“You Are Only Responsible For Your Own STD’s”
Updated: Nov 16, 2019
No, we are not talking about sexually transmitted diseases, we are talking about what you Say, Think, and Do (S.T.D.).
Life is so much more wonderful when you only take responsibility for what you Say, Think, and Do. So much relief can be experienced once you understand in your core that you have no control over other people’s feelings or behaviors.
Have you ever said, “I don’t want to make them feel bad,” “I don’t want them to get mad,” or something along those lines? People are always trying to take responsibility for other people’s feelings. Maybe it is because growing up we were told we made people feel certain ways? Maybe it gives people a sense of control? The reality is that you are no more in control of the things other people Say, Think, or Do than you are of determining the winning lottery numbers. The truth is that no matter how hard you try you just can’t make someone else feel, think, or act a certain way. Focusing on feelings, you can do something after which someone may feel upset, but you can’t make them feel upset. Our inability to control other people’s feelings is clearer when we think about pleasant feelings. For example, have you ever tried to make someone feel happy when they didn’t want to? Similarly, you can’t make other people laugh, you can only tell a joke after which they will decide if they find it funny…some people will, and others won’t.
The same is true with unpleasant emotions, we can’t make people feel those either. We can say or do something after which they can decide what to think about it. We call that process running an observation of what just happened through your “perception filter.” Everyone has a “perception filter” in which you perceive an experience and that perception shapes how you feel about that experience. For example, if we observe someone lifting their hand up in the air, we could run it through a perception filter that tells you this person is about to hit you. Or we could run it through a different person’s perception filter that believes this person is about to wave hello. There are endless ways to perceive an observation and each way stimulates a different feeling because of a different need being met or not met. In the examples above, the first person could feel scared because their need for safety is threatened (someone might hit them) whereas the second person could feel happy because their need for kindness is about to be met (someone waving hello).
You can only control what you do (raise your hand) after which the other person determines how they will feel (which depends on their perception filter and resulting thoughts). But can the person raising their hand choose to make you feel scared or happy? No, of course not, this person can only control what he did (or said). How others feel is up to them and their specific perception filter in that moment (note you can increase the chances someone will think about what you just said or did in a way that will stimulate a particularly feeling such as smiling versus snarling when you raise your hand but you still can’t control it).
It is so helpful to practice getting comfortable with this new way of experiencing other people and life in general. It frees you from trying to manage other people’s emotions and reactions. Try taking a deep breath now as you let that really sink into your core, feeling your body relax and soften as you release yourself from that significant burden. Next remind yourself what you can control in a situation, which is your reaction to their reaction. In other words, what you think about their reaction and then what you say and do in response to their reaction. That’s it! But that is still a lot of power and how you use that power will directly determine how much connection you experience with that other person. After all, the different ways you could Say, Think, or Do things in response to other people can help increase the chances of them interpreting your actions in a way that is connecting.
In future posts we will get into how to shift what you Say, Think, and Do to maximize connection and minimize pain in your life (the wonderful reward for learning these new Kinectin skills). The goal for today is simply to start noticing all of the possible reactions and emotions that could be had in response to what you Say, Think, or Do. Throughout the day, when you can think of it, try to come up with at least two different ways to perceive someone else’s action. Then notice how you can feel differently depending on how you choose to perceive what is happening.
“Look at the picture below for a fun opportunity to explore perspective - what do you see in this picture, the young maiden or the old lady?”