When was the last time you got offended? What happened? We’ll come back to that thought. In the meantime, I’ll share a time when I was offended.
We had this neighbor that was hmm…how can I say it, meddlesome? …yeah, that’s accurate. She would come over whenever, stop you as you were walking to the mailbox and talk your ear off with the gossip of the neighborhood. She was always out front so you couldn’t ever go outside without getting bombarded by her.
We were okay for a little while. We were nice, lended a listening ear because we just thought that maybe she was lonely. But then things took a downward turn. She started making up ugly things about us and telling them to the neighbors. She would accost our friends in our driveway as they came to visit us with her tales. She would scold my kids and come in our backyard when we weren’t home to see our dogs and then tell people that we were terrible owners because left our dogs OUTSIDE. Can you even believe it?! A dog, outside?! (and the funny thing is – we have a super spoiled chihuahua that really was an indoor dog 98% of his life – but she’d find the times when he was outside and stop on by)
Anyway, things were getting out of hand. This woman was driving me bonkers! We put a lock on our gate and my sweet husband talked to her a couple of times about boundaries and such but still her actions persisted.
I would have thoughts like, “Geez, this lady is making me crazy! Who does she think she is? We don’t do __________ (insert whatever she was accusing us of that day), Why is she targeting us? What did we ever do to her? Why does she think it’s okay to do __________(whatever it was she was doing that day – spreading ugly stories, glaring at us from her porch, complaining). Doesn’t she have ANYTHING better to do with her time??? She should go out and get a job, volunteer, walk, anything other than stand on her porch and watch us!”
I was putting myself in turmoil and didn’t even see what I was doing. Byron Katie, a wise, wise soul teaches that we are only ever in pain when we step out of our business and into other people’s business.
She says: “There are only three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours, and God’s…and staying in my business is a FULL-TIME job”
We’re only ever in “pain” when we dabble in other people’s business.
My business is everything that is in MY control: my thoughts, my actions, my feelings,etc
Other’s business is whatever THEY think, do, say, act, etc.
Then God’s business: pretty much everything else – The weather, natural disasters, etc.
When I was getting offended by this lady I was all but “LIVING” in HER BUSINESS. Her actions weighed on me all the time. I didn’t like the feeling that I couldn’t go outside without her being there…watching…scolding…judging. I couldn’t stand that she was saying ugly things about me that I thought were completely unwarranted and false. But really all my hurt came from ME dabbling in HER BUSINESS.
I knew I didn’t do anything to her so my conscience was clear and I didn’t have guilt added to the equation at least. But SHE wasn’t the cause of my pain. I WAS THE CAUSE OF MY PAIN. It was my fault for trying to meddle in her business, for trying to understand what she was thinking, why she was saying what she was saying, or doing what she was doing, for me assuming I knew what she SHOULD do instead, how she SHOULD act, think, say…ALL of that is HER BUSINESS and if I just LET her be her and think, feel, and do whatever she is going to do. Then I stay ONLY in MY own business and think what I choose to think, feel how I want to feel, and then act how I want to act then I’m free of that pain.
We can make requests of others and set boundaries (if you enter my backyard without an invitation then I’ll call the authorities – boundary!) But ultimately we’re all human with our own agency and can choose to do and say whatever we decide. So we need to understand that others too have their agency and they are going to do, say, and think whatever THEY want and truly…it’s NONE of my business.
I can just let them be WRONG about me and let them be who they’re going to be. I can feel at peace because I know and am okay with the person that I am and how I show up in the world. I’m not saying that it doesn’t stink when others exercise their agency in what we deem a “negative” light but I don’t need to live in their business and wonder what they’re thinking – it’s truly none of my business. I get to stay in my head, with my thoughts, and feelings, and then get to choose to respond the best way that I can. There’s so much peace in this when you can get to this space.
Okay, your turn! Did you remember a time you were offended? Whose business are you dabbling in???
Try this…see how it feels…STAY OUT OF OTHER’S BUSINESS…it’s so liberating!