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Self Concern

Here's a thought, concern yourself with your self. Quit worrying about others or trying to understand why others did what they did or do what they do. Instead, look within and try to understand yourself.

I can't tell you how many books I've read about trying to understand others perspective or the merits of putting yourself in the shoes of others. I'm not saying these aren't helpful techniques. It is good to think of where others are coming from as it can increase your understanding. But I'm discovering that actual change comes when we realize from whence we are coming. We can't change the behavior of others. And let's face it, we really can't understand their behavior either because we really can't know what they are thinking or feeling. But we can examine ourselves. We can analyze what we are thinking and feeling or simply just witness it.

I have been using this technique a lot the past while and it's quite revealing. I was watching a movie where the behavior onscreen really bothered me. I caught myself trying to figure out what the actors were thinking/feeling. I realized the futility of that and decided to look inward to determine the genesis of my discomfort. It was me. And admittedly, I haven't pursued an underlying understanding of my discomfort but I did recognize this approach as superior.

Furthermore, I was driving home from work the other day and thinking about how excited I was to come home and spend some time together with the family. I thought of one particular child who I'd need to coax out of the room to join us instead of facetiming friends. It was then that I realized I was trying to control someone and instead of looking at their behavior as needing correcting, I looked within to try to uncover my underlying need to tell someone what to do with their time. I recognized that I don't enjoy spending my limited free time in ways dictated by others and how I would hate for someone to tell me to put my book down and join the family if I was finally able to relax after work to enjoy some reading time. I quickly relinquished my need to require anyone to join an activity of my choosing as I realized that was something I wouldn't appreciate someone doing to me.

These are just two examples that transpired recently. I can think of so many more. I hope I always remember to concern myself with self rather than concern myself with others for understanding self is far more powerful than understanding others.

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