Thank you for all of your inspiring, “shedding” feedback responding to last week’s Illuminate— I love hearing from you! José Luis, from Venezuela, shared with me his profoundly poignant story:
‘We live in an endless loop of fall and winter here, caused by the severe crisis we are passing through. I think instinctively I have shed almost everything, including sometimes basic needs but not my HOPE. I’m optimistic, and I know nothing in this life is permanent. I share some of your items in the list of Absolutely Essential: My Noble Goal, Relationships, Mindfulness but mostly I try to be grateful for everything I still have… and being able to learn for the adversity.‘
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Let me tell you about my friend, Lisa*. She is a yoga teacher who, like most of us, struggles with a limiting belief about herself. Her specific flavor of limiting belief: “I must make everyone happy”.
A few weeks ago, Lisa told me about a particularly annoying student she teaches in her yoga classes. “She just drives me nuts,” she told me. “I don’t know why she bothers me SO much. She’s just impossible to please; I try all kinds of different techniques with her, and it makes no difference. She literally never smiles.”
I imagine that most of us wouldn’t particularly enjoy teaching this kind of person, but I could sense that this student profoundly provoked Lisa. Just talking about the student, Lisa’s body tensed up, her skin reddened, and her voice edged on defensive. For Lisa, this student isn’t a garden-variety annoying person… she’s one of Lisa’s Sandpaper People.
A Sandpaper Person is that excruciatingly special person in your life who just gets under your skin. Like sandpaper, they rub your skin raw in such an exquisitely painful way that you just want to scream + push them away. But why? Let’s look at Lisa’s situation.
Lisa’s limiting belief, “I must make everyone happy” is met with a yoga student who never smiles. Lisa carries this hole of limiting belief in her chest, and her student’s disposition fits exactly into the same shape.
Sandpaper has more purpose than to annoy wood. Sandpaper also shapes wood into its core self. It rubs away the excess that need not be. Lisa’s Sandpaper Person tells her: “Wake up. You need not make everyone happy.”
Ready to identify your Sandpaper Person?
*Real friend, fake name 🙂
1. Who is your Sandpaper Person?
Thinking about your daily life, identify someone who particularly rubs you the wrong way. This person probably makes you feel strong emotions with little provocation.
2. Interact with them.
Your “homework” this week is to interact with your Sandpaper Person at least once. During this interaction, pay attention to #3…
3. Recognize the patterns.
What exactly do they do that makes you feel rubbed raw? Is it a certain behavior or a way that they look? Recognize the patterns of their behavior + the patterns it brings up in your own thoughts/ feelings/ actions. Strive to better understand exactly what it is about them that makes you feel rubbed raw.
Next week, you will use this information to study YOU. Your Sandpaper Person’s annoying habits will help you better understand + tend to your limiting beliefs.
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What emotions are brought up for you when you think about your Sandpaper Person?
Can you imagine being in Lisa’s shoes? Can you see how her yoga student might help her grow?
Stay tuned for next week, when we delve into the lessons your Sandpaper Person has to teach you.
Illuminate is a weekly e-mail series that provides practical tips + galvanizing inspirations for practicing an emotionally intelligent life. In our time together, we’ll operate from the assumption that you have all the wisdom you need inside of yourself + that you have a purpose the world needs to see. We will explore the tools + techniques to illuminate your own inner wisdom and purpose. If you’d like to receive this free gift of goodness in your inbox every week, subscribe here.
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- Illuminate: How Do You React to Others’ Vulnerability? - November 19, 2019