Tag Archives: perspective

None Of My Business (Revised)

SerenityBecause I talk to folks about recovery a lot, I run across issues with self-esteem (in addition to my own). It’s not unusual to find situations where someone is obsessed with a remark they heard and blew all out of proportion by projecting their own fear onto it. Often these are comments that the offended party perceived to be “rude” and regarding which they believe that they are entitled to an apology. (Translation: “My self-esteem is damaged and I have to shore it up in any way possible without threatening it any further, therefore it’s the other person’s job to fix it.”)

I try to point out that everyone is rude on occasion, for a variety of reasons, and that even though some people behave like jackasses a good deal of the time it doesn’t mean that we have to give their remarks any more than minimal weight. I often mention that what other people think, even about us, is really none of our business. That doesn’t usually penetrate far, at least at first.

I’ve seen this a lot over the years. Some folks just don’t understand that (a.) we can’t control what people think about us, or what information about their lives they choose to share with us; (b.) that those things really are none of our business; and that (c.) we aren’t “entitled” to anything, outside of a legal framework. Our entitlements are strictly in our own heads. You get a lot of push-back when you say that to folks, but consider . . . Continue reading

Perspective

My wife just called me and told me that she damaged the car by hitting a curb.  It may cost us some repairs, and perhaps a new tire and aluminum wheel.  She was distracted for a moment, irritated about having to return to her office and turn off the A/C (which hadn’t been working well anyway), and she just got careless for that instant.

I’ve never been one to hold unnecessary blame for things — at least not most things.  I can spin out a good resentment as readily as the next guy, but over the years I’ve found I tend to do that less and less.  That could be due to the perspective of nearly seven decades of making my own mistakes, but I suspect it’s also due to my program of recovery, because I note that a lot of folks my age tend to be a bit more rigid.  Whatever the case, I’m happy for it.  Being unnecessarily pissed off is so tiring.

And I mean…really, now.  Exactly.  What’s the reality here?  Michele is unhurt, albeit pretty upset.  She’s able to drive the car on surface streets, so she’ll likely get home without a tow.  The dealership is only a couple of miles away.  The car has no permanent functional damage, so it’ll cost a couple of hundred bucks and some inconvenience to set things right — perhaps some lost hours at work for her that can be made up later (although I hate to see that happen, because she works too much as it is).

I’m not happy about the money; we’re not that flush.  Not flush at all, in fact.  Nor am I happy about the damage to the car, the stress on my honey, or the inconvenience.  But the reality is that Shel loves that little car at least as much as I do.  She’s responsible for hurting it, so she’s the one suffering the anguish, not me.  She’s okay, and the situation is fixable.  It’s not as if she’d been injured, or one of us had relapsed, or one of the kids got stepped on by an elephant or something.  It’s a tire, probably a wheel, an alignment, maybe a bit of minor bodywork, and that’s all!  On a scale of one to ten, it’s a two at worst.  Maybe less.

What, then is the point of getting upset?  Does it help?  Nah.  Does it hurt?  Sure.  Hurts me, my honey who can read me like a book, and it’s not good for my overall frame of mind.  A dinged Hyundai isn’t even in the ballpark when it comes to tragedy.   A sad wife is a lot more important.

It’s all a matter of perspective.