Last week, we looked internally to seek to take responsibility for our own actions and choices. It's a lot easier said than done, I realize that! Harder still, for me, is NOT taking responsibility for other people's actions, choices, and thoughts. And feelings. Oh god, the feelings. I always want to assume responsibility for other people's happiness and satisfaction.
Said in a different way: I want to be the reason for other people's happiness and satisfaction. I want them to love me for my good deeds as a friend, family member, or partner. I feel worth from being the instigator and driver of their happiness.
If we think about it that way, it is a lot more ego than it is a desire to be selfless and helpful. Yikes.
The thing is, I know that no one can make me happy and satisfied but me. I accept that so easily. But it works both ways. I have to meditate sometimes on how I can never make someone else happy or satisfied. Never. Can I have influence? Yes. And I can love others and be compassionate in ways that satisfy that desire. But ultimately, that person has to choose their own happiness. I am not responsible.
I have also, in the past, had the tendency to assume responsibility for other people's truths and thoughts. Especially when those truths and thoughts are about me. This is an action against self-trust. It boils down to taking things personally.
No matter what another person says or does, it is entirely about them, and never about you. This is very hard concept to stay on touch with in the heat of an argument or when feeling attacked. When you allow other people to pass judgment on you, you are at high risk of making yourself a victim. You are at high risk of putting up emotional walls and defending and arguing with them about how you see yourself.
When we defend or argue our mind is closed.
So don't. When we defend or argue against judgments made against us, we are seeking to reason with someone who does not see things from our point of view, and perhaps never will. We should seek to see things from their point of view. Not to adopt what they think as our own, but to understand why they feel the need to pass judgment in the first place. This is our part in taking responsibility in conflict. We must take responsibility for how we feel, and allow others to take responsibility for how they feel. I struggle so much with this.
The times when I have taken this thoughtful path, it has led me to a deeper understanding of that person. And, in some cases, I have felt truly sorry for them. My sense of empathy kicks in naturally, and instead of feeling attacked and defensive, I feel not only at peace with myself, but I can understand things about them that I never knew before.