Following a game last year, the opposing coach refused to shake my hand. I’m not sure if he felt slighted by something our team did or was upset about something I might have done before or during the game, but, for whatever reason, he refused to shake my hand. Following the game our coaches talked about it and tried to understand why he was so upset, but never really reached any sensible conclusion.
I had completely forgotten about the situation until a friend brought up the notion of disrespect as it pertains to shaking, or not shaking hands. Of course, he jokingly referenced the situation following our game as his cornerstone example.
But disrespect wasn’t really something I felt. Anger maybe, but not sure why. Confusion, definitely. But not disrespect.
Then I wondered why.
Why Should We Care? I believe very strongly in whatever the opposite of a victim mindset is. We are not at the mercy of everyone else’s mood or emotion. We are in charge of our lives and our greatest strength is always the ability to choose how we want to view a situation. We are not victims - unless we agree to be. Unless we give consent.
The disrespect question didn’t register because I didn’t consent to it. Why would I? I didn’t know that coach personally. Why would I willingly choose to give him the power to make me feel disrespected?
How often do we do it though? The co-worker’s comment that you play over and over in your head is you giving consent. The friend that ignores your text message and ruins the rest of your day is you giving consent. The stranger that throws trash on the ground, setting you off about everything wrong with the world is you giving consent.
Here’s the short of it: If you’re feeling offended, you’re consenting to that feeling pushed on you by someone else. If you’re feeling betrayed, you’re consenting to that feeling pushed on you by someone else. If you’re feeling inferior, you’re consenting to that feeling pushed on you by someone else. That's not to say the feelings are never justified or warranted. The important thing to realize is that the choice is yours - not theirs.
REAL TALK - Action Steps The concept of giving consent really connects back to our mindset and perspective on life. People with a positive, proactive mindset are much less likely to view themselves as victims. Though it happens to all of us at times, here are a few ideas to make sure you aren’t consenting to things you don’t want to.
Green means GO! A green light mentality is positive, confident, and hopeful. It views challenges as opportunities, appreciating the resistance necessary for true growth, and focused on growth first. Green light mentality is encouraging.
Control the R-Factor
From Focus 3’s E + R = O formula, Event + Response = Outcome, the R-Factor is your commitment to control the one thing you can control, your Response. We don’t give consent when we aren’t thinking about things outside our control. By focusing on our R-Factor, we zero in on controllables and zoom out on being a victim.
Know Your Square Squad
Consent given to people outside your square squad, those closest to you that truly care about you as a person, is a waste of your time. Whether it is positive or negative, is irrelevant too. They don’t know you. Why would you give them any power over you?
Social media is a major source of these feelings of inferiority I see kids dealing with all the time in school. They look, they compare, and they give the comments of strangers the power to make them feel less than they are. It's sad, but it's the norm - not only in high schools, but in society.
How about you? What, or who, are giving consent to?
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