What Other People Say

What other people say and do is about them.

The way I see it and respond to it is about me.

This is one of my favorite sayings. I’m not sure exactly who said it and it may be heavily paraphrased, but the meaning is clear.  Other people’s opinions are just that – their opinions. They come from their beliefs and experiences. They are influenced by the day they are having and the mood they are in. You are never the cause of what other people say and do.

Say What?

You are not responsible for what other people say and do. Period. Doesn’t matter that you are their sibling, or parent, or spouse. Doesn’t matter what you said or did right before. Even if you “provoked” them. They are the only ones responsible for their words and actions. Really think about that.

We are taught the opposite from an early age.  We are taught that we can make other people fee good or bad. We are told not to “hurt someone’s feelings.”

I’m In Control of How I Think And Feel…Always

Really, the only way I can hurt someone’s feelings is if they let me.

What do I mean?  Let’s take an example.  Let’s say a co-worker calls me a nasty b***h. Weather or not this hurts will depend on my thoughts. I happen to think I’m anything but, so that comment would have little effect on me. If this co-worker was a close friend I trusted, the comment would have more sting because I would be thinking she’s betraying our friendship. The point is, how I think about what someone else says is my responsibility, not theirs.

Ultimately, I am in control of whether or not that comment hurts. We may not realize it, but this is always true.

Here is another example. Imagine a close friend tells you look hideous because you have four arms.  You think to yourself, but I only have two arms! Likely the comment will have little to no effect on you. There is no part of you that believes it.

However, what if the same close friend says instead: “You really should spend more time with your kids. Your not a very good parent.” That may hurt a little. Why?

The Difference

The difference between these two statements is you and how you think about what was said. Most parents at some time feel they don’t spend enough time with their kids. This is a common feeling. When someone echos a thought and feeling we have about ourselves, that is when it “hurts”.  Essentially, we allow the comment to hurt because we believe it.

It may not be easy to simply not believe some comments. Especially when they come from people we love. If my spouse calls me a “nasty b***h,” my thoughts will be very different than if a stranger says the same thing.

The way I see it and respond to it is about me.

The good news here is I get to decide how I want to think and act, no matter what was said or who said it. I’m always the one in control of my own response. When I take 100% responsibility for my own words and actions, then I can be deliberate with my life.



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