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It's Beyond me

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

I've had this mantra in my head for a while now. When I look outside of myself, life is so much greater and lighter.

I recently took part in a marriage series, and we were discussing the beauty of letting go of our inner pride. The example I brought up was as follows:

It would not be completely uncommon for me to wonder where my husband is at 7:01 when he is supposed to be home at 7:00. As the anger builds up inside (and might possibly be taken out on innocent bystanders such as my kids), a thought crosses my mind: Maybe he's late because he's buying me a chocolate bar? Or a red rose?

Husband walks in at 7:05 due to some traffic, empty-handed. I am deflated, and possibly even let down.

I have just created a completely unreasonable expectation in my mind. By doing so I am holding onto "me". The whole story and frustration have been pulled down to what I wanted, what I think I deserve, and what "he did wrong to me".

A while back, our Rebbi, Rabbi Segal was describing to my husband how times have changed in his teaching career. It's not about his knowledge and what he wants to give over, rather what the students want to hear.

As a program organizer, this couldn't be more true. I have such amazing trips/classes/tours I want to give over. But who said that's what my participants are interested in?

If I step out of "me", I can now see them objectively and think about how I can deliver the experience they are looking for, not the experience I want to provide.

I think of this concept often when I'm out and about. I am sure people are judging me, while in essence (for better or worse!), they're really not.

Say I walk out with a run in my tights and here I am feeling all self-conscious. I am sure that my friend will see me and think that I'm so disorganized/ I didn't even look in the mirror this morning/ I didn't get around to laundry etc. I have news for you....

We are so stuck inside ourselves, or self-consciousness, our hard feelings on ourselves, that we are sure people perceive us the same way. Most people have too much going on to focus on that.

In fact, I have found, those who do notice, and do comment are actually those who care and are the furthest from judging.

It looks something like this:

me: dark circles under my eyes, looking worn out. Sure everyone thinks I don't have my life together.

friend: Hi Chassia, you look so tired. You must have had a long day!

Friend didn't judge. She saw and felt compassion.

This works the other way too. Sometimes someone will say something that seems mean, insensitive, unthoughtful and we get so hurt. I have found that the hurt is generally because of how it made me feel, and usually not because they intended it.

Random stranger: what cute children! How many do you have?

I have immediately been triggered, as I have lost a baby almost two years ago. This is such a hard question to answer. How many living kids do I have? And why is she even asking? Doesn't she know that's so insensitive?

The truth is, no. She doesn't know it's insensitive. It was a simple question, possibly even a way of creating small talk.

What we often label as "insensitive" or "mean", is because that's how it felt to us. Rarely is the person intending on that.

I have seen this in marriage all too often! Husband will come home (after a very very long day), sees the mess all about, and say:

"Hi! Why are there legos all over the floor?"

me: (Thinking:) Don't you see how much I've been doing today? I took care of them, fed them, played with them, handled tantrums, cleaned up after them all day, and even made super! How DARE you comment about the mess?

What I did here was stick "me" into the story. If he is asking about the mess, he must be judging me!

The truth is really far from that. After having a conversation (this actually happened), my husband explained that it was a very technical question.

The house is a mess. Explain what's going on so I understand where I am needed. Is the lego being played with? Was a kid asked to clean them up?

All too often we project comments as a direct assault when more often than not, they are not.

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