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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