Growing up, I had a friend that had a t-shirt with this written on it. It didn’t have such a significant meaning to me until I started realizing that the way I think about people is totally optional.
What happens when you release people from behaving the way you want them to behave? RELIEF. It’s exhausting always wanting others to behave differently. We want them to clean up their clothes. We want them to love us. We want them to listen to us. We want them to open up to us. We want them to stop throwing tantrums. We want them to get along with each other.
What if we just let others behave the way they are going to behave, and feel the way they feel? And instead of focusing on how others should behave and feel, we focus on behaving the way we want to behave, and feeling the way we want to feel?
The truth is, we can’t control how others behave and feel. Only they can. But we can definitely decide how we want to behave and feel.
How do you want to feel when someone doesn’t like you? Why do we almost always choose to feel offended? Why not choose to be confused? “That’s weird they don’t like me. I like me.” Why not choose to be understanding? “Yep, I’m not for everyone. There are people that are hard for me to like, too.”
How do you want to behave when your 5 year old throws a tantrum? Why do we almost always throw a tantrum ourselves. It’s not fun. Why not choose to stay calm? “You can scream in your room. When you’re ready to speak kindly, I’d love to hear what you have to say.”
How do you want to feel when your spouse and your parents don’t get along? (If this is you, know that it’s really common.) Why do we so often choose to feel uncomfortable, tense, and/or disappointed? We try to fix it or buffer it. Why not just let them not get along, and choose to feel love yourself? “I know it’s hard for you guys to get along. I feel confident you’ll figure it out when you’re ready to. Until then, I’m going to leave the room when you argue.”
Let me know of a time when you just accepted someone as they were, and how it felt.