A few years ago, I discovered something remarkable that has changed my life.
I found out you don’t HAVE to think about stuff.
When someone has been hurtful to you, you don’t have to replay those memories over and over again.
You don’t have to give the Disrupters in your life air time. You aren’t going to “figure things out” by going over them again and again in your mind. You aren’t going to have “a better understanding” of people by rehashing “he said/she saids” as if you can create a different past or orchestrate a future free of discord.
When someone is unaware of their crappy behavior, you don’t have to point it out to them. You can just put your attention elsewhere!
This is true even if this person is a regular part of your life. The exception here is if the behavior is abusive. Then you DO need to act.
Otherwise, though, there are really very few circumstances where you need to “go over things” with a person who repeatedly brings you trouble. You can’t change other people. It’s a better investment in time and energy to change you.
Here are some things you CAN change about yourself:
You CAN decide not to be upset by stuff.
If you aren’t able to be nonreactive to other people’s stuff, you CAN decide to limit the amount of time you spend being upset by their stuff.
If you can’t limit the amount of time you spend being upset by their stuff, you CAN decide to ask for help with YOUR obsession with their stuff (that’s what it is, Sweet Pea, when you can’t stop thinking about stuff.)
So, anyway, you can decide to get help with your obsession – you CAN talk to a counselor, a mentor, your partner, etc.
And then, after you’ve talked with someone you trust, you CAN decide to get up off your butt and put your attention elsewhere. You CAN take a walk, or bake a cake, or clean out a closet and give stuff to the local Goodwill or something.
Service work will help you get out of your own head. It will bring you perspective and gratitude. And it will also prove to you that you have something to give. That means you are worthwhile. That means your life is worthwhile. That means that all is not lost.
What you don’t HAVE to do is “figure stuff out.” In fact, you don’t even have to THINK about that stuff!
Nope. If you have repeated trouble with someone, and they don’t want to work on it with you, then your only choices – the only ones that will bring you peace anyway – are to ACCEPT that this is the way things are. Or, to CHANGE yourself – your expectations, your responses.
You could, for example, give up your RIGHTS.
But “it’s not fair!” you say?
So what … now what?
Who says life is fair? Is it fair that while we are complaining about our spouse, our school system, our politics, our economy, our whatever – right at this moment – there are other women who have to walk MILES just to get water to keep their kids alive today?
Is it fair that, while we are griping about how broken our health care system is, other women in other places are holding their children while they die of completely curable childhood illnesses simply because they were unlucky enough to be born somewhere without access to basic medical services?
Is it fair that, while we are bitching about stuff with our best friends at the local coffee shop, RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT, another woman is trying to keep her kids calm while mortar shells are exploding outside?
Is it fair that your kid has a crappy teacher, but just a few miles away, in a poorer district, another mother’s kid was hit by a stray bullet while playing in their own living room!?
What is fair? Who decides?
If you must DWELL on something, dwell on that.
And after you have had a romp with perspective, come back to your One Beautiful Life and think about what you CAN DO RIGHT NOW to change YOUR PART of the relationships that trouble you.
Can you bring compassion, understanding, and the spirit of forgiveness to everyone you meet? If not, can you at least remove your cloak of martyrdom long enough for a much-needed trip to the cleaners?
If you can’t change the people you live and work with, can you refrain from sulking and silent scorn when in their presence?
Can you stop punishing people for being less than perfect in your eyes? And, can you do all this while still having beautiful compassion for yourself? Can you forgive yourself for not seeing your part?
Wisdom doesn’t mean superiority. Wisdom without compassion and humility isn’t wisdom at all. It’s hubris.
Seek to be a source of healing today. Bring the spirit of love to everyone you meet – including yourself.
Love, Service, Forgiveness, Truth, Compassion, Humility . . . these are some of the real and eternal things we seek today.
Namaste, Beautiful You!
P.S. If you have ever been in a “he said/she said” conversation, PLEASE share this post with your friends via the buttons below.
Photo: Flickr, historic brussels