Yep, it’s a bit of a confrontational title, but it recently struck me just how many people are struggling with life, because others, usually their loved ones, are being incredibly self – centred. I am not talking about myself here, I am glad to say. Although I have a busy and demanding life, I am not in the unfortunate position of being consistently on the receiving end of someone else’s bad attitude (in the past maybe, but not now).
However, I have come across many worn – down, weary individuals who are getting up each morning, pasting on a smile, holding their breath in, and tackling the demands and resistances of those they feel responsible for. I have had many customers who are in this position, and sadly there is a limit to what I can do. They hope (and without hope, where would we be?), that somehow, someway, things will change…if they can just keep going that bit longer.
And you know, they’re right to hope. Because time always marches on, and the circumstances we find ourselves in today will change naturally, over time, even if we do nothing different. Children grow up, elderly parents die, dysfunctional relationships improve or reach an end. It sounds harsh, but it’s true. How many times have you thought “I have NO idea how I am going to get out of this situation”, and yet you did. Me too. Here I am today, with the worst of times behind me.
However, that is little consolation when you are gritting your teeth in the here and now, torn between people you love who just won’t get along, treading on eggshells, trying to figure out solutions that suit EVERYONE….with you just being happy and grateful to have ONE day of relative peace (from your relatives!).
And of course there is plenty of advice for those of us with this kind of problem:
Put yourself first
Tell them straight
Refuse to get involved
Don’t react to them
Slip extra strong sleeping pills into their dinner, and put your feet up (oops sorry…thinking aloud….probably better to ignore this one!)
There IS some common sense in all of these nuggets of wisdom….but if it was that easy, we wouldn’t have the problem in the first place!
So, if you are the kind of soul who sacrifices your own wants and needs for the sake of collective harmony, if you are the one who is aware of everyone else’s ‘issues’, whilst they remain blissfully unaware of exactly how their attitude and behaviour are impacting you, if you have become the central pivot that keeps everything functioning, ask yourself four questions:
How did I actually become the central pivot?
What would happen if I ceased to be the central pivot….what if I died, or was abducted by aliens, or sent to prison, for example…what would happen then?
Am I willing to continue to be the central pivot until the dynamic changes, naturally, as life moves on, or are there SOME changes I could make now, that would make the process easier for me to handle?
How will I feel about myself, in the bigger picture if I choose to remain as the central pivot….will I feel angry with myself and others, or will I look back and believe that I did the best and right thing, in line with my own personal values, standards and ethics?
You see, you are in this position because you naturally feel responsible for others, because your values are big ones, bigger than those of the people you love but are struggling with. You are in this position because you are a caring person, a solution – seeker, because you have inner – world strength, and because you refuse to lie down and give in, expecting someone else to take the weight. Unfortunately, with all of that comes responsibility….which seems really unfair! More is expected of the strongest, less is expected of the weakest or most self – interested. By being stronger, you have to become stronger still!
But you will never give up….because this is you, through and through. Because you would find it hard to accept and live with yourself if you didn’t keep going, even though you crave freedom from the effort, the stress and the strain. Because you have something so many others don’t have…a reasonable attitude, flexibility, a forgiving heart (even if it sometimes slips into a dark place!), the ability to see the bigger picture, a willingness not to make everything about you. And you will continue to pay the price, because that feels better to you, overall, than short – changing your own values and ethics!
Having said all of that, you can probably compromise with yourself, and make SOME changes….start with just one. Make an agreement with yourself. “I will continue to do this, but I AM changing that”. And stick with it until it becomes a habit, not just for yourself, but for the tricky – dickies you are dealing with! They may well need to be re – trained, slowly but steadily (too fast and they will resist with every inch of their being). And you know, it is perfectly okay to love someone but not always like them. There’s a saying that sums it up nicely….a friend in need is a pain in the arse!
I am going to finish this blog by touting for business (there’s always someone trying to sell us something!): I have opened an online shop, selling downloadable audio recordings…bite – sized chunks of self – help, and my most recent addition is entitled: Anxiety! Let it be your friend, not your enemy! You might find it helpful, and it IS reasonably priced! The link is below, and even if you don’t find anything that catches your attention today, keep checking in, because I will be adding more products. My business is all about personal empowerment…and YOU, the pivot, need to be fed regularly, if you are to have the will and the strength to do what is natural to your spirit!