This has been a topic on my mind a great deal lately. I see so many people, personally and professionally, who try so hard to take responsibility for things that don’t belong to them. How do we know what belongs to us and what doesn’t? Well, if it’s something that you have influence over (your own thoughts and feelings, your own behaviors, etc.), then it’s your responsibility. If, on the other hand, it is something you would like to have influence over, but really can’t change on your own (other people or their behaviors/thoughts/feelings), then it is not your responsibility.
Basically, it’s pretty simple. We cannot change other people. People have been trying for millennium to change other people. The best we can ever do is effect a temporary change in other’s behavior that won’t last because there has been no fundamental change internally (their own beliefs, thoughts, feelings). We can’t get Mother Nature to cooperate when we want snow, it doesn’t happen and when we don’t want rain, it pours. (That’s another blog!)
So what are we responsible for ultimately? Ourselves! We can control our own thoughts, feelings and behaviors. We can decide each moment what we choose to think, feel or do. Many people have, sadly, given that power to other people. They act, think and believe based on what someone else suggests because they don’t want to make someone mad or hurt their feelings. Honorable idea, but what about our own feelings?
I am not suggesting that we should not care about others and their feelings. I am suggesting that our feelings should be as important as anyone else’s and we should treat them as such. The reason for the picture of the cute kitty is because cats (and other animals) are a good example of taking care of yourself. My cat is very independent, but he is also a good companion and reminds me that I don’t have to please him and vice versa. I realize human relationships are more complicated, but I often wonder if they have to be!
Take a moment and consider this: Do you believe your feelings and thoughts are just as important and relevant as anyone else’s? If you do, you are at a good starting point. If not, you might want to think about that for awhile. The second thing is: Do you allow others to have more control over your thoughts, feelings and actions than they should have?
Two seeds for thought. We’ll look at this again later! Have a great one!