Here’s another great example of something we DON’T need to be in charge of.
What other people think of us! Crazy thought.
Here’s the reality. We can’t control what other people think. At all. It’s not even possible and therefore we don’t have to be in charge of it. But sometimes we need to remind ourselves daily (hourly) that we aren’t in charge of what other people think. We can’t change it or control it. It can be an ongoing struggle though, to remind ourselves that this is the case.
Firstly, we have to be aware that we actually can choose to not let something agitate us.
It’s the bucket exercise. It’s a sorting exercise.
Imagine in your brain two buckets. One is labelled “CAN’T change it” and the other is labelled “CAN change it.”
When something comes into our brain that is causing us grief, say something someone said that MIGHT have been negative. First step – decide what bucket it goes in.
If it’s something someone said or did in some negative way about something we said or did or even if we PERCEIVE that someone said or did something negative about something we said or did…you know the drill. Initially, we imagine an implied tone of voice, and implied accusation, an implied criticism…so soon the implication turns into a reality, a tone, an accusation, a criticism, then we start to build up our reasons, our resistance, our vague agitation about some nameless something that somebody did or said against us. We start to worry, fume, build our case, think about all the things we are going to retaliate with, wonder how we should handle it…
We can avoid that downward spiralling pit of fermenting self-defence.
Put it in the “CAN’T change it” bucket.
Sometimes, when people who we love and respect and are close to actually say things that are negative or critical, well. Maybe we do want to address it. But we’ll get a lot further with the conversation if we stop trying to convince others of the “rightness” of our decisions. We can offer our respect for their decisions, and ask for their respect of ours.
We can’t be in charge of what other people think of us. We can only be in charge of how we respond. Because our responses, without a shadow of a doubt, belong in the “CAN change it” bucket.
It’s our secret weapon bucket.