A Thought Experiment – Changing How You Interact with Others

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I invite you to join me on a little thought experiment.

What if everyone in your life was exactly as they were supposed to be? I’m not saying that they suddenly changed in every way you wished they would. No. I’m proposing that instead of feeling they need to be “fixed,” you accept them as they are. Your previous feelings that this person is too judgmental, that one too unappreciative, this one too self-centered, or that one too unmotivated, are gone.

It may sound silly, but just play along with me. Imagine that every time someone did or said something that bugged you, instead of getting frustrated, you reminded yourself that they are supposed to be that way; that this interaction is a gift for you to learn about yourself, to get curious about your own reactions. It’s a chance to reflect on your own values, beliefs, preferences, and the kind of person you want to be. Maybe it’s an opportunity to practice patience and listening.

If you could truly accept the way this other person was being, imagine how it would change your response. Imagine how you could stay in your Sage, calm, curious, and maybe even compassionate. Even if you didn’t agree with their words or behavior, you might acknowledge that they’re doing the best they can as an imperfect human who struggles with stresses, wounds, and baggage; that we are all biased based on our experiences and what we know.

Now imagine that you choose a response from this place of calm. You can still set boundaries, You can still respectfully disagree. You can still share how it makes you feel. But instead of your Saboteurs being in charge, instead of feeling upset, hurt, or irritated, your Sage is in control of your emotions, words, and actions.

How might this interaction turn out differently?

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