Friday, February 19, 2016

Forgotten Truths

Back when I was a young parent with several children struggling to learn despite various learning issues, I was required by the state I lived in to take a parenting class...every year. There was a good reason for that. Struggling children tend to act out a lot. Several of them is one family can prove to be quite chaotic. Hence, the class.

Oddly enough, I discovered one of the main principles in this class was also applicable to general life and worked well for managing general peace and tranquility, especially as I tended to be one of those people who tries to micromanage everything--and everyone--around me. Are you ready? Here it is. When encountering a frustrating situation, stop and ask yourself the following questions:

Is this my problem? It might be. It probably isn't.

For instance, you ask your child to make his bed. When you check on it later, you find a minimal job with wrinkled sheets and crooked bedspread. Stop. Think. Is this YOUR problem? Did he in fact make the bed? So, the problem is not his obedience, but YOUR standard. Will you be sleeping in this bed? Does it affect you in any way other than your pride? No? Then walk away. NOT your problem.

A second example for those who have adult children who are struggling. You know they are having trouble paying their bills. Your first instinct is to rush in and help out. STOP. Is this YOUR problem? Are they your bills? Or is it your desire to manage your child's life that urges you to 'help' them. Actually, if they're adults, then they've already managed things just fine. My experience is, they'll find a way to deal with THEIR life. NOT your problem.

One last example we live every day. Politics, crime, poverty and homelessness...or any other issue you can think of. Anxiety and stress are killers. Worrying about things YOU cannot change do nothing about the issue AND make you sick. So again, apply the test. Is this my problem?

Idiot politicians--ultimately dealt with at the polls. What can I do about this problem? Nothing until it's time to vote. Worrying in the meantime is counterproductive and silly. Research (NOT by reading facebook posts!) and be prepared with knowledge when the time comes.

Crime--everyone's problem, but what can I do? Be observant. Be aware of your surroundings. Do what you can to make sure you are not a victim. Be there for other victims. If appropriate, report your observations to the police or appropriate authority. Worry? Not appropriate.

In every case, for every issue, stop long enough to ask yourself 1) Is it my problem? and 2) What CAN I do about it? 3) What SHOULD I do about it? See example two above. Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD.

If it's truly not your problem, walk away. Heh, that's easier said than done, isn't it? Because the truth in the end is most things around us are not our problems. They're things we take on because we believe down deep that we can manage them better than the other guy. We itch to put in our two cents worth, to lord it over the other guy, to tell them how to live their lives, when in reality, we aren't doing such a hot job of managing our own.

So tell it your problem?