When I was in my early twenties, I met a woman who was pretty much a whack job. We quickly became friends. She was very beautiful, obviously nuts, and ended our friendship when she accused me of wanting to sleep with her husband. Her basis? Someone spotted us cleaning stalls in the barn at the same time.
I’m telling you, nothing brings a man and a woman closer than the smell of manure.
But I digress.
She told me that her first marriage was a disaster. She’d gotten married at seventeen, and the guy basically neglected her, and she was miserable. Suicidal, miserable. She finally went to see a doctor, who suggested she go on Prozac. I vividly remember her telling me that when the doctor said that, she knew she had to get out of her marriage. That if she had to be medicated to stay with a man, something was wrong with her relationship. (Maybe she wasn’t completely nuts after all.)
When she told me this story, she finished it up by saying, “I had to change my life. Because you can’t change others, you can only change yourself.”
It immediately became one of my mantras, and it’s helped me through numerous personal conflicts. It’s so true — if someone is being a jerk, you can’t change that. You can only change how you react to it.
Michael just finished reading a book called QBQ, and he mentioned a passage in which they said, “You create your own stress.” That’s so true. Other people aren’t making us stressed out. It’s our reaction — nothing more. We have the power to release all that stress and anxiety by bringing it back to what we, personally, can focus on.
I don’t mean this post to sound like an ad for a motivational speaker. I have my miserable days just like everyone else. But when things suck, when people are coming at me from all sides, I have to remind myself that there’s only one thing I can change.