Toilet woman

In the stall next to me, a woman is on her cell phone.

She’s booking an appointment. I can’t tell with whom. Is it nails? Her therapist? Her oncologist? Her voice echoes over the empty bathroom stalls.

I snap the paper toilet seat cover down and sit. This is really uncomfortable. I’m going to make pee noises. The woman in the stall next to me is chatting away.

I hesitate, then I get mad. She’s the one breaking the rules, I think, not me. I am going to pee as loud as I want.

When I get up to flush, I’m frozen again. I’m thinking how awkward it must be for the person on the other end of her phone to hear all the noises of a public bathroom. I’m actually thinking about the feelings of the person the woman beside me is not thinking about at all. This is ridiculous.

I flush. It’s really loud.

As I’m washing my hands I realize that I have just seen what happens when you break a social norm. It’s not embarrassing the woman next to me to talk to a stranger while using the bathroom. But it’s embarrassing me. Because I go around thinking that everyone feels like me: I would never call someone from inside a public toilet stall. Ever. I think that everyone else thinks like me, too.

Until someone snaps that idea in half.

My hate mail

I get hate mail all the time. I’ve gotten it for years. It started at least a decade ago or more, when I created Hay House Radio, and people would send me, the Network Producer, hate mail about the particular shows I aired and how I should run them better or even kick certain hosts off the station. (Yes, Wayne Dyer got hate mail, Louise Hay got hate mail….it’s pretty universal). It taught me a lot about people.

So for no particular reason, I found myself trolling my old book reviews this morning, and getting a laugh out of the particularly hostile ones. Book reviews can be a form of hate mail.

Here’s a condensed excerpt of a book review I stumbled on that’s so bitter, I even forwarded to my mom (she gets a laugh).

Apart from coming across as abrasively full of herself ”¦ in fact it is apparent that Ms Summer has lived a very nice life and apparently has no concept of how bad life can get, how little control ordinary people may have over certain things. It seems to me that Ms Summer is the lucky owner of a newly minted soul, a first lifer (you get them), still reflecting the in glory of wholeness. How nice. Enjoy it while you can.

If I were you Summer, I would have a serious chat with my ‘guides’, your higher self or wherever you are getting your guidance from, because the info you are getting is flawed. Also, read a bit perhaps. Find out what’s out there before making sweeping statements about life, the universe and everything. A considerate person would hedge her bets, show some humility (none here!!!) and show some understanding for the common human experience, which is in fact not all colored roses bubbles and bliss.”

If I were this woman, I’d have thought, “No big deal. I don’t like this book. Move on.”

But this person got deeply triggered, and this is where things can actually get dangerous. She wants me to get triggered with her. She wants me to feel how she feels.

And if I’m not careful, this means that not only could I get really upset or sad, but even worse . . . I could begin to subconsciously hold this other person’s opinion of me inside myself.

If I believe her, and feel hurt by her, then I’m accepting her opinion inside me of who I actually am.

And if I did that, I’d be letting this stranger have power over me, from inside me. Then I’d start to fail to me be, and become a little more like her.

I’d have given her that power over me. Follow that? That’s the Big Daddy concept here.

It’s not about whether or not you’re hurt by words, it’s the slow build-up of doubt they can create. It’s someone else telling you how to think and feel, and if you believe them even the teeniest bit, then you start living a little less like yourself, and a little more like them.

Her words remind me of other emails and reviews I’ve received, most of which tell me how in some way or another I’m fatally flawed, selfish, insensitive, or ignorant and then prescribe how I should fix myself.

Which leads me to remember another email I got a few years back in response to a newsletter just like this one, which, I’ve started to realize, did in fact affect me.

Here’s how that one went down:

The emperor wears no clothes

It’s cold – as in air-conditioning cold – in the hotel conference room. I’m gathered with a bunch of other women at a self-development conference, and we’ve been picking apart our lives (in between shivering or baking) all weekend.

Many of the women are coaches. In fact, I’d say 80% are, which is why this weekend has been so difficult for us.

You know the old saying: “The emperor has no clothes”? It refers to a fairy tale in which an emperor is hoodwinked into believing that two tailors have made him the most handsome outfit in the world. However, if you’re stupid or ignorant, he’s told, you can’t see the clothes. Of course, this is all bullshit and the tailors made nothing. The emperor walks naked down the street in a procession, yet all his townsfolk except one honest child are afraid to say what they really see.

Today we use this phrase to mean that we sometimes portray things about ourselves to others that are deeply untrue, because we’ve hoodwinked our own selves into believing them. It means we can be hypocrites, that we’re false under our own words.

I find that coaches often carry this energy in their own Flow. It’s embarrassing. Here we are, leading people into knowledge and guiding them toward their desires, while our own desires are unfulfilled and we fail to follow our own advice.

Think: the plumber whose own pipes are always broken. The accountant whose own accounts are a mess. You get the idea.

The question is: Does this mean we’re truly illegitimate? Hypocritical? Are we sipping our own Kool Aid? Are we wearing no clothes?