At some point in my adult life, I realized that I held the key to my own experiences. Others might impact them, but at the end of the day, my responses dictate my ultimate experience.
Looking for who’s at fault when things don’t go our way is a complete waste of time and energy and only serves to separate us further from one another. Same with making a list of how the other person needs to change. Sharing that list with them almost guarantees war followed by hours, days, or years of frustration. Blaming ourselves is just as futile. This is different from taking responsibility for our own experiences. While blaming makes us stuck in the past and creates more of the same in the future, taking responsibility empowers us and changes our future.
When I am frustrated with someone, I go through the following questions:
- What did I mean to convey by what I said? Did I straight talk, or did I go about it sideways? Was I sharing myself, or was I blaming or talking about someone else?
- How did the other person receive what I said? We can’t fault the other for receiving our message “incorrectly,” because we all receive things through our own filter. If we want to connect with others, we benefit from doing our best to meet them where they are, because they first need to feel understood. Expecting them to meet us where we are is expecting them to change first, which is fine if we don’t want to get anywhere. The question is, is our intention to be right or to do right?
- How have I enabled this situation? What have I allowed in the past? Is this another area where I didn’t set healthy boundaries for myself?
- Am I digging my heels in deeper on this one, just to feel in control, to command respect? Is it really worth it and why?
- Is this my work? If it is, then being open to looking at things from a different lens and experiencing some discomfort around it could be the next lesson for me. If not, and this person is important to me, I can accept that this is their work and let them work through it. Meaning, I won’t try to fix it, nor will I beat myself up over it. By knowing this isn’t my work, I will treat the situation differently and more compassionately than I am now. I accept the person for where they are, just as I am sure that others are accepting me where I am.
This can be extra challenging if your hunger to be understood is strong. This is where the kundalini practice comes in. It expands capacity to understand and accept yourself well enough that you can bring that understanding back to others. Communication and understanding are a no-fault zone because we are each other’s mirror.
The key to understanding others is to understand yourself. –Anonymous