I really need this reminder sometimes. Not because I want the world to cater to my whims but because I have a tendency to feel responsible for the negative feelings of everyone around me. I think it’s my fault they’re upset and/or my job to make them feel better.
Robbie had a bad day. The air conditioning quit in his truck and then our freezer started acting up. The A/C will be an easy fix, just a belt. We’re still crossing our fingers about the freezer. But that’s not the point. The point is that he’s crabby. With good reason. Reasons that have nothing to do with me. I know this isn’t about me. But I don’t feel it. And just to be clear, he’s done absolutely nothing to make me feel this way. He’s (understandably) upset about the situation but is in no way taking it out on anyone else. And yet I feel responsible.
It’s not just with him. If I choose the restaurant when going out with friends I feel responsible if everyone doesn’t like their meal. If I recommend a movie and you don’t enjoy, I’ll feel bad for “making” you watch something you didn’t like. And if you invest the time to read a book I suggested I am just swimming in guilt if you don’t happen to love it.
Seriously, isn’t that just a bit ARROGANT of me?
I’m trying to just be an observer of these thoughts. It doesn’t make them stop because I still feel anxious and jittery. But it does keep them from escalating. I didn’t pick a fight with Robbie tonight to “prove” that he was really mad at me or somehow blamed me for his bad day. That’s progress.