People. People and their drama. So you’ve got issues, sure whatever, we all do. I hate it when people click their gum, for example. But it’s OK if I do it. Double standard? Of course, but I’m working through it. But while I work on my collection of pet peeves, ticks and other emotional triggers, I have decided that I don’t need to collect more emotional baggage.
Here’s how I have begun to cope when people want me to take on just one more emotional issue.
That’s Your Issue
Being the social creatures that we are and how we value the efforts of a team, many of us work and play together. It’s not an uncommon experience to discover during one of these many interactions that people are just bizarre. And, naturally, we gravitate towards some people and away from others. A pattern develops and we, often, rationalize and clump people together based on very little information.
Example: “Her hair is blue. She’s a freak.”
If I had to take a stab at behavioral psychology, and I probably shouldn’t, I’m sure a statement like this is a defense mechanism in an effort to protect oneself from the “type” of person that has hurt them in someway before. But, my friend, you confide it in me. Trying to see if I can be clumped in your “ok in my book” group of people. While I’d like to join the in-crowd — I truly would — that’s your issue. Not mine. I happen to like the color blue.
Motivated by Guilt
I know guilt really well. I’ve personally sought him out for most of my childhood up to my teenage years. He’s kind of a prick and we don’t spend as much time together. Unfortunately, there are many people that I know and love that are still motivated by guilt.
Example: “My friend of so many years wants to spend time with me. He drives me nuts. I can’t stand the way he thinks and it won’t be fun. But I have to do it. He keeps asking me and I don’t have an excuse to get out of it.”
As one of the wonderful expressions my mother would say to me as I was just a child: “I could die tomorrow.” I didn’t get it then but I do now. This could be my last day on this earth because a meteor could come crashing down into my house and that’s it – ka-put! – so why would I spend time doing something I don’t want to do?
Well, maybe she didn’t mean the meteor thing or maybe she wanted me to be more appreciative of life and of her. So, maybe I didn’t quite get her exact meaning. Nonetheless, this is my interpretation and decision to not be motivated by guilt.
That’s Not Mine
A note to my loved ones:
Loved one, I care for you. I really do. And that crisis you’re going through, I’m here for you. To listen. Provide advice if you want it. And give you hugs if you need them. But I’m not carrying your emotional baggage around with me. Sorry. I’ve got plenty of my own.