I had a conversation last week with someone about a person I used to know who got on my every last nerve almost every day. We talked about how this person, who probably had good intentions, didn’t have a way with people. In fact, there were many who repelled by his brusque personality and crude behavior. I relayed a story about a time he wanted to help but was unable because of who this person was on the inside and outside.
There were days I dreaded knowing I would encounter this man. It got to a point where this person was beginning to take up an inordinate amount of space in my mind. One day it dawned on me that I was spending too much time thinking about them and not focused on stillness of spirit. I threw on my tennis shoes, took a long walk, and hashed out in my mind all the things this person did and when I felt I had it all in a nice tight ball in the pit of my stomach, I took it out (metaphorically of course) and threw it away. I decided I would not give this one the power to make me crazy(er?) any longer. It was the freest and at ease, I had been in a long time.
We can’t and will not get along with everyone. Personalities clash, goals and visions collide, certain people and us don’t mix. This is okay as long as we treat them with respect, put some distance between us if at all possible, and never let them steal our inner peace.
The Polish proverb above reminds us the wisdom of being cautious in making other people’s anxieties, neurosis, problems our own.
Each of us have personal issues we deal with, areas in our lives which bring strife and chaos. These places, relationships, demand emotional, physical and spiritual energy. The wise person understands there are finite resources from which to draw before peace and contentment is lost.
My wife and I speak often about “not jumping on the crazy train” when the issues of others attempt to take us places we have no wish to go.
While it seems some folks are intent in booking us on a never ending journey of crazy, or giving us a zoo full of pet monkeys to care for, we must be willing to resist, refuse, taking on other’s issues.
After all, most of us have enough monkeys of our own to deal with.