A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon the work of Byron Katie, a self proclaimed "lover of reality.” In her book, Loving What Is, Katie writes,
“I can find only three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours and God’s. (For me, the word God means ‘reality')........Much of our stress comes from mentally living out of our business. When I think, 'You need to get a job, I want you to be happy, you should be on time, you need to take better care of yourself,' I am in your business. When I'm worried about earthquakes, floods, or when I will die, I am in God's business."
I found these words to be powerful, because it seems that humanity (probably not you, but perhaps someone you know) has a slight issue with boundaries, which include taking ownership of one's own life and knowing when to butt out of someone else's. When we’re in other people’s business, it can be extremely stressful and aggravating.
Why is this true? Well, for starters, we have very little control over what other people do, think, feel, or say. Secondly, when we’re wrapped up in what other people should be doing (thinking, feeling, or saying) we’re busy running their live's instead of our own. Or, perhaps, we’re running multiple people’s lives, which is exhausting to us and undermining to them. (Running one’s own life is usually about all one person can handle).
Have you ever seen the TV show, It Could Happen ? It’s a grave, scientifically-based program about all the catastrophic things that could go wrong with the earth, and how, step by step, these atrocities might unfold. The super-credible scientists on the show are always in a high state of alarm, and seem to be convinced that they’re somehow responsible for outsmarting and preventing these “acts of God”. (On a similar note, several years ago one of my husband’s scientist colleagues felt so responsible for stopping global warming that he became a very depressed alcoholic).
You get my point, but does that mean we shouldn’t care about or get involved in matters that that aren’t all about us? Does it mean we shouldn’t try to help or guide other people (including our children), animals, society, or the planet? This is really the heart of the issue, isn’t it? Where do our boundaries begin, and where (ideally) do they end?
This is a big topic, both personally and globally, and next week I’d like to explore it with you further. For now, please consider one or two areas of your life where you might be overstepping your boundaries; maybe with regard to your children, spouse, or favorite cause. Just notice if there’s an area of your life where you feel overly emotional, drained, angry, or powerless.
Take care, and I’ll see you next week.