From a past newsletter:
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
~ Carl Jung
“The things we often hate most in others is something we have disowned in ourselves that we are not yet strong enough to face.”
~ Julia Cameron
In the beginning of the book “The 55 Concepts” it says that life is simple, it is we that complicate it. I can buy that. What I had difficulty buying is the first concept: “Anything that bothers you is your issue.”
How could that be? Wouldn’t my life be easier if other people would just see the error of their ways? Certainly what bothered me about others bothered everyone, (though I found this not to always be true). Besides, if this concept were true it would take work to change myself! It would be so much easier to show others how to change to meet my needs (even though I knew it never worked)!
I did see the truth of this concept in clients and friends. The woman who complained that her mother didn’t respect her while she ignored every request her mother made. The man who was indignant about customers who paid late, yet admitted he ignored his debts. Some who railed about slow response time who were the same people who never returned a phone call or e-mail. Sometimes it was the opposite side of the coin. The husband who hated dependent women yet insisted his wife not go back to school or work and that she should live on the allowance he gave her.
It was much more difficult to see it in me. Oh yes, sometimes I realized when I complained my husband wasn’t listening, I wasn’t listening either. And when someone else’s gossip bothered me there was somewhere I had said more than I should have. But there were lots of things that I was convinced would absolutely improve if only the other person would change!
For instance when I noticed I didn’t like it when my sister criticizing something in my house I decided to put up a boundary. “Tell me what you like about my house, not what you don’t like.” I said. My sister (who fortunately read the same book) started laughing. She said: “I was about to tell you the same thing about you and my house.”
Part of me couldn’t believe that I criticized! After all she asked for my opinion and I gave it (or did she?). The clincher was when my husband chimed in: “You do it to me too.” Sadly that one I couldn’t even begin to deny.
Believing others should change is easy. Believing I have to change is not. Yet when I truly take it to heart I realize I have an incredible power: that as I change, the behavior of others stops bothering me. I don’t have to do anything about them. I just have to do my own work.
I’m sure you don’t fully believe me (I didn’t believe it either in the beginning). But I challenge you to spend one week writing out everything that bothers you in detail on one side of a page, at the end of the week go back and read it. Set the intention to be very honest with yourself, then on the other side of the page begin to write where this is, or could be true of you, in any way. (Be really honest! You can tear it up when you’re done. No one else has to see it)!
If you can’t do it yourself find a friend you can trust. Share with him or her what bugs you and ask where its true of you. You may be surprised! If you do this honestly you will begin to realize that you have more power and control in your life than you ever believed possible (after you get over the annoyance of having to change that is)!
To learn more or purchase a copy of the book “The 55 Concepts” go to www.livingconcepts1.com