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You Are Not the Boss of Me!

Updated: Mar 2

I just saw an ad for bedding that stated:

"Making your bed is a great way to set the tone for the day."

Maybe for you, but not necessarily for me.

Here is the thing, I know we mean well when we offer unsolicited advice. When making your bed in the morning makes you feel in harmony with the world, you want others to have that same feeling. It just doesn't work this way.

I can tell you that making my bed in the morning does absolutely nothing to set the tone for my day! Seriously - nothing.

And I know that if it sets the tone of peace and harmony for you, it may be difficult for you to understand this. Sometimes I make my bed, and sometimes I don't - no difference in the way I feel about it or the rest of my day.

Many years ago, I was a department chair juggling lots of balls, and I had an incredibly messy desk. So many folks talked about feeling much better when they cleaned off their desk before heading home for the day. I tried it. It did nothing for me. a clean desk did not make me feel the least bit better. In fact, I couldn't find the things I needed to work on when I came in the next morning.

 If someone we love is struggling to find harmony in their day, we want to help them, so we tell them what works for us. If they comment on not getting enough exercise or trying to cut down on night eating or trying not to call their ex or trying to be less cluttered or trying to set the tone for their day, or whatever, we often find it hard to just be with this.

Am I right?!?!?

Just because someone is suffering doesn't mean we need to fix them.

If they ask for help, then sure offer up some solicited advice.

Or if their suffering is hurting you, tell them, and then ask if they want to know what works for you. I don't know about you - because I really don't know about you, but, when I am in pain and I call someone and they just try to fix it, I do my best to get off the phone.

I don't want to be fixed; I want to be seen. I want be be heard. I want to know that whatever I am feeling is ok in this moment. Crying or suffering is not wrong - it is a gigantic part of being human.

A few years ago my spouse got laid-off from his job. I am always jumping around from business to business so he carries the health insurance and the steady income. Being in my late 50's and already certain that we don't have nearly enough money to ever retire, this really threw me.

There were parts of me that got really activated. It may not have made much sense, but the feelings were real. Several friends tried to help me: "I'm sure he will find a better job" or "You guys will be fine." or "When one door closes another will be sure to open."

First of all, I already know all of this and can still feel sad and scared and activated. So first I find it annoying and then I find it offensive that you think I don't know these facts. But feelings have nothing to do with facts.

Don't get me wrong, some of these people are my closest, dearest friends. I don't dislike them, I just find this type of response unhelpful and usually get off the phone and avoid them for a few days when I invariably come out of the fear all by myself.

Some friends simply listen to me and say, "Damn, that sucks. You sound really scared. Is there something I can do?" Or they remind me: " It won't always feel this way." Or better yet - "I'm coming to pick you up and take you to dinner; it's okay if you cry through dinner!"

It did all work out, and the panic and anxiety probably only lasted a day. And it didn't completely take the wheel of my emotional bus for more than a few hours. You know how it is, we have strong feelings but we still go to work, and take a shower, and all the other things - most times.

To be honest, this wasn't a crisis, but it felt like one. It wasn't life threatening, but it felt like it was. So, when my internal system calms, I can get curious about why I was so activated, why it felt life life or death.

And I did indeed find out why. I got curious and spent some time with those parts of me that got so scared. Had I just brushed the feelings away and got busy, busy, busy avoiding the feelings or fixing the problem, I would never have gotten curious and made sense of these parts.

Want to know more about what I discovered . . .that will be in the next essay. 🥰❤️✌🏼


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