There are certain milestones in one’s life that create a “before and after” point.
Like graduating high school. Graduating college. Getting married. Having your first kid.
By default, life can’t continue on the same way after each of those occurrences. To try to move on with the same mentality after an event such as any of those, well, it’s pretty much pointless.
We are forced to evolve throughout certain points in life. If not, we become irrelevant to society and to ourselves, in the new stage in life we have just entered.
It’s once we start becoming familiar with the new version of ourselves, after being forced to evolve, that it becomes easier to look back before that milestone and realize, “Wow, I was kind of an idiot back then. I didn’t know better at the time, but still, I feel sorry for anyone who knew that version of me. Oops!”
I have felt that way at many points throughout my 36 years on this planet.
But I must say, I have never been more aware of any milestone in my life so far, than the one I surpassed two years ago at the age of 34.
The milestone? No longer internally allowing anyone to offend me, insult me, or hurt my feelings. It was at age 34 that I realized it’s actually a personal choice whether or not I allow other people’s words to emotionally disrupt me. I lived the first 34 years of my life not realizing or embracing that truth.
Back in 2015, I was very aware of my particular age, as a study had just came out claiming that age 34 is the happiest age to be. And sure enough, I couldn’t argue with that:
My family had just moved into a brand new house in a cul-de-sac far away from the bustle of Nashville. My wife and I found out we would be having another child. Not to mention, our son was 4 years old; more independent and easy to parent him than ever before!
Plus, I had just gotten serious about legitimately becoming a YouTuber on the side; having been inspired by watching the documentary, Please Subscribe, which was on Netflix at the time.
As I taught myself how to build a following on my YouTube Channel, I soon realized how important it was to remain emotionally unaffected by people who watched my videos and harshly criticized me; from a destructive, not constructive, point of view.
I recognized how many of my viewers were strangers to the concept of emotional intelligence; which I had studied in my Human Resources course that I voluntarily had taken a few years prior.
My experience as a new YouTuber inspired me to make a video where I eventually challenged the entire free world to insult me. I bet you can already predict the results…
That’s right. No one was able to offend me or hurt my feelings.
Because I went into it knowing that it was my decision whether or not I gave control to another human being power or control over my emotions.
And that it was when it hit me like an M. Night Shyamalan twist ending:
If it is my decision whether or not I gave control to another human being power or control over my emotions for some kid who I don’t even know on the Internet, then I also have that same power and control for when the person who “offends” me is someone I actually do know; even someone who I know extremely well. That includes my wife!
My life has never been the same since. I am in control of my own life now.
No one, not anyone, has the ability to disrespect me, offend me, insult me, or hurt my feelings anymore; because I do not allow them to, from within. Because it is a personal choice to give them that authority.
It is a choice to not be a victim.
Just as we choose everyday whether our words and actions will either build up or break down another person, we also have the same responsibility to choose whether or not we allow ourselves to be hurt after another person chooses to use hurtful words against us.
It is a choice. But for most of us, for most of our lives, we just let the default happen.
We allow ourselves to become offended, especially by the people we are closest to in life.
Can you imagine how freeing of an experience that was for me to realize that?
Can you imagine how the quality of my life has dramatically improved in the past two years?
Granted, I’m probably a little more disconnected from the world now. But not in a bad way, I don’t think.
I don’t get angry or emotional about stuff anymore. Nor do I get involved or influenced by O.P.P. (That’s “other people’s problems”, by the way.)
These days, I just get to live my own life. So yeah, forget anything I said before I turned 34.
That guy didn’t know what he was talking about. Sorry about that.