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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  #21, Honey, Where's The Remote?
Ever see the film “Being There” with Peter Sellers?  

Sellers plays an innocent, older man who is a live-in gardner in a large home.  Chancey, his character, is pictured as ‘simple’ in that you get the sense he is not quite ‘all there’… but you can’t quite put your finger on him.  Clearly the people he works for thought it best to shelter him from the world and so his gentle life consists of tending plants and watching television – which he adores.  This is all he knows. When the elderly owner of the home dies, the house is sold and Chancey is forced to leave the estate walls he has lived behind his entire life.

The scene in the film when he walks out the front door and up the road with a suitcase in one hand is wonderful.  You realize immediately that the house, a beautiful estate on the inside, is actually in a very, very run down part of town.  As Chancey makes his way down the road he not only encounters the world for the first time -- he walks straight into the ghetto, and it’s not long before he’s confronted with a rather mean-looking bunch of men. 

Here’s roughly what happens next.

The men begin to get more aggressive and distinctly menacing, and as the pitch rises, Chancey is on totally unfamiliar ground.  Threatened, lost, and in the middle of a potentially dangerous situation, Chancey does the only thing he knows how to do: he reaches in to his pocket and pulls out  … the TV remote and presses the button to change the channel.

When the world is not how we would want it, and people do not behave as we think they should, isn’t how we react very much the equivalent of pointing the remote and hoping for the best?

© 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.