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It's Not About You

Written by: Michelle Gauthier, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


I'm sure you've had that experience. You know, the one where someone erupts at you. It seems like it came out of nowhere, or that they are overreacting to something you said. If you're like me, often you'll wonder what you did, why they're mad at you, and start believing your limiting beliefs.

The thing I've learned over many years, is that it's rarely about you, or that thing that sparked the reaction in general. It's so much more than just putting the toothpaste cap back on the toothpaste. It's so much more about being on your phone during dinner. It's so much more than you always working.

So what is it really about?

Unfortunately I don't have that specific answer. What I do have is some possibilities, and great points to start conversations about. What I can tell you, is it's about that person. Something from their history, beliefs about themselves, multiple occurrences from every area of their life. What I can tell you, is you will never actually know until you talk with that person. They may not even know themselves.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to get started.

1. What happened right before they got upset?

If you can go back to the moment right before the other person got upset, there might be some clues there. Was it completely out of the blue? Is it something that has been discussed/an issue previously? Were you already in a conversation and was it starting to get tense? Did they step on one of the children's toys or just come from a specific room?

Assess the environment first.

2. Be present to what is being said.

There are often clues within the words themselves. Is your spouse/partner talking to you about their frustrations? Are they speaking about how they're not feeling loved or seen or acknowledged? Could it be a friend who was late meeting up with you and they had one event after another delaying them further? Is that person frustrated, mad, sad, or are they even shutting down and becoming small. Are they downplaying the situation, telling you that it's fine, nothing is wrong, yet you know something happened?

3. In what ways could you have some responsibility?

I am not saying you directly triggered the reaction. I am also not saying it is your fault. I am inviting you to see how you played a role. How were you showing up? Were you already reactive? Were you expecting there to be drama? Did you have open or closed body language? Were you interacting with this person just to get it over with, or were you there to actually listen, solve, and be loving towards the other person? Were you listening to respond, or listening to understand? Who is this person to you, and what beliefs do you already have about them? How do you see that person? What unspoken expectations have you been waiting to be met?

This is just a starting point. The most effective, and sometimes the most uncomfortable, way to really know why you were on the receiving end of emotions is to have a really connected conversation with them. Wait until they are ready to talk. "How do I know if they're ready? They seem fine, they said they're fine". Ask them. "I'd love to really understand what is going on for you, would you be open to discussing it?" When you are both ready to have that discussion, be present. Really listen to what they're saying. It could be about something you haven't been doing, which has made them feel a certain way or believe a certain thing about themselves.

A quick example from my life. When I was younger, I ended up exploding at my sister. She had been job searching with no luck. I asked her what she wanted to do for work. She said, 'anything'. So I asked her a few different options, to which she said 'oh no, not that'. I finally had it. "You said anything, yet you won't actually take anything! Why are you complaining you don't have a job if you're not willing to get one?" I was so upset. It didn't dawn on me until years later, that the real reason I was so upset was because I saw myself in her. I saw myself as someone who just did enough to get by, not really having that drive, and yet still complaining when I wasn't even putting the effort in. I was so mad at her, because I didn't like that part of me.

It's not always that simple of a realization. It could be that your spouse has asked you to do X multiple times because it makes them feel loved, valued, and appreciated, so when you haven't done it, they feel alone in the relationship and like they don't have any support. So while it's not about you, it doesn't mean you're not involved.

If it is someone you care about, have that conversation. As you go through your days, remember that every behaviour has a reason. So instead of reacting, get curious. When a stranger is randomly rude to you, maybe they're having a really bad day and something happened in their life.

Don't react, instead respond with love. It's not about you.

If you're curious about how to shift your mindset and release the victim mentality, let's set up a chemistry call to get you started!

Follow me on Instagram and visit my website for more info!


Michelle Gauthier, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Michelle Gauthier, an honors graduate of Psychology and an international life and confidence coach, writes about fitness, self-love, and boosting confidence. She has overcome a toxic workplace that left her with anxiety, depression, and low self-worth. Michelle is now a thriving founder of Phoenix Coaching, following her passion for teaching and coaching millennials to regain control of their lives, build their inner power, and live in possibility.



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