Listen to Yourself: Own Only What is Yours

In 2001 I went to the International Black Summit  that was held in Memphis Tennessee. As participants, we were working on developing ourselves,  so we could be a better contribution to our community and the world.  That year we were living in the question, “what is available by consciously owning all that I create.”

I struggled with the understanding that my words, behaviours and actions were creating the life that I had. I saw other people as preventing me from being all I could be. Afterall, I was a fairly intelligent and well-educated woman.

With great frustration, I shared with my Summit colleagues that my boss had told me that I was too detailed and I would never get promoted in that organization. I may not have said it, but I really felt I wasn’t good enough.

One female participant told me over and over again, in a chastising manner (it seemed to me), that I was too detailed and too analytical. It was happening again. Someone was putting me down, and holding me back. I couldn’t stand her. She frustrated me to no end. I had to talk to a facilitator about her. The facilitator said to me, “consider that what she is communicating may not be all about you. Consider that she is telling you about herself. Only you can make it about you. Only you can own all that she is saying.” A glaring light bulb went on.

I was certainly detailed and analytical! I owned that. The perception that these were negative traits I did not create, and believing it, was causing me to foster the creation of negative things in my life. Those negative perceptions were not about me. I would not own them.

From then on, whenever the participant said I was detailed and analytical, I would proudly say, “yes, and I am ok with that.”  Once my trigger was gone, I could hear that she was very much like me, detailed and analytical, and she was not ok with it! I became a listening for her and all the issues she was dealing with at home. 

I went back to work owning my detailed nature, and seeing it as a wonderful blessing. I got the promotion my boss said I would not likely have!

So whenever anyone speaks to you about you, consider taking time to listen to yourself and ask if this is truly you. Then accept and own all that is you, and let go of all that is not. Knowing that with the latter, someone is telling you something about himself/herself. This provides a great opportunity to listen to and for others.

Copyright © 2011 M. Dawn Armstrong. All rights reserved.

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