By Gregg Sanderson
I feel with loving compassion the problems of others, without getting caught up in their predicaments that are offering them messages they need for their growth.—Ken Keyes
I once had a person in a workshop share how she takes responsibility for herself. She tells other people how to talk to her. What a great idea! I think I’ll give it a try.
Here’s how you can speak to me and not hurt my feelings:
My name is Gregg, not Gregory, and it has an extra “g” on the end. Get it right.
Don’t argue with me. Simply accept my superior point of view.
I like country music and Broadway show tunes. Don’t sneer.
I’m not tall, so please don’t say “short” around me, and at dinner, don’t order shrimp.
Laugh at my jokes. Or else…
I’m letting you know what hurts me so you can be considerate. Consideration is a virtue, and I’m helping you be virtuous. But please don’t expect anything reciprocal from me. I must “be myself.”
Pretty soon propriety gets tangled up in itself, and we’re left with ethical spaghetti. Do you know how this happened? People misplaced their premises.
Folks hand off their power in the strangest ways. I know some whose happiness depends upon how well 11 strangers manipulate the skin of a pig. Some blame God and think suffering is sign of virtue.
Responsibility has nothing to do with blame, and everything to do with response. We’re all only able to respond for ourselves. It can’t be any other way.
If I live from the premise that I’m responsible for everything I think, feel, say and do, life works. If I attach my happiness to any other person or situation, I set myself up to lose.
Whether you like it or admit it, you’re the only one who can feel your pain or enjoy your pleasure. The same goes for me and everybody else.
How should we handle people who want to blame us for their condition? If we apologize, we accept a responsibility we can’t fulfill. We reinforce their victim status. If we don’t apologize, we’re inconsiderate. We can’t win.
To be happy, we don’t require others to fit our ideas of how they should be. As long as we realize others are equally constrained from demanding the same of us, We can’t lose.
Some people don’t know any better. They wear their self-righteous suffering as a badge of honor. As counselors or coaches, we don’t have to commiserate.
Emotional detachment gives us more options to help, while not depriving them of their own necessary lessons.
We can be compassionate, and love them to pieces without getting tangled in their web of misery. We’ll all be much more effective helpers that way.
Have a nice day… or not. It’s your call.
Gregg Sanderson is author of Spirit With A Smile, The World According To BOB. He is a licensed practitioner in the Centers for Spiritual Living, and a Certified Trainer for Infinite Possibilities. His earlier books were, What Ever Happened To Happily Ever After? and Split Happens—Easing The Pain Of Divorce. His latest project is the New Thought Global Network, where subscribers can enjoy the best in New Thought presentations from anywhere at any time. You can see it at http://www.newthoughtglobal.org.