I had a conversation this week that I’ve had many times before. A good friend came to me with the same gripe I’ve heard for the last ten years, “XYZ won’t quit doing this incredibly annoying behavior and it’s ruining my life. I don’t want to go to work. I don’t want to see them socially and I hate my life.”
Wow, “I hate my life” is a pretty powerful statement. That’s a lot of power to give over to someone else.
The conversation didn’t end well. I pointed out, as I have for the last decade, that they have a CHOICE in how they are going to act and react to this person. I said what many wiser teachers before me have said: in a relationship, you have 100% responsibility for the relationship. You cannot control the other person. You can only control yourself and your actions and reactions in any given situation.
The conversation got heated. I feel so strongly about the concept of “Take 100% responsibility for your life” that I get worked up when I see people close to me in pain because they’re not living by this principle.
- You chose to eat the last Twinkie. Every day. For the last 15 years. Now you’re obese. That’s not the food industry’s fault.
- You chose to have that last drink at the bar. Every Wednesday. For the lats 10 years. Now you’ve gotten your license taken away for your 3rd DUI in 10 years. That’s not the bar’s fault.
- You chose to buy the big house knowing you’d have to vacuum 6 rooms and clean 4 toilets. Every week. For the last 5 years. Now you’re feeling like you don’t have enough quality time with your family. That’s not the house’s fault.