Is the quality of your day determined by you or others? Think about the last time you were bothered by another person’s action or inaction. When you were affected by someone else’s behavior, how did you feel and how did it affect your day?
When I’m allowing other people’s behavior to affect me, I usually perceive that I’m having a bad day. There are two reasons someone else’s behavior may bother me; either they have done me direct harm, or I anticipate negative consequences from what I think they’re going to do. The truth is, when I take on another person’s negative behavior or attitudes as my own, I’m actually harming myself.
Today I witnessed someone giving up their power over what they incorrectly assumed I was going to do and how it might affect them negatively. I was amazed at how powerful it can be to give up our emotional well being to another person.
This morning city workers were preparing to seal the street outside my house. A group of workers approached me in my yard and told me to move my vehicle from the driveway to a side street. They explained I could not drive on the street after they began work, and I would need to move my vehicle before they started. I explained that I wouldn’t be driving the vehicle today.
A short time later, one of the workers rang my doorbell. The man was extremely agitated and he insisted I move my vehicle. I assured him I understood his concern, and that I wouldn’t be driving on the street today. He stood in my doorway, getting more and more forceful and angry, insisting repeatedly that I move my vehicle because I could not drive on the street until I simply said “thank you” and closed the door.
The man who came to my door was very frustrated and confrontational, even though nothing had happened that might cause him feel this way. I can only believe he anticipated that there would be negative consequences when I attempted to leave my house in my vehicle. He was so intent on his belief this would happen that he didn’t hear me when I told him I wasn’t going to be driving on the street today. He allowed his expectations of my behavior to alter his mood, and possibly even ruin his enjoyment of the day.
As I sat amazed at the intensity of his reaction, I thought about situations in which I allowed what someone else did or didn’t do to negatively affect my day. This leads to feelings of anxiety and frustration, and sometimes I’ve carried the burden of my reaction around with me all day- blaming someone else’s behavior for my state of mind.
You don’t have to take on someone else’s negativity just because they offer it to you. You don’t know what people are going to do, and you don’t know what the consequences of their actions will be. Even if the consequences are negative, you do not have to share the burden of those consequences.
There are times when someone else’s behavior causes actual, rather than anticipated, harm. Even in those situations you can decide how to respond. You can choose to take care of your needs, do your part, and move on with your day, regardless of someone else’s bad behavior.
When you focus on your own behavior and doing the right thing, you can let go of what someone else does or how someone else feels. You can’t enjoy a great life when you’re worrying about everyone else. Even at your best you can’ t make people act and feel the way you want them to, so focus on being and feeling your best for you instead. Take care of you, and do what you can to create a great life.
I love your comments! What helps you let go of other people’s behavior? How do you feel when you do?
Image courtesy of pinelife