Friday, March 31, 2006

Friday, March 31: Other people's idiocies: Why take it personally?

I am right this morning having a wonderful conversation with my sister. She is fed up with a friend of hers and is trying to get everyone in the world to agree that she is right to reject that friend.

Hmm. Life is interesting. It’s no fun to be a friend to someone who blows off and yells at you most of the time, so separating herself from spending a lot of time with this woman makes sense. But her feeling of being at the mercy of this woman’s moods, ah, that’s the rub. If other people’s meanness or stupidity gets to us, we are going to have to live in a rather narrow world to keep away from these traits, since there are boatloads of stupid and mean people on this blighted planet.

Or this wonderful planet. Or this wonderful planet that we forget is wonderful when we are trying to get another person to be something they aren’t. My sister’s friend has a bad habit of yelling at and blaming people. Oh, well. I do that sometimes. Don’t you? So, who’s business is it that the friend is a mess sometimes?

The friend's.

If my sister gets bent out of shape, that’s her business, And sometimes it’s okay to put down your foot, but what we have to realize is that we are putting the foot down to help the other person, not to protect ourselves.

(Although, until we get clear on my busines, your business, God's business, it feels like we have to protect ourselves. But, if some calls us a jerk, or bad or a purple monkey, what's that got to do with us. They are just telling us their perception of the world.)

My mother, for example, likes to call me names. Oh well. The rule that people should have nice mothers apparently she hasn’t heard of. This is her business. If it bothers me, it’s my business. And occasionally, I just tell her, “Now I’m going to hang up the phone,:” when she starts being nasty.

Not because I can’t take it. It’s actually kind of fun to be in a good mood while she slashes away. No, the reason to hang up is so she can have the opportunity to see consequences to her meanness, because I’m sure she’s mean to others and to herself. That’s just the way the world is.

So, other people being stupid and mean and giving us a hard time is a chance to be happy while they are on their trip. It’s a chance to do the work of Byron Katie ( It’s a chance to follow our breathing and listen to them and ask about what’s really bothering them. Or it’s a chance to hang up the phone. If we always have to hang up the phone, we are a slave. If we always have to put up with their nonsense, we are a slave,

The point of life is to be present and happy and aware and useful to others, I think. Being a slave mitigates against that, in my opinion. What do you think?



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