I am embarrassed to say that I have turned down help from teachers, bosses, friends, neighbors, family, and a prominent Hollywood agent. But, I had a “good” reason; I was offended that they thought I needed their help.
Are you f’n kidding me?
If I could only go back…
Yesterday, I offered free coaching to someone who had been complaining to me for years about an inability to sustain long-term romantic relationships.
He raged at my gall and denied his need.
REMINDER: If someone offers a suggestion, guidance, or free assistance, there is a good chance we need what they are offering. Considering it won’t kill us. Rejecting it might.
I whined about my workload more times than I can count. Once, when I said, “I’m the only one who ever does the dishes around here,” someone responded, “So, don’t do them anymore. I’d rather have a dirty kitchen than be around a martyr.”
Although, not the answer I was going for, he had a very good point. No one enjoys the poor-little-me martyr. Setting boundaries and agreements is a much better option.
In offices and homes all over the world, people are getting bitter about other people not shouldering their fair share of the work and carrying around bitterness about it. That bitterness infects and dismantles relationships, contributes to ulcers and illness, and sucks the fun out of any environment. I’m not advocating rewarding irresponsible behaviors, only managing them productively.
Tell people what you need.
Agree on a plan.
Set contingencies for exceptions and failures.
Follow through without drama.
When I am frustrated with life, it is usually because I have opted for the “know-it-all” stance instead of the “learner” stance. I trade my sense of wonder with the world for a sense of entitlement, and waste my time talking smack instead of growing through whatever has dared to challenge my expectations.
My most important wedding vow was a promise to delight in my spouse everyday. Failing to do that is a move into stagnation…or worse. Yesterday, I realized this applies to my relationship to life in general.
When I shift into judgment as the “knower,” I lose.
Things that I’d rather not be honest about but when I am, it makes me less judgmental and easier to be around:
I am disgusting sometimes too. It’s not just the people I criticize.
I have lied and manipulated facts when I was scared of getting in trouble.
I have made myself look better than I actually was.
I have feared rejection and looking unworthy to others.
I have sometimes done things to get attention.
Sometimes, I have even wished awful things upon cable and mobile phone companies (whom I perceived to be arrogant).
I have screamed at family members like a crazy woman and would have killed my sister if I could have gotten away with it.
We may not have killed people, but most of us have thought about it.
That makes me more prone to forgive people who actually fall off the edge.
For several years, I beat myself up for screwing up with a particular client. Last week, that client requested my services again.
A week before that, in a humbling effort to clear my conscience, I apologized to someone I had offended many years ago. They forgave me with wonderful generosity.
In both cases, my ego had been working overtime. Also, in both cases, if I had taken myself less seriously, I would have saved myself a lot of anxiety, sleeplessness, time and trouble.
In reality, we are all somewhat ridiculous. Acknowledging that takes the pressure off.
I learned to “step away from the ledge” to resist the temptation to jump.
Now, I am learning to step away from the ledger to resist “jumping to conclusions” and chalking up judgments against people who might be in need of a little mercy.
When I don’t keep a “ledger” of everyone else’s faults, it makes it easier for me to forgive myself and believe that others are not keeping a ledger on me.
Hmmmm, which is better? To freak-out over my concerns or to keep it simple?
What if…? WTF? How will I make it? Why am I such a loser? Who do they think they are? Why is this happening to me? What am I going to do?
I’m going to do the best I can with what I have, trusting that all will work out, breathing the oxygen that miraculously feeds my trillion cells (while traveling through the Universe at one-thousand MPH on a planet made of hot molten lava).
I pledge allegiance to living stress-free
Remembering worry doesn’t work for me
And neither does angry fretting (unfortunately)
I pledge allegiance to living stress-free
Because controlling people and things
(I don’t control) is the job of Kings
My worry and stress never helped one single soul
Only pulled me deep into a sucking hole
Where there was no benefit for me or anyone
Just an embarrassing waste of adrenalin*
*Some of us, who insist upon worrying, believe, erroneously, that the opposite of worrying is not caring. However, this is not the case. Often, surrendering is the only wise way to effectively care…and much more efficient.
While working as a middle manager I was very irritated with my boss for not giving me the recognition I deserved until…in an awkward transaction, I realized my employees were irritated with me for the very same reason.
Since then, I have noticed how easy it is for me to totally blast away at someone else’s cluelessness while completely missing my own.
The following routine helps me be less of a nincompoop:
- Before I open my mouth with a swift condemnation for someone else, I ask myself (with the excruciating humility it takes to be completely honest), “Have I ever done anything similar?”
- If the answer is “Yes.” or, “I don’t know,” I postpone judgement. In most cases, my memory will pull up something embarrassing within a few hours. Then, I decide to show mercy to the offender (as I hope others will show mercy to me) before I move ahead.
- If the answer is no. I thank God that I dodged that bullet, ask myself if I can address the issue proactively, and then, show mercy to the offender. (I never know when I’ll need some mercy in the future.)