost always a choice. It may not feel like it sometimes, but it’s true just the same. Choose to begin a new way of thinking about yourself. 

You don’t necessarily have to abandon your family, you might not have to quit your job, but you may have to assert yourself in a way they’re not used to. Heads up: They won’t like it. Not one bit. They’ll say you’ve changed, and not for the better. And they will likely rebel against it. 

But don’t worry. They’ll get used to it. 

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