It's Not Me, It's You... I mean...

In dealing with people, we usually want one of two things: one, for them to immediately agree with us, or two, for them to let us be their puppet master so that when they don't agree with us, we can immediately make them agree with us.

Am I alone in that? Anyone else?

I'm pretty used to people not listening. I have a toddler, and for someone who doesn't like to repeat myself, I find myself doing so quite often. But, so it goes, she is learning.

You know who shouldn't have to learn how to listen? Grown-ups. We should be in control of ourselves enough to listen, respect, and engage with one another in an appropriate manner. But since we're not a perfect people, that is not always the case. Whether it's with a grown child, a spouse, a friend, a family member, or a co-worker, we come across these interactions that throw us into a tizzy because the other person is not listening, is being incredibly rude or competitive, or whatever else.

Disclaimer: I'm not perfect at the little tip I'm about to throw out there, but I try.

Years ago, in a therapy session, my counselor explained it like this: most of the time, in an interaction with an individual that turns hostile or completely unproductive because of the other person's bad attitude, you've often transitioned from person-to-person interaction, to person-to-issue interaction. It's as though you are actors on a stage, and when a trigger comes into the conversation, you fade into the background and the other person is now interacting with their issue, not necessarily with you. These disrespectful, competitive conversations / interactions aren't necessarily personal; it's just that you currently represent that person's thing that gets their goat.

Normally I end a message like this with an encouragement to give the other person grace. While I do believe that, I also completely believe in standing up for yourself and expressing truth with grace. So here I will say, remember that people are usually dealing with enough of their own garbage that their blatant disrespect is not necessarily meant for you. For me, when I remember that it's not personal and the issue is with them, my day goes a whole lot smoother. I remember to be grateful for who I am (and who I'm not).

And when I don't remember this little tip, I go for really good, hard and fast runs, then stress-bake my third batch of cookies in as many days. And then my daughter calls me the Cookie Monster, a title I proudly own--and live up to.

Be well. <3