I had an interesting experience on Saturday morning, and another poignant realisation around the way I view the World.
Throughout the morning, I was getting notifications about people commenting on my blog and liking some of my pages. Now, this in itself isn’t unusual, but the content was.
This person was leaving all sorts of needling nasty comments about me, my blog and basically taking the piss out of the things I’ve chosen to write about here. I know who this person is because I have their IP address, and it was the same IP address leaving all the nasty comments despite the person using multiple different e-mail addresses belonging to some of my work colleagues (one of which they didn’t even get right so a bit of a giveaway).
Another tell tale clue about who this person is was in the e-mail addresses they used, and some of the things they said in their childish comments – obviously a disgruntled past employee who had detailed information about my work life.
It wasn’t the comments or the things they said that I found particularly interesting, but like with the druggies cooking up heroin in a Manchester City Centre car park stairwell, it was my reaction, and more importantly the process of my own observations of myself and my thoughts that was most interesting and valuable.
At first, when these comments started to come through, I felt myself starting to react in a deeply emotional way. I could feel my blood starting to boil – I was getting upset, turning over this persons comments in my mind as if I was trying them on for size and asking, ‘does this description really fit?’. I began feeling pissed off and upset that someone who say such things about me, and I found it deeply disappointing that someone of that age would be so childish as to waste their time doing such a thing – especially as it was so obvious who it was. What did they hope to achieve? What was the point? Were their words an accurate representation of who I am? Do words left in the ether by another really define my personality, my character, and my values?
My first reaction was to start replying to the comments in defence – to give as good as I was getting, and to argue my own point of view. But, I was at a fork in the road – I had a choice. I realised that my instinctual reaction, my urge to fly into a battle of the keyboards in self-defence, was nothing more than the ancient part of my brain recognising what it considered to be a threat, and activating my ‘fight or flight’ response to keep me alive (silly brain, no lions around here…). My response to the situation was not measured and so I realised that allowing my emotions to take control was not going to deliver the best outcome for me in this (or any) situation.
Again I faced existing in a moment of deep introspection – almost like putting life on pause, stepping out of the screen showing the movie of your life, pressing play again and having the privilege of being able to watch the events of your life unfold as if your watching from the outside looking in – it offers the opportunity to take a calm and objective look at the situation at hand, and to subsequently give yourself the gift of making a calm and considered decision about how to move forward rather than being quite literally blinded by the almost debilitating concoction of hormones coursing through your bloodstream. Ever lose your temper and say/do things that you didn’t mean, and later looked back on with complete disbelief that you did or said those things? That’s a surefire sign you let your emotions take control and apply the low level of thinking that one would be expected to apply being faced with a 10ft tall angry, hungry bear in the woods; run, freeze or fight!
After all, our brains are there to keep us alive – not to make us happy; that’s our job.
So I observed a healthy shift in my state as my thoughts moved to consideration and contemplation of the facts of the situation. My thinking quite literally moved from my amygdala to my neocortex – the place where the logical mind lives and thrives. Simply, I started to realise that just because someone brings words to life, either in person or through text, doesn’t mean there’s any level of intrinsic truth to them at all. We each view the World through a series of lenses that are our past experiences, and so everyone sees things differently in one way or another. Just because one person sees a situation one way, doesn’t mean that is the only interpretation of that particular event or situation and it doesn’t mean that any one perception is any more valid, real or based in truth than any other.
I realised how sad it was that this poor person had spent literally hours of their day reading my blog just to leave some nasty comments that no one would ever see apart from me. I chose to let them wash right over me, never touching me or dictating my state. My mind is my own, and I take full responsibility for my thoughts, the actions those thoughts result in, and the results I get from my actions. No one can take my thoughts from me, and my thoughts control my state – that means I am in total control of my state of wellbeing all the time, and that is an empowering realisation.
Not only did I feel sympathy for this poor person who is never going to get back the hours of their life they wasted on being an arsehole, but I also started to feel a deep sense of appreciation for them and their actions. I began to feel a deep sense of gratitude about how their actions had triggered this deep realisation in me, and how they had created an opportunity for deep personal introspection that I had subsequently found so valuable. I was sincerely grateful for the opportunity to look deep inside myself, and to see a more beautiful way of living. Isn’t it amazing how love can be born of hate in this way?
The other realisation I had was that this person was actually doing me a massive favour – thanks to their trolling, the views on my blog that day were very healthy and so this improved the overall ranking and visibility of my blog on-line – thanks very much! Further to this, as I run word ads on my pages, every time this person went to a different page or blog, I got paid!
So, in moving my thinking from my initial emotional reaction to my logical mind I realised that not only do these words mean nothing to me, no one but me has seen them, and this person’s actions had improved the rating and visibility of my blog so more people will see it (this is great because it means it can help and inspire more people), and earned me money in the process!
So tell me – what’s not to love about haters?
As our thinking so dramatically determines our results, it is extremely important that we monitor and observe our own thoughts and thinking processes. We must take the time to look at the situation, but also at ourselves at a deep level, in order to derive the best course of thought around any given situation. Better thinking means better actions, and better actions mean better results. More often than not, there is a positive side to every situation, and there is ALWAYS a lesson to be learned (often, multiple lessons from any single experience). Be open to those lessons, and make sure you are the one in control of your thoughts and actions.
“Don’t believe a thought you think”
– T. Harv Eker
It’s important to realise that more often than you realise your thoughts are not your own – they are the product of external forces, social conditioning and distorted inputs. Always strive to approach your thoughts with the consideration that those thoughts might be the product of some form of external conditioning rather than coming from your core values, and always strive to inspect them to ensure the thoughts you think are not only your own, but that they serve your mission to realise a better life for you and those around you, and that they support you in becoming the best you can be.
Love your haters – they provide untold opportunities for growth, gratitude and a level of motivation and drive that has the ability to push you beyond previous conceived limits of living an extraordinary life when properly directed.
You decide how you interpret the things that life will throw at you – you have no control whatsoever over the game, but you have complete and total control over how you perceive it and what level you play at. You choose the meaning you attribute to the events in your life – you can take value from them and you can learn from them, or you can close your mind and let your emotions rule you and dictate the results in your life. Are you going to get dragged kicking and screaming through life by the horse and cart, or are you going to live a life of gratitude because you see the valuable lessons in everything that comes your way? The choice is yours – own it, and thrive.