#1 People just do what people just do … and so do I

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#1 People just do what people just do … and so do I

(from) 49 Life Lessons it took me 50 years to learn

People just do what people just do … People just say what people just say … and so do I.

I’m not the boss of anyone and no one is the boss of me.

So why do peoples words and actions sometimes piss us off? Press our buttons. Irritate the shit out of us? Why do we get wound up? Why do we get upset?  And why do we complain to anyone who is willing to listen (sometimes for days)?

Have you ever noticed yourself saying or thinking;

Why would [insert name] do that?

Why would [insert name] say that?

How could they behave that way?

The answer to all of these questions is … because they can.  And so can you (and me).

Let’s start with Facebook.  Have you ever read a post and had all of the above questions come rushing at you? What amplifies these questions even more is when the post is by someone you know! By now you are face palming and thinking what a ‘@$#%^&*’!! Why would they say that? What were they thinking? And the bigger question now is, do I comment, PM them or just ‘unfriend’ them?

And what about kids? The apples of our eyes! Our darling cherubs! Can you believe that mine, on occasion, actually lie to me?  Why would they do that? More face palming followed by questions like haven’t I raised them better than that? Didn’t I teach them that lying is disrespectful and dishonest? I mean we talked about the little boy who cried wolf all the time?!?

And what about that person you work with? The one that comes in late, leaves early, contributes nothing at the meetings and never washes up their own coffee cup! Why?

And then there’s …

The person that jumped the queue…

The person that cut you off on the road…

The person that talked all the way through the movie …

The person that talks over the top of everyone (occasionally) … oh wait … that last one might be me… oops! Yep sometimes I do that! Not consciously, not to upset anyone, not for any other reason than I just do!

You see that’s just it. People just do what people just do… AND SO DO I.  Now, have a look at all of the examples I have just given you.  This is where we turn the spotlight on ourselves for a moment.  Now ask yourself, have you ever done ANY of these things? Really? Never? Just me then.

You see, the day I was able to honestly answer YES to all of them (and not crumble into ‘oh my God, I am shit person!) was the day I fully got this lesson.  You see this lesson is not about ‘them’.  This lesson is just about me (and you).

I’m not the boss of anyone! I have no control over anyone. And neither do you!

People really CAN just do what people just do and people really CAN just say what people just say.

So let’s get down to the nuts and bolts of it.  I want you to think of a situation.  Maybe it’s recent or perhaps a little while ago (it might even be a recurring issue in your life) but you’ll know it because it really pisses you off.  It presses all of your buttons AND you may have even (over)reacted to it. Now, dig down and get to the root of what upsets you about that situation (laziness, arrogance, dishonesty, cheating, lying etc).  What was it?  Have a good look.  I’m going to use my ‘kids lying’ example.  Now I want you to really focus on YOUR thing.  That infuriating, irritating, boiler-busting thing! Remember how angry/disappointed/upset you felt. Allow yourself to really feel those emotions (just for a moment).  You got it? Good.

OK… Now… ask yourself this question.

“Have I EVER done that?” 

That very thing that just made your blood boil. Have you ever done that thing? Maybe not in the same area or in the same way but somewhere in your life?

[Insert 20 seconds of thinking music here].

Now how do you feel?

And before you go into ‘yeah but, that’s different’. No it’s not!  Because in any situation at any point in time, people just do what people just do, and SO DO YOU (and me).

Now before the ‘keyboard warriors’ fire up their fingers, this is not about the act or action of the other person. Of course, certain actions come with consequences in life.  If my children lied to me there were, of course, consequences.  This lesson is not about what happened it is about what you make it mean and the judgement you attach to it.  Because the one thing I know for sure is that the ONLY person you have any control over, is YOU.

Did you notice that when (or if) you answered YES to the above question, in that moment, the feeling of upset dissipated.  It eased a little. You may have even felt your body relax.  It no longer felt so ‘personal’.  I know for a fact that I also lied to my parents when I was a kid.  Not because I didn’t love them or respect them. Not to upset them or hurt them.  Sometimes I thought my lying would actually protect them?!?  When I lied, and I did, it was not about them, it was 100% about me!

When I got this, this is what I realised.  I love my children and my children love me AND sometimes they lie.

Because when people just do what people just do, it’s not personal! It’s not about you (or me). It’s about them!

And the moment you can let go of it being ‘personal’, BOOM, you have access to a calm heart, a peaceful mind and often, completely transformed relationships (potentially a transformed life!).

So the next time you feel yourself being ‘pressed’ by something, in that moment, remind yourself that people just do what people just do (and so do you) and whatever their actions and words are, they are not about you, so don’t make it about you!

I absolutely guarantee that when you practice this lesson, the elusive ‘happiness’ that we all seek will actually find YOU!

Jen x

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