After taking my son to freshman orientation out of state, I
came home to Providence and to my precocious grey cat
Althea. Althea was not happy that I had left her at home, so
she woke me up at 7am by breaking glasses. I am serious.
She broke two glasses.
You should know that I had someone stay at the house with
her for most of the time that I was gone. She was well cared
for, even entertained, but for her that did not matter. She
did not get what she felt entitled to, so she gave me the cat
version of the middle fi nger.
She is now sleeping soundly on the chair like nothing ever
happened. So what is the moral of the story?
No matter how hard you try, the people who love you
may get angry if they don’t get what they want. This is a
common occurrence when we start to change ourselves—
like when we take on a new exercise plan or diet.
How often have you doubted your direction or changed your
commitments because you made someone close to you
upset? Or, even, how often have you not expressed your
pleasure or displeasure to avoid upsetting others?
You can’t create the life you want if you pay too much
attention to every whim and mood of the people around you.
I am not saying you shouldn’t care. Listening to the people
we love is very important. However, where things get tricky
is when we stop listening to ourselves because of what we
hear. To stay on track, we must listen deeply to ourselves
and care about the right things.
The right things are: Did I do the best I could? Did I act in
a way that is in line with my values? Did I stay true to my
We also need to determine when a negative reaction is
a sign that we are letting go what no longer serves us or
when it is a sign that we are going in the wrong direction.
Sometimes the frustration of another person can be a reason
to jump to the conclusion that “it is a sign” you are doing
something wrong,when really, it is a moment to check in
with yourself. How do you feel about what you are doing
and where you are heading? If you feel good when you think
about your direction, then keep going and be ready for life to
shift around you. If you don’t feel good about your direction,
then really pause to take in the feedback. See how it can
help inform you about your next steps.
Dr. Kate holds a PhD in Psychology from Saybrook University and has provided
world-class training in entrepreneurial and personal development for more than a
decade. Her business, Dr. Kate Inc., provides mentoring, retreats, virtual classes
and more to help highly motivated individuals change the world for the better by