A few months ago I was talking to my girlfriend and I said, “I feel like I can never shut off my brain from worry about people, wanting them to be happy, or wanting to help everyone.” She, with so much love, said, “how are you allowing this and whose business are you spending more time in, yours, or theirs?”
Goosebumps came across my entire body, which is my oh yeah, you have to look at this sign. What I realized is that I hadn’t been giving myself time to shut myself down from worry/helper mode because instead of just giving support when it was needed and/or asked for, I was constantly giving unasked for advice. AND, this was a big wake-up call, I was spending way too much time thinking and believing that I needed to be in other people’s business because I’m a people pleaser. I want everyone to be happy! What’s wrong with that? Nothing, except that not everyone wants, needs, or gives a crap about what I think will make them happy. That isn’t up to me.
“Whose business are you in?” really resonated with me because it made me see that if I’m spending all my time worrying about everyone else’s business, lives and level of happiness, and they are worrying about themselves, who’s living my life and protecting my happiness? AHA! I bet that just resonated with some of you too.
So here is what I’ve been practicing over the past few months since having that conversation.
First The Lessons: I can still want very much for everyone to be happy and offer my support, without needing to give advice unless someone asks. My value in that friendship or relationship doesn’t come from being a good problem solver. I am a really good coach, and I am a strong problem solver, but again, not everyone cares to be coached or have their problems solved by me. I know…shocking!
The Actions: This is an example of how I’m practicing embracing this lesson. When my husband says he had a bad day at work, me going into a speech about having a positive mindset and giving him tools to deal with a difficult person, usually doesn’t help. Again, shocking! However, me giving him a hug and asking, “do you want to talk about it?” And perhaps saying, “let’s a have a nice evening together, and forget all about it for the night.” Which is 99.9% of the time what he needs and how he wants to deal with a bad day. He knows he can talk to me, if that is how he chooses to deal with his bad day, because I’ve asked and created space for him to do so.
I now practice just giving my love and support, unless my advice is asked for. This is bite my tongue, scream into a pillow hard for me! But it feels so freeing and it is actually way more helpful to the other person. When a girlfriend messaged me to vent about a problem the other day, I just expressed how sorry I was for how she was feeling, told her I was there for her, and asked if there was anything she needed. What I’ve always known, but the people pleaser, I want everyone to be happy part of me didn’t allow, was that sometimes we just need to vent. That is often all that I need, and that is exactly what she needed and she felt better before we were even done talking; without me having to spend one minute getting into her business where I didn’t belong.
Taking our experiences, seeing the lessons we need to learn, and turning them into a practice we can action to change our experience of the experience is so incredibly powerful. I’m, you, we, are the creators of our own lives. If we don’t put ourselves in the drivers seat of our life, we can’t get to where we want to go. Or we can, but we have to make all the pit stops that everyone else needs to make before we get there.
Over To You: So my question to you today is, if you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed by worrying all the time about everyone and everything else, ask yourself this question, “whose business am I in?”