Letting Go Of Other Peoples Crap And Keeping Yours To Yourself
My mom and I were driving down the road, chatting about life, spirituality and the energetic and symbolic implications of driving a clean “vehicle” as I’d just been bragging about washing my literal vehicle for the first time in months. No biggie, just typical, light conversation for us. And suddenly, a spray of water jettisoned from the white Kia Sorento in front of me and beaded my newly clean windshield with a thin, crystal veil.
What the heck?
Why does a car’s windshield cleaner fluid always fly OVER the windshield?! My mom, chuckled and cheekily said, “people have no idea the fallout they create”. We laughed, as my mother proudly pointed out how she’d cleverly been able to connect the incident with our metaphorical conversation about transportation. This started us talking about how the actions or words of others affect us and vice versa.
Obviously, the driver of the car in front of me had no idea that I was hoping to maintain the squeaky clean sheen on my car for as long as possible. Matter of fact, I’m sure her only expectation was that her windshield be cleaned. I’m also sure she never thought twice that cleaning her “vehicle” would cause overspray (and mild disappointment) directly behind her. This is where Don Miguel Ruiz would remind us not to take things personally. If you aren’t familiar with him, check out his bestseller The Four Agreements it is a simple, easy read and it will change your life!
- Don’t take on anyone else’s dirt and don’t unload yours onto someone else!
Sometimes, the self-limiting beliefs that we’ve made for ourselves because of of social norms, upbringing and environment creeps in and spills over into our interactions with others. It’s important to do a quick personal inventory when your interactions with someone else get you riled up. Is this stress yours or someone else’s misplaced stuff? We’re always acting and reacting to not just outside stimuli but our internal emotional triggers. Taking a minute to decide how to proceed in a less than ideal situation either of your own creation or someone else’s takes no more time than a deep breath.
I work with clients all the time tracking and pin-pointing where certain behaviors and/or habits generate. The first rule of thumb for creating change is to acknowledge where the discontent is coming from and address the root of it. If you think you are imposing your “junk” onto a moment, most certainly look for the trigger while you’re in the moment and make a mental note to come back to it later for reflection. Then, reframe your communication in a neutral way. After all, is the moment you are projecting on deserving of it?
Recognize that the best action is sometimes non-action. If someone is being salty, rude or down right inappropriate, it’s okay to bring attention to it in a non-combative way. State that you don’t want to participate in whatever interaction is occurring and save further communication for later but don’t hang on the the emotions that it evoked. Realize that you don’t have to be affected poorly by someone else’s behvior if it a result of what is going on in their world and they are not asking you for help with it. Hanging on to those things cultivates drama and who needs more of that if the goal is to live our most joyful and meaningful lives?