The other night I was doing that thing where you chop vegetables super forcefully while semi-scowling so that you can indicate your irritation about a situation without actually saying anything, thus enabling you to gloat internally about your admirable ability to suffer in silence while still notifying, and hopefully a little bit punishing, the perpetrator of your frustration.
The perpetrator of your frustration.
Because clearly frustration, annoyance, anger- these things are foisted upon me by others. If I had it my way, I'd be nothing but encouragement, delight, and peace! Naturally. So there I am, being all the Good Things, when someone has the audacity to waltz in with their imperfections and shortcomings and make me be the Bad Things.
Commence chopping obnoxiously. Or worse.
But as I crashed around the kitchen this time, waiting for my vindication to swoop in and wrap me in its clammy comfort, a tiny whisper of an inkling said to me "but what can YOU do?". That's when I realized that I had been thinking about, meditating on, all the things that the other ought to say and do and be. The things I wish so-and-so would just realize. The things they could do to make me behave better.
A feeling of interior peace is from God. Relying on the temperament and actions of others, temperaments and actions that I cannot ever have control over, to dictate my mood and behavior, leads to a perpetual state of immobility and interior conflict. That interior conflict... it is not from God.
Waiting for others to change so that I can finally be the kind of person I wish I were not only ensures my continued failure, it's also a bang-up recipe for some delicious Resentment Soup. Instead of joyfully progressing down my path, I'm busy wallowing in the absolute unfairness of being saddled, by association, with the awful qualities of others that people should totally not even be allowed to have. If only they would change! Then I could finally be happy!
You guys, that's a pretty craptastic way to go through life, don't you think? Because living that way will result in, wait for it, never being happy. Well played, Beelzebub. Well played.
Sometimes I'm right and the other person is wrong. Sometimes I'm not. Either way, the only behavior I ever have full control over, ever ever ever, is my own. Full stop.
I love being encouraging, delighted, and at peace. So I will be.