You make me get so angry
I could be so happy if only he/she would stop telling me what to do
I get blue when it rains like this
When my mother blames me for not getting into an Ivy-league university, I feel worthless
I get absolutely furious when careless drivers put my life in danger
I can’t work efficiently when my supervisor gives me deadlines…she is so pushy
When you give me that look you make me get so upset
I get very nervous when people are watching me
If my wife stopped nagging me, I would stop spending so much time with my friends
He/she stopped loving me and I just don’t believe I can go on living anymore.
The Roles People Play…
Isn’t it incredible how other people play a role in the way our lives don’t work out properly? If only they would not be how they are, or do what they do, because then things would be so much better for us!.
You don’t really think I’m serious when I say that, do you? Not if you’ve been reading these monthly articles all along over the past few years.
So what is it? Why do other people play such a role in our unhappiness or our lack of success or our endless procrastination, or our utter desperation? What can we do to make less of our lives depend on the attitude or behavior of others, so that the way we feel and the results we have on all levels have more to do with us than with what others say or do?.
That is actually the point. What can we do?.
Perhaps we could attempt to control others better. Or perhaps we could get others to understand more clearly the negative effect their behavior has on us, so that they would make a decision to be more considerate. Or perhaps we could move to a country where it doesn’t rain or get foggy or cold. Or perhaps we could give others a more stringent ultimatum, so that they would realize how much they would lose if they did not adhere to our request.
You begin to see that it may be necessary to look at the dilemma from another angle; that perhaps by blaming something or someone external to yourself is not where the answer lies.
Diminishing Your Experience
Abraham puts it like this: If you decide to make someone the enemy and you're pushing very hard against them, you don't affect them at all, but you disconnect yourself from the StreamIf someone cheats you, they cannot diminish your experience. They only diminish their experience. You cannot be diminished by someone cheating you unless you get all upset about being cheated and push against them and use that as your excuse to disconnect from the Stream. (Understand stream as that which impels you forward on an energetic level, i.e. when you are feeling low or depressed, you would be going against the stream, or you would be disconnected from the stream):.
Carlos Castaneda would put it this way: "To be angry at people means that one considers their acts to be important. It is imperative to cease to feel that way. The acts of men cannot be important enough to offset our only viable alternative: our unchangeable encounter with infinity".
Here’s Looking at Me, Kid
Clearly the alternatives offered above for controlling others or bypassing the weather or blaming others are sadly lacking in efficiency, even ludicrous in nature. So back to the point: what can we do?.
First we look inside.
First we check out our own inner climate, because we clearly are in no position to check out another person’s inner climate. If you think you can, or that by doing so you will be able to consistently influence how that person behaves with you, you are probably either very young, or you have led a very sheltered life. In other words, it is by checking out your own inner climate that you can actually begin to find the richness of yourself that the title of this article refers to.
Next, we look inside.
Yes. Same thing. Again. And again.
Because it is the only game in town. At least it’s the only game if you really want to have an influence and any measure of control over how well your day goes, or how good you feel, you have to begin to realize that it all starts with you, it continues with you and it ends with you.
The Consistent Warrior
That doesn’t seem right, you say. Look at how many people move on to success in life thanks to a mentor, or a lucky break, or a great opportunity. If that is so, much of what happens depends on others. While it is true that others can indeed play a great role in the evolution of our lives, careers, relationships, feelings, etc., it is nevertheless also true that our own role in this is even larger.
Zen Buddhism has a wonderful concept I have written about before called Wu-wei … being in flow … being in the right place … creating opportunities by being still within yourself and open to them, so that when they arrive, you not only see and understand them, but are also ready and able to act on them.
Looking inside of yourself for the origin of whatever it is that seems to be keeping you from wherever it is you want to go, or however it is you would like to feel is somewhat like opening Pandora’s Box, with the difference that although what emerges may surprise you due to its unexpected nature, it will not, however, be something that will bring you pain and sickness or hopelessness. Quite the contrary. By focusing on yourself in order to make of your life what you want, you take the first step towards accomplishing precisely that, because you place the responsibility for whatever happens in your life squarely on your shoulders.
Responsibility for what happens in my life? That’s not possible. I’m not responsible for the hurricane that destroyed my homeI’m not responsible for the war that killed my family. I’m not responsible for the mugger that attacked me and left me blind in one eye. I’m not responsible for the cancer that is eating away at my partner. I’m not responsible for the business failure in the company I work for that resulted in the loss of my job. I’m not responsible for the sudden thunderstorm that ruined our Sunday picnic.
Of course not. That’s right. You are not responsible for that. But you are responsible for how you react to it. For what you do next. For what you think about it. And that is where you can make all the difference. By choosing how you react in each situation you do take control of your life.
The validity of that statement can only be experienced
by those who give it a try. The next time someone does something that
you are on the verge of getting angry about, give it just a few seconds
of thought. And your thoughts might go like this:
Not again! Every time he/she does this I just want to strangle him/her.
Wait…here’s where that psychologist said I have a choice.
The choice has to do with taking a moment to realize I have a choice.
To ask myself in which direction I actually want to go right now.
I could go down the road of anger against this person and wind up where I always wind up…even angrier, or I could decide to go on an altogether different road.
So I can choose not to be angry
I can choose to say to this person that what has just happened is not acceptable.
And then to leave this place…even if it’s only for an hour until I feel more calm.
Doing that makes me feel in control of myself, not losing it the way I normally do.
Another way of stopping the blaming is asking yourself
why you feel the way you do. So, for example, in the instance above at
the beginning of this article, where you think: “I can’t work efficiently when my supervisor gives me deadlines…she is so pushy”, you might ask yourself another set of questions:
Why do I feel she is pushy?
Why can’t I work efficiently under the pressure of deadlines?
Is there too much work? Am I getting more than my fair share?
In that case I need to discuss the matter in a calm, courteous, and prepared fashion.
Or is it because I let things pile up? Do I need to set more efficient priorities and work more quickly?
Or is it because I feel nervous when I am being observed? Does that have to do with me or with the observer? Do I need to work on my self-esteem or self-confidence about that, or do I need to request that I be given more autonomy and less supervision? If so, what is an effective way of doing so?.
Do you see how this works? Because you are going inside of yourself to look for control, rather than fruitlessly wishing you could control your external world, you not only will eventually have greater control, but you will – in the process – discover the richness of your inner selfThis is where you gain so much by merely stopping the blaming. This again, as so many of the suggestions made in these articles, takes you further down the path to inner freedom.
About Gabrielle Kortsch, Ph.D.
Dr. Kortsch holds a doctorate in psychology and dedicates herself to integral coaching, clinical hypnotherapy, relationship coaching, and energy techniques. She is an author and professional speaker and broadcasts a live weekly radio show in English that is available on the Internet or for listening on her website, and has appeared in numerous television programs in English and Spanish. She can help you move towards greater personal and relationship success with her integral approach to life and offers training and workshops in the field of self-development and choosing responsibility for the self. Visit Advanced Personal Therapy.com and sign up for her cutting-edge newsletter in English or Spanish, or visit her blog for more timely articles.