Are you one of those people who gets offended by what other people say? If someone says something about you, does it hurt you? Let me teach you why other people’s opinions are none of your business…because they aren’t actually about YOU. It’s really about them! And when you figure that out, it is amazingly freeing!
In October of last year I was introduced to a concept that changed my life. My life coach told me that other people’s opinions were none of my business. There was MY business, God’s Business, and other’s business. I could control my own thoughts and behaviors, but I couldn’t control anything else, and really, it was none of my business. And I was like….WHAT???? As a person who really tried to control as much as I possibly could, this news was life changing. I mean…it seems like it would be common sense, but how often do we try to control and manipulate the behaviors, thoughts, and opinions of others? But realizing how true it actually was, was incredibly freeing! I was learning how to control my own thoughts and emotions, but not having to worry about how others were thinking and feeling (because I really have no control over it anyway) really lightened my load.
So I have a few examples I want to share with you that have happened to me in the last couple of weeks.
- The first story, is kind of disgusting, so I hope I don’t gross you out too much. My daughter had a softball tournament and we took our trailer and stayed at the tournament for a few days. On our way home we pulled into our local camping store to dump our black tank. There were already two trailers there dumping, so we had to wait. We watched one of the trailers move back and forth to position their trailer just right. And then all of the sudden they dumped their black tank out on the cement without using a hose to put it directly into the hole! Then they used their water hose to try and spray it into the hole. It was absolutely disgusting and we were flabbergasted! When the other trailer pulled away and we were getting ready to pull into position, I decided to go and talk to the couple. I was really trying to give them the benefit of the doubt and was trying to be really nice about it. I walked up and asked them if this was their first time dumping? (Because I don’t know, maybe they are brand new to trailers and didn’t know you needed a hose????) They said no and they lost their hose. So still trying to be nice, I tried to explain that you can’t just dump raw sewage all over the ground and if they didn’t have a hose they should have waited until they got one before dumping. Well this made them pretty mad and the man started yelling expletives at me and calling me pretty much the worst name you can call someone. So I just walked away at that point. My husband (who had been putting our own trailer into position) then took over and told them that he works with the EPA (he is in charge of the environmental stuff at the plant he works at) and what they were doing was illegal. That he was taking pictures of their license plates and would be reporting them to the health department. Oh, and you can’t talk to his wife that way!) So why do I tell that disgusting story? In the past, someone saying something like that to me would have cut me to the core and hurt me so much. But not this time. I recognized that
- I can’t control him
- He was probably just embarrassed because he got called out for doing something illegal and lashed out
- What he said was totally not true!
When someone says something about us, our lower brain kicks into gear to try and protect us. It puts up its defenses and makes us get angry in return so that we don’t get hurt. But deep down the thoughts are often “is it true?” and comes back to our innate fear of not being enough.”
When we question our own value and the truth in what is being said about us….THAT is what hurts us. But if we have confidence in ourselves, our worth as a human, and who we are, nothing anyone says can hurt us. When people lash out, its really more about them and what they are feeling and thinking than it is about us. If someone told you that you have blue hair, but you know your hair is brown, you wouldn’t care because you know its not true! But if someone calls you a name, or makes you feel inadequate in some way, why do you question if its true or not?
- The second story is a little bit lighter of a story….thank goodness! So I had just picked up some pizza from little caesars after a CRAZY busy day. I turned out of the parking lot onto the road and a guy came flying up behind me (he was driving way too fast, and maybe I shouldn’t have pulled out in front of him, but it was too late at the point). Not far from where I turned is a light that was red anyway, so we both had to stop. But as he came up behind me I could see him flipping me off in my mirror. Then as I pulled up to the light to go straight, he pulled into the turn lane on my left. I could see him yelling and screaming at me and flipping me off. And I just laughed and smiled and waved and mouthed sorry! Oh…he did NOT like that. But seriously…what could I have done at that point. He was choosing to get mad and I chose to ignore his anger and just continue happily on my way. Poor guy…he must have been having such a miserable day to get that angry over someone puling out in front of him.
But you see how I didn’t make it about me? Because it really wasn’t. It was about him and where he is in his life in that moment. And that’s why his opinion is really none of my business. I get to control me. He gets to control (or not control) him. Isn’t that so empowering????
So here is another example – a few years ago I said something I probably shouldn’t have. It wasn’t said in a malicious, gossipy, or mean way AT ALL! It was something I was just curious about so I could gain more understanding of a situation. But that was not the way it was taken. The woman confronted me, and while I tried to explain where I was coming from and apologize, she was NOT having it. To this day (and it’s been 3 years!) she won’t talk to me and badmouths me in public. It even got to the point where I had to block her on facebook. But I’ve come to realize that she is coming from a place of hurt and pain. What I said hit a nerve. And while it makes me sad that she continues to be hurt by it, there is really nothing I can do at this point except continue to be kind and have compassion for where she is at. Its just kind of sad.
So again… her opinion is none of my business. Because its about her. Where she is in HER life right now. If what I had said was preposterous to her she wouldn’t have cared. But apparently I hit a nerve, even though I didn’t mean to. And I feel sad. I regret even asking (even though it wasn’t done maliciously) because it caused her pain.
So when I say its none of your business, I don’t mean you should go out saying and doing things that you know will purposely hurt people….of course not! But you can’t control how people are going to think and feel…that’s about them. So you just live your life the best you can, worry about your own thoughts and your own emotions, take control and ownership of that (because that is hard enough!) and not worry about everyone else’s.
Now – this goes not only for strangers, or neighbors, but for members of your own family. You can’t control how your husband or your children or your siblings or your parents, or friends or anyone is going to act, think, or feel. But if you are acting out of LOVE in every situation, then no matter what the result you will know that you are doing the right thing. Because acting out of LOVE is ALWAYS the best option and ALWAYS right.
Ok my friends, that is all I have for you today. I’ll see you next week!