The title of a famous novel by Charles Dickens. Also
some very good food for thought.
As I stumble along through the years little light bulb
moments (also affectionately known as ah hah
moments) happen. With me they are not lightening
strikes but gradual gaining of awareness until I get it,
or at least think I do. One of these that seems to have
clicked into place is:
Expectations about others come from making up my
mind about how others should act and speak.
Accepting that each is unique, will act and speak as
they please and it’s not my job to correct them
increases the probability of friendship, relaxation
Throughout my life others have told me, in one way
or another, how I should act and speak if I want to get
along. Parents, teachers, neighbors, friends, bosses,
business associates and strangers have done it from
time to time.
All of them were either trying to help me, teach me or
warn me but even though their intentions were good
their message frequently turned me off. If I don’t ask
for your opinion on my habits your message can seem
to be “You are not acceptable as you are, you must
Once I grasped what was really happening I got at least
two benefits. First, I was relieved of the duty of
instructing everybody which is an unpopular
assignment. Now it only happens by mistake. Second,
I can stop reacting negatively when others feel the urge
to straighten me out. They are not attacking, just trying to
help. No defense needed.
I should only examine, instruct and try to change me.
That will give me enough to do.
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