2002-01-19 / Columnists

The Inner Voice

By Marilyn Gelfand

By Marilyn Gelfand

Have you found yourself grumbling about someone else recently? If you have, take a step back and ask yourself, "Am I annoyed about the right person?" Often we end up blaming others when the fault of the action is within ourselves. If I want privacy in my room, for example, and someone walks in, why be angry with the other, when I could have locked the door in the first place? If you lock your own door, no one could come inside. But if the door is left open, someone could easily intrude. If I'm trying to eat less, and someone eats in front of me, why not leave or just say I can control myself? Do I have to eat because someone else is? Of course you can always ask another person to co-operate with you and please stay out of my room, or could you not eat in front of me. But that is the option, not the fault, of the other person. The responsibility rests with me.

Often when we acknowledge that the responsibility of the action rests with me, not the other, a new strength appears. You may find yourself saying, "I can do this, don't get angry or lose control, keep the peace, etc." If we can step back and not be caught up in the emotion of blame, it is possible to be more of an observer.

Maybe I'm annoyed because I've accepted another's responsibility for himself. As a family member, we often take responsibility for the decisions our adult children make for themselves. In reality, I desire to control my child's life when I do this. I can give advice, help out, but when our adult children decide what they want, we must let go, and not blame them for seeing their lives their own way. This can be very difficult to accept. It is very important to step back and realize who's responsible for the decision before we let our emotions run rampant into blame. Really the only thing we can control is our own energy.

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