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.
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