Spoiler alert – not mine. Because, whose problem is that? Beeaaatch – that sounds like a you problem and not a me problem.
First of all, credit where it’s due – my friend Tracy Hemingway said these words to me in conversation recently, and I just stole them.
If you want to make your finances not an anyone problem (ie fix them), you should talk to her – she’s the Debt-Free Diva and she’s AMAZING.
But anyway, back to my story.
The weight of others
Most of us spend our lives influenced to a great extent by what others think of us. We can extend that to include their expectations, their judgment, their opinions. We choose (subconsciously) to make all of those things our problem. We take on the weight of their expectations and act accordingly.
In particular, my experience has been that I allow other people’s emotions to be my problem. I feel responsible to make people happy.
Well, let me tell you, that’s a recipe for disaster.
Calling all the people pleasers and the ones with the over-developed responsibility gene. And actually, if I’m honest, calling all humans.
Can you imagine how POWERFUL it would be if you lived the way you want to, not the way others want you to?
Now, there are two things I’m not suggesting:
What I’m not suggesting #1: That you’re all oppressed and living miserable lives
We can be living fairly good happy lives and still be able to live more powerfully. I mean, when you went out last Sunday and didn’t wear that dress you considered wearing – why not? Because of what other people might think? When you got your hair cut yesterday because short back and sides are considered professional and even though you were enjoying it a bit longer you thought you’d better toe the professional line? Yeah, those things.
If I put it simply, you’ll never know how it can feel to stand in your truth, be fully and authentically you, if you don’t try it. And every tiny decision we make based on other people’s opinions is a brick in the wall that stands between us and our most powerful selves.
What I’m not suggesting #2: That you should never care about anyone’s feeling but yours.
If you did that you’d be a psychopath, and the world doesn’t need more of those. There’s a pretty clear line (once you look for it) between giving no fucks and only giving selective fucks. I’m encouraging the latter.
I believe we all have an obligation to move through our lives in ways that don’t cause harm to others. Be a good human. But there’s a difference between being a good human and being a people pleaser.
You want the night off from cooking dinner because you’re tired and you’re not a slave and the other humans in your house are completely capable of having weetbix or toast? Oh, and they’re upset about that? That’s not you causing harm. They own their response to your self-care, not you. Their emotions are a them problem, and not a you problem.
And that’s what I wanted to get to, really.
That sounds like a you problem and not a me problem
These days I try to live my life very aware of the potential consequences of my actions and my words (or my inaction and my silence). I am powerful in my world when I can live my truth, see that others have opinions on that, and choose not to make their opinions my problem.
I recently had a client make a decision about my services that I didn’t agree with. I had a lot of emotions around that decision. I had feelings of failure and fear and embarrassment. Most of all, I disagreed with their decision. I thought they’d got it wrong and they were heading down a path that wouldn’t get them the outcome they wanted.
After taking some time to process my emotions, I created a list of what was mine and what was theirs:
- The right to run their business the way they want
- The right to change their mind
- The right to hire and fire me as they wish
- The right to have opinions about the quality of my work
- The right to decide they could get more value elsewhere
- The obligation to pay me for my services
- The obligation to deliver what the client asked
- The right to get paid for doing it
- The obligation to let them know if professionally, I thought they were creating risk for themselves
- The obligation to respect their wishes once I’d said what my professional integrity drove me to say
- The right to give NO POWER to any opinion they might now hold about me
- The right to give NO POWER to my emotional responses because they were just that – emotional responses, not truth
- The right to close a door on the whole situation and just let the rest of it be a them problem and not a me problem
- The power to let it go and choose to be happy
*climbs down off a soapbox*
Clearly, I still have feelings about this. I’m human. But ultimately, I know I have the power.
And so do you, is the point.
Know yourself, love yourself, HAVE POWER, find joy
You have the power to look at any given situation and ask yourself: Is this a me problem or a them problem?
Try saying out loud – it makes me feel SO STRONG AND CONFIDENT:
Oh, that sounds like a you problem and not a me problem.
See how that works?
The next time someone’s unhappy with you, think it through:
- Whose problem is this?
- Am I making it mine?
And feel how emancipating it is when you realise you’re not responsible for everyone’s everythings.