Shedding light in a dark bar.

That thing nearly blinded me. The words wow the light on your phone is so bright rolled out of my mouth and I never saw what happened next coming. His response was I am having a good time, why are you coming at me? And several additional defensive remarks. My coach senses started tingling. I personally find it is amazing what you can learn from someone if you pay attention to the details. I decided to go in and find out where this was coming from. Why are you taking this so personally I asked? Then the conversation started. As it turns out my dear friend had been in an abusive relationship for years. He got used to being bullied about everything from the way he dressed to what he ate. So sometimes his past patterns show their ugly head when he least expects it. The thing is that nobody had ever called him on it or maybe even noticed. Until last night, he hadn’t even realized that he was still defending himself. It’s his phone, he can have whatever brightness setting he wants to. Truth be told, I was just making conversation. Who cares how bright someone else’s phone is? This is a profound example of what happens when you let other’s have power over you. No-one has the right to take your decision making ability away. No one should make choices for you or suggest that theirs’ are better than yours. This is not ok. Your preferences are perfect for you.

Abusive patterns take many shapes and sizes. Another friend had a similar but different experience. He likes his wristwatch to be loose around his wrist. This is what is comfortable for him. His girlfriend doesn't like how that looks so she made him get rid of a link so it would fit tighter. Really?! What’s insane about this is that he actually did it. Now he no longer wears that watch because it’s not comfortable. He says he avoided a fight. I say you gotta stand up for yourself. I see this all the time. Once you start bowing down to what others want it doesn’t take long for things to spiral our of control. Life is too short. You are no longer a child that needs to be told what to do. You are an adult. It is your right to make your own decisions. You deserve to be respected in all manner of things. Especially the little ones that make you uniquely you.

We ended up re-doing the conversation with my friend at the bar. The light on your phone is so bright! Yeah it is and this is only mid brightness. You wanna see it in full blast? We had a good laugh and came up with a bunch of silly answers. Most importantly, my friend feels a little lighter and a lot more comfortable about his right express himself.