August 30
If people concentrated on
their responsibilities,
others would have their rights.

Stuart Briscoe


Today's Meditation:

Sometimes we tend to think that everything is our responsibility, that we're supposed to have our hands in everything.  This perspective not only tends to cause us an awful lot of stress, but it affects other people as well.  We all have witnessed the micromanagers at work, people who not only do their jobs, but also try to tell others how to do their jobs to the most miniscule details.

This isn't a "live and let live" approach, though--it's more like a "live and tell others how to live" approach.  It keeps others from being able to do things on their own, in their own ways, often under the threat of retaliation or firing or withdrawal of affection.  It keeps others on edge, uncomfortable, even fearful.

I worked in a unit in the Army with a Commanding Officer who was like this.  In that situation, none of us really had the right to do our jobs the way we had been trained to do them; instead, we all had to do the best that we could, knowing that this CO would show up eventually and tell us to re-do our work, his way.  His interference (or meddling, to be fair) kept us all from working effectively, and kept us all miserable at work, for we never knew what was coming next.  In families, parents can have this effect, and in offices, managers can; in schools, principals and superintendents and even teachers can.

We all have our own responsibilities to take care of, and when all is said and done, that's enough, isn't it?  Why do we so often feel that we need to tell others how to take care of their responsibilities?  When we do so, we interfere in a very real way with the lives they're trying to lead and the work that they're trying to do, and don't they have the right to do what they're doing without constant interference or meddling?

Questions to consider:

What causes people to want or need to interfere in the lives of others instead of taking care of their own responsibilities?

How often do you find yourself telling others how they should do things under the guise of "advice"?

How is telling others how to deal with their responsibilities or how to live their lives, taking away their rights?

For further thought:
Letting go doesn't mean we don't care.  Letting go doesn't mean we shut down.  Letting go means we stop trying to force outcomes and make people behave.  It means we give up resistance to the way things are, for the moment.  It means we stop trying to do the impossible--controlling that which we cannot--and instead, focus on what is possible--which usually means taking care of ourselves.  And we do this in gentleness, kindness, and love, as much as possible.

Melody Beattie


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