I am not a control freak. I’m not being sarcastic, or defensive. I’m really not. But I’ve noticed this week that there are things that I feel responsible for that aren’t mine. Every time I take on someone else’s stuff, asked or unasked, I just make myself a little more overwhelmed (last weeks topic) and frustrated and annoyed.
Let me be clear about this topic. There is stuff in life that is mine, like brushing my teeth, how I dress and being on time, or polite. There is stuff that isn’t mine-whether or no my son is brushing his teeth, what my daughter wears, or how polite my neighbor is. I was given a great way to talk about this last spring in a “Power Struggle” parenting class. Our fabulous instructor Allison Rees said that in life we have baskets. Some are shared-family basket includes things that impact us all, like a shared space (TV room or bathroom) some are just the kids (eating) As a parent, I tend to take ownership of things that aren’t mine (how many times have I said “Will you be warm enough dressed like that?) Eating? Kid basket. Getting homework done? Kid basket. But as a parent, can I bear to watch my kid eat Frosted Flakes as dinner? Nope. But eating is his responsibility. He controls it, not me. Before I end up boring you and frustrating myself with my parenting issues, let me take this back to my life.
I’ve noticed that I have an issue with what is in my basket and what isn’t. Here is the mild example-I’m in my yoga class and I people come in and put their mat down then go and get changed. The sign on the door clearly states not to let the heat out, don’t come in until you are prepared to stay, but people do. This bugs me, but it isn’t my stuff. Why do I care?
Another example: My husbands’ way of keeping his night table-which my fingers itch to sort, declutter and dust. Not in my basket.
Anytime I begin to feel judgment about how someone else is doing something, or feeling the need to tell him or her why my way is better or right, it is a big flashing sign that this isn’t my stuff! Apart from someone being hit by a car or being in some sort of other mortal danger, I really need to leave it in their basket and tend to my own stuff.
I’m wondering this week -how much of my personal peace I give up because I can’t keep my eyes on my basket?
Why do I spend time looking at and inevitably being annoyed by people and what they do or don’t do? I don’t even know some of them. Ridiculous.
Enough I say! This week I’m practicing a radical thing. When I notice myself with that judgmental talk in my head about how so and so is doing this or that and what I don’t like about it and how it would be so much better if they did x instead, I’m going to stop that thought. Right there. I’m going to say to myself- “So what.? Live and let live”. And move my thoughts to something else.
Years ago when watching Dr. Phil in his Oprah days, I remember him saying to someone who couldn’t let go their overbearing ways with a loved one”
“Do you want to be happy or do you want to be right?”