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Pair #89 How did you get into my head?
"There is only one way to happiness, and that is to stop worrying about   things that are beyond our control." ~ Epictetus

I was thinking about today's topic: things that are out of our control.  It reminded me of something that happened in my life that I hadn't thought about for a long time.

When I was 20 I had a stalker.  

Now, he was someone who wouldn't leave me alone, and wouldn't leave my friends alone and would go to any lengths to find me. No matter how hard I tried to hide, eventually he would turn up at work or at my door.  I became very frightened, and I remember vividly to this day what it was like to wonder whether I was safe, whether he would find me, whether something bad was about to happen.

A situation like this has many elements that are out of control.  I couldn't have control over his actions, decisions or whereabouts.  I also felt very little control in my own life.

Looking back on this event I know that I had very little understanding of my inner world, and even while I was taking action on the outside to protect myself, it took me a while to see and overcome the inner panic that I took with me everywhere I went.

And there is one learning from this I cherish and would like to talk about today: 

my inner state is mine.   

It cannot really be disturbed by anyone or anything else.

When I fled the country to 'get away' all those years ago, I wish I had known that I didn't have to take him with me in my head.  That particular piece of the story took a bit longer for me to see.  Now I know more about my own state of mind and the elements that play into how I feel within myself.  

And, in the end, I'm very glad that other people can't actually step into our heads.

We do have to let them in.

Which means we can kick them out.

 
 
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Pair #43  When The Scales Fall
Much I as would rather hear positive thinking than negative, I’ll take my own feeble insights over inspirational sips from someone else’s fountain any day.

Maybe I should explain myself, for I realize that 'insight' could be defined in may ways.   I'm going to define insights as what happens in us when we have a moment of observation about the truth of our world and our experience: perhaps we notice what works and what doesn't for us, perhaps we notice the link between things, perhaps we have a AHA! of some sort based seeing something a new way - even if we’ve encountered it many times before.

Insights are personal, specific to us, and don't always (or maybe even ever) apply to other people. Although when shared they can have value for others, the main value of an insight is that it tends to reset the direction of our own inner compass.

And it happens in a wisp of a moment.  

Sometimes for me that feels like the moment I take a stand.  Other times I feel that as a sense of release or a feeling of "this, and not that." But it is always sweet clarity.

No matter whether we are talking to a friend or a coach, the moments that have the most meaning, are those when our own insights pop up in plain view.  Like a balloon we’ve tried to hold underwater.  

That’s why advice from others is so unnecessary and more often than not, unwelcome.   

The biggest disservice we can render anyone is to try to replace their wisdom with our own.

© 2010 Elese Coit
If you wish to reprint, feel free, please link back here and if it's of use, include:
"Elese Coit is a leader in transformative personal change and Hosts the Radio Show A New Way To Handle Absolutely Everything. To see the world differently, reach for one of her '101 New Pairs of Glasses' each day on http://elesecoit.com"

Thank you.
 
 
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Pair #30 Waiter, that's not who I ordered!
A special complaint place used to be allocated for moaning about other individuals - it was called the water cooler.  And although that’s now probably more likely to be the coffee room or the smoking area, figuratively speaking, we all have ‘gathered round the water cooler’ with friend or colleagues to do some collective kvetching about people who annoy us.

A while ago a friend was telling me her particular complaint about a long-time customer of the place where she works.  After a long story about what happened between them, the real complaint landed: “I would NEVER that.  He should not have said what he said.” (substitute: “they should know better,” “that’s outrageous,” etc.)

My response to her predicament was, “Oh, I understand.  You were expecting someone else to show up in this person’s body that day?”

The easiest way to be frustrated daily is simple:  Take someone and expect them to act or speak differently than they do.  This recipe for you feeling bad will work 100% of the time.  

Every time I have tried to control others I’ve failed.  That goes for wanting them to stop doing something as well as wanting them to feel better. People do exactly and precisely what they want to do and that doesn’t always please us.  And frankly. That really isn’t their job anyway.

If I don’t like how someone is behaving, I either get out of dodge or put a boundary down more strongly than before.  A boundary is not a behavioral dictate to another, it is a clear statement about what can and cannot be done in your presence.  You can tell a boundary becuase you can actually back up if you need to. 

But although we know that we cannot control people and we are still complaining that they act in ways that make us unhappy and implying if only they would just stop being themselves, we could feel fine.

That's a recipe for frustration.  Give it up.

The only question we ever really face is not “how do I make them act differently?” but “how do I want to feel right now?” 

When you know that, then you know what to do.
© 2010 Elese Coit
If you wish to reprint, feel free, please link back here and if it's of use, include:
"Elese Coit is a leader in transformative personal change and Hosts the Radio Show A New Way To Handle Absolutely Everything. To see the world differently, reach for one of her '101 New Pairs of Glasses' each day on http://elesecoit.com"

Thank you.
 
 
Wanted: one person who, against all odds, reason and the free will of other people will move all animate objects into positions that will, once and for all time, make everyone happy. 

OK, I know that sounds ridiculous.  You know that sounds ridiculous. 

So why are we doing it?

If you take only a few minutes to listen to a conversation happening near you I guarantee you it won’t take long to detect all the directives, dictates and must-do’s that we have for other people.  They should call. They shouldn’t call. They should get over it. They shouldn’t be rude. They should be kind. They should get tough. And on and on…

Becoming the expert on what other people should do is a miserable  game that one person always loses: you.  But only 100% of the time.

In order to be Universal Project Manager In Charge of Making All Things Behave The Way They Should, we must ignore two basic truths. One is that we cannot change other people and two, that we cannot make other people happy – no matter what.

Every time I think that someone needs to do something differently in order for me to feel better, I am ignoring one or both of those. 

And who suffers as a result? Them or me?

The minute I ignore the difference between what I can control and what I cannot, I just signed up for the worst job in the world.  It's the energy-depleting job of lining up everyone else so that I don't have to feel so bad.

I need to manage someone’s anger so they don’t direct it at me – so that I can feel better.   I need them to seat me quickly at the restaurant - so I don’t have to feel frustrated. I need someone to call me - so that I can tell myself they do care about me and stop worrying whether they love me. 

It’s a never-ending list of things to control.

No wonder Hell Is Other People!

People don’t behave. Absolutely not. But we only suffer over that when we entertain that it is possible to manage them in a way that pleases us - instead of going to the source and just working where the real problem is.

I think we can all can find one person in our experience we are truly convinced needs to change.  But would you be willing to try, for one day, giving up trying to fix or control anyone other than yourself and your own feelings?  

Resign as project manager of the universe for a day or more this week.  Let others do their thing and you just do yours.  Including learning how to feel good when other people seem to be making that impossible.

Hell is not other people.  Hell is the compulsion to change others so I can feel good. 
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Pair #8 If Only They'd Behave I'd Be Fine
© 2010 Elese Coit
If you wish to reprint, feel free, please link back here and if it's of use, include:
"Elese Coit is a leader in transformative personal change and Hosts the Radio Show A New Way To Handle Absolutely Everything. To see the world differently, reach for one of her '101 New Pairs of Glasses' each day on http://elesecoit.com"

Thank you.