I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure–which is: Try to please everybody. ~Herbert Bayard Swope
There are essential insanities and inessential insanities. Essential insanities get us in trouble with others. Inessential insanities get us in trouble with ourselves. It is always preferable to be in trouble with others, in fact it may be essential. ~ Tom Robbins
I believe that my life became incredibly happy once I said to hell with what the dysfunctional people in my life wanted from me. I realized, at some point, that I wouldn’t please them in a million years and I was sick of the fact that I had turned myself inside out by trying to do just that. I was tired and frustrated. I was incredibly depressed and sad about my inability to get credit for anything I did.
I’ve posted on this blog that when I was married I would clean the house on Saturday and my husband would berate me for not taking the kids to the park. If I took the kids to the park he would berate me for not cleaning the house. If I did both he would find something wrong in the house and tell me that I purposelly screwed it up so he wouldn’t ask me to do it again.
I spent YEARS in defense of myself and years in defense of things he said I was thinking that I was not. And the next week I tried harder only to fail again.
My life was not about what I wanted or what would be good for me but what I could do to stay out of trouble. The problem was, I was always in trouble.
When I started to get better, I had to stop inviting the opinion of others. Especially others who would never have a good opinion. I had to learn to say things like, “ What you think of me is none of my business.” and “ If you have a problem with the way I’ve done it, do it yourself.”
I got out from under the thumb of critical and controlling people by letting them know I didn’t really care what they thought anymore. I was no longer the puppet they could make dance by pulling on the strings. I cut the strings.
When my ex husband would criticize the house and say “You like to live like a slob.” I knew it wasn’t true and I knew that a few things out of place here and there (esp with 3 kids in residence!) was not “ living like a slob” but I was done with those arguments. He would never hear them because that was not the point. The point was to berate and criticize me. So after a time I simply said, “Yes I do like living like a slob…so sue me.” I started to find immeasurable pleasure in his inability to come back at me.
I’ve said over and over again, the only way to win is not to play the game. THIS is not playing the game. THIS is stepping out of the dance. When you step out of the dance, they don’t know what to do. They start tripping over their feet…and it’s fun to watch.
Sometimes being in trouble with others is ESSENTIAL to not being in trouble with yourself.
Unhook the claws of critical and controlling people.
Do things the way you want to do them.
Get in touch with what that is and you will get in touch with who you are.