I have heard it said that no man is an island, but it seems to me that in reality each person is an island unto himself. You may be empathetic about how people are feeling, but you can’t be empathetic enough to really understand the core being of anyone but yourself.
We’ve all said many times, “if only ‘John ‘would do this,” of “if only ‘Jane ‘would do that,” then “everything would be okay”. We all believe that if we could just dictate everyone’s behavior and tell everyone else exactly what to do, we could straighten everything out. The trouble is that you can’t get John or Jane to do what you want them to do because they view the whole situation differently. John sees every situation from his viewpoint, according to his needs and desires, and with all the prejudices and prior opinions that exist within him. Jane, likewise, sees things from HER point of view. (And whatever I say about John and Jane also goes for Tom, Dick, Harry, and every other person in the world as well.)
So since the world around me swirls on in relationship chaos and neither John nor Jane will let me straighten them out by proscribing their exact behavior, I have written a short mantra to remind myself of how powerless I am to affect the actions of anyone other than myself.
Everyone will do what everyone will do and how you will respond is all that’s up to you.
Of course, I must also remind myself that my response should not be dismay that there is nothing constructive I can do, but rather joy that I have a clear conscience. After all, however John and Jane decide to behave, I’M NOT RESPONSIBLE.
Read more by Betty Killebrew and other popular authors at: www.trovemagazine.com