Things that don’t go your way, things you want to fix and things you can’t control.
Injustice, unhappiness, pointless messes and all kinds of unpleasantries.
While some portion of these things may actually be problems to solve, I’ve been noticing lately how many things that people (myself included) get their panties in a twist about that aren’t even their responsibility.
Moms may just be the worst at this. (I know this is a sweeping and generalized statement that is not actually supported by any research, but it sure seems like a lot of us mamas get into this habit of wanting so badly for everything in our happy little homes to run smoothly and be not just ok, but friggen fantastic for everyone involved.)
I don't mean to sound bitter, but the unfortunate reality is that’s probably never going to happen.
And the more energy a person expends on trying to make it all wonderful and sunny for every person every time, the more wrinkles and misery we suffer from feeling like failures when we can’t.
Even if you do manage to get your own household all happy for five minutes, the outside world is still full of all kinds of things that don't jive with your vision of a good life. And sooner or later, they will invade your bubble.
As part of my own efforts at working towards a more “No BS” life, I’ve been taking baby steps in letting go of things that don’t serve me well.
I'm realizing that worrying about problems that aren’t mine definitely generates stomach aches and furrowed brow lines, both of which fall into the category of not serving me well.
So, the other day when I found myself getting my blood pressure up thinking about some misunderstanding that I wasn't able to communicate my way through, I started working on a handy list to help me remember things that I can't control and therefore am NOT responsible for.
Some are easier than others, but I thought I’d share here in case anyone else finds themselves getting all upset when they really don’t need to.
A List of Things That You Can't Control and Are Not Responsible For (Even if You’re Someone’s Mom)
- Whether other people like you or not~
Some people will love you and think you are fabulous. These are the right people for you. But, no matter how many of them there are, there will always be some others who think you suck.
Sure, self reflection is good, but no matter how much work you do on your own self, it’s good to be aware that someone out there won’t like the way you live, the things you say or do and basically, the fact that you are YOU.
Maybe you're too loud or too quiet, too opinionated or too easily swayed. You can't please everyone.
Dita Von Teese was right about this at least... "You can be the ripest, juciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches."
I struggle with this because I dislike being disliked, but really, I can't do much about it. Yes, it's a bummer, but I'd probably be better off just focusing on enjoying the time I have with people who don't think I'm lame.
- Whether other people like the way you parent~
Yeah, this is a loaded topic. I know my parenting decisions have baffled numerous friends and family members and vice versa.
But, you don’t have to totally understand what someone is doing in order to be respectful.
If you are truly listening to your own inner wisdom, and choosing love over fear as often as you can, then you are answering to your own higher consciousness~ and that means more than anyone else’s opinion.
If your friends disagree, that’s OK. If they make you feel bad for following your heart, you might need different friends.
- Whether your kids like every single decision you make~
This one is really hard if you want to raise independent thinkers because that means sometimes they will not think the same way as you. On some things it doesn’t matter, but on matters of health / safety / values etc, that’s when you have to be a parent and not a peer.
I struggle because I want my kids to actually understand, and not just comply. And often they do get it, but realistically, I can’t expect them to see the world with the eyes of a 40+ year old mom because they haven’t been alive that long, and they don’t have my life experience. Sometimes, I just have to be the bad guy. But we all thought Snape was a bad guy too, and look how he turned out in the end!
- Whether other people like the way you clean (or don’t clean) decorate or manage your home
I was once very close with a person who I felt comfortable letting see my dirty dishes and other messes because they always seemed supportive and never judgmental in the least. Then, one day they were upset with me about something completely unrelated, and chose to tell me that I was one of the worst housekeepers they had ever seen.
Uh, OK. That’s not a very good insult. I know I’m not a good housekeeper. So what? That may not be my gift in life, but at least my kids are awesome.
Truthfully, I was more hurt that this person had been judging me all along than to think what they said was true.
- Whether other people like the way you or your kids look~
- Whether other people agree with, appreciate or understand what you write / say/ paint/ create / make
I’ve had people misinterpret my writing a number of times, and while it never feels great to have your words twisted, it’s way harder when it comes from someone you care about than a stranger.
To be honest, this has stalled me more often than I care to admit. I wonder how David Sedaris manages to write all he does and still be on good terms with his family? All I can do is be conscious that I’m trying my best when creating and hope that it’s taken in the spirit intended.
- Other people's choices~
- Whether other people like any of your decisions about how to live your life.
Danielle LaPorte wisely said that life is too precious to spend with people who make you crazy. And trying to please people who can't be pleased can sure as heck make you crazy.
In pondering all of this, my inclination tends to lean more towards just saying Eff it to the Negative Nellie's than to wishing them blessings on their journeys. But, I'm hoping there's some happy middle ground where I still try to be a nice person, but also be OK with the fact that I'm never gonna make everyone else happy. In the mean time, I might as well at least make sure I'm happy, and hopefully, the people who matter to me will be happy too.
How do you deal with people you just can't please? I'd love to hear in the comments below, and if you liked this post, please "like" it on Facebook and share it with a friend.