Emotional Alchemy

You're not a wizard.

I know, hashtag sadface. 

Let me explain. 

How often have you taken shit from people and turned it into gold? Not literal shit (ew) but figurative. I'm talking about being ignored. Blown off. Being yelled at. Criticism. Passive aggressive attacks. Lies. 

How often has someone treated you poorly and you transformed it into love? 

That's not always a bad thing, sometimes the people closest to us make mistakes and hurt us and we choose to forgive them. God only knows we screw up, too. In fact I think reacting with love when you're handed garbage is a tremendously important skill. It makes for a much better outcome when we approach hostility with kindness than hostility with hostility. It doesn't escalate into higher eschelons of shit. It's shit containment. 

But, are there times when we shouldn't transmute emotional trash into solid gold?

Hell yes. Here's why. 

Sometimes our well-intended ability to deal with others negativity robs the other party of responsibility. What that means is that we become the managers of their shit behavior; they have no consequences. If your friend or partner treats you poorly and they're always met with 'no problem's' or 'i know you didn't mean to's', where's the motivation for them to change? You'd hope that if they cared enough about you they'd want to change, but if you're also downplaying your emotions when they hurt you they probably have no idea how badly you feel. 

I think as women we become emotional managers because we feel responsible for ev-e-ry-thing, including other people's feelings. But sister, it's not your job to fix him when he's ignored you for the 178th time. You don't have to tell him it's all good or that you 'understand' when he's hurt you. He screwed up. Let him fix it. Don't set the table for repairation after he threw all the dishes on the floor. Let him freaking clean it up. 

We safety-net the shit out of consequences for people, especially when it comes to protecting them from OUR FEELINGS. This is crazy so hold on to your butts; when people hurt us we don't want to make them feel bad by letting them know they caused us pain. Our instinct is to value our feelings so little and others so highly that we have a hard time vocalizing our hurt, even to the ones that hurt us. 

That's messed up. 

Its messed up to tolerate the intolerable. To say it's ok for someone to treat you bad. To be worried that asserting yourself and your feelings will hurt THEIR feelings, when they're the ones dishing out hurt in the first place! 

One of the #1 indicators of a great friendship or relationship is the ability to say 'hey that hurt me' and for the other person to apologize. And not only to apologize but to actively try to change the behavior. The only way we can achieve that is by being direct about our feelings and asserting ourselves when needed, because *shocker* our feelings are super important. When someone we care about hurts us we don't always need to turn it into gold, sometimes we need to hold that mirror up and say 'hey, buddy, that sucked'.  

If they're anyone worth keeping they'll apologize and try to avoid it in the future. 

If they don't? Make sure you've been direct about how painful it is, but if you've said it ten million times you need to question how much this person really cares.  

It's not our job to manage other grown up's shitty behavior, god only knows we have enough responsibility with our kids. One of the benchmarks for healthy human development is one's ability to empathize, see hurt where they've caused it, and apologize. 

If he's not apologizing, sister, start walking. It starts with you. Please love yourself enough that when people mess you around you can stand up for yourself. You don't need everyone's love and approval, you need yours, and maybe a few others that legitimately give a shit. 

Stop turning garbage into gold. Let them clean up their own damn messes. You're worth enough to warrant a few 'sorries' and definitely enough to have your feelings respected.

Hang up your wizard hat and save that shit for Halloween.