Waiting for the school bus, Charlie started barking at an innocent walker. He saw him at a distance and started with the short snorts and growls and as the stranger got closer, he broke into a full barking spell. He does that from time to time and my usual response is to tell him to calm down, or to shut up depending on my mood and how long the barking has been going on. Today, for some reason I reminded him that he wasn’t in charge of the neighborhood. I kept on telling him calmly, “you’re not in charge”.
I wonder how often we are disturbed by whatever is going on because of the misconception that we are in charge or responsible. I wonder if I truly believed that I was not in charge or responsible for all the drivers out there, would I still be annoyed at whoever was driving too slow or too fast or, … Would I be more calm watching the news, if I didn’t believe I was in charge of the world and all its inhabitants and their actions, or opinions?
Truth is the only thing we should be responsible for is our own thoughts, emotions, and reactions. Yet, we readily give that responsibility to everyone else: our spouses, ex-spouses, children, co-workers, bosses, etc. It seems like everyone else is in charge of our reaction to life. I’m sure if my dog was a human, he’d blame the stranger for his barking fit. However, knowing Charlie, if he could talk, he’d probably say, “I’m a dog and he seemed like a nice guy, I was trying to find out if he wanted to play, I just wanted some attention”.
The next time I get upset about something, I’m going to ask myself: What’s really going on here? Who is in charge? Am I longing for some attention, someone to play with? If nothing else, it sure will get my mind off of whatever was aggravating me and put me in a dog frame of mind.
Questions To Ponder:
1) What are some instances where you easily get aggravated?
2) Do you find yourself in charge of the situation (e.g., the highway, the news, politics, etc.) or are you upset because you are not?
3) What would you like to hear (e.g., you’ve been promoted, these are not your issues anymore, you need a vacation, etc.) from whomever is in charge that would make you feel relieved?
If you find yourself questioning your responsibilities and would like to explore what really matters to you, you may want to work with a spiritual life coach. Spiritual life coaching is a process where you, the client is the driver and there are no right or wrong answers to any of your questions. Contact me for a consultation to see if this type of facilitation is what you want.