I find there are two core “rules” or “guidelines” I see myself reminding myself and those around me of regularly, which are among the longer list of what I’ll refer to as “guidelines for peaceful co-existence”. These are some base principles which, when applied, can lead to reduced internal worry/struggle, and a generally more peaceful outlook towards external stimulus. These also work hand in hand with the approach to self-coaching I shared previously.
“One cannot control another person, and other people cannot control us”
“Everyone out there, including oneself, can do anything one wishes to do”
In short, stop trying to control others, and don’t let others control you. Even though all actions have consequences, there is nothing stopping anyone from doing exactly whatever they want, whenever they want.
This can be really difficult to truly internalise, at first. Often times, we’ll see someone doing something, and then say or think something along the lines of “that action hurts me, they mustn’t do that thing”. In reality, it’s the thought we have about that action, and what we subsequently make that action mean to us, that creates our feeling about that, which then bothers us. We could just as easily change how we think about that, and thus change how we feel.
“We create both the problem, and the solution. We cannot create the solution until we admit and understand that we also create the problem.”
It’s really that easy. We often will see something we don’t like (a problem), and instantly shift all of the blame and ownership onto the person/place/thing which is “creating that problem” for us. Why would we shift all of the ownership and control over to the person/place/thing which is, in our minds, creating the problem? That seems silly, right?
If we decide that the problem is something we are manifesting in our minds, we can then begin to understand that the solution comes from within, and that we can adjust our approach or environment to solve or remove the problem entirely. Often, even this simple admission is enough to remove the problem. Going back to the first guideline, shifting the blame or ownership of the problem to another person assumes an element of control over that person. We cannot control other people, so we shouldn’t expect others to solve our problems, when we shift the blame to them. The person or place we’re projecting the problem onto is likely completely unaware that such a problem even exists at all, so has no incentive to resolve the problem.
“People care a lot less than we think they do”
This isn’t to say that people don’t care. The human heart and spirit is one of the most profound creations, and knows no limits to the compassion it generates. The above guideline refers to problem solving and ownership/blame, generally. No-one is going to care about a problem of yours more than you are, and the expectations we assume others have are often either non-existent or far lower than we initially assume.
“Don’t judge someone else before looking in their backpack.”
Everyone has baggage. That’s a general rule of thumb for the world. It’s important to recognise this, especially before casting blame or ownership of a problem. It’s likely that, when peering into someone’s backpack, it becomes clear quite quickly why they are acting a certain way, or saying certain things (or why they hold a particular belief, for that matter).
These are a few guidelines I remind myself of, daily. When I catch myself or someone close to me shifting blame or ownership of a problem, or commenting about how “ridiculous” someone or something is, I remind myself of these guidelines, which settle the situation, and are a good reminder that everyone is on their own journey. There are many more guidelines like this, which I’m learning and remembering every day.
Photo credit: Mario Dobelmann on Unsplash.