Are You Trying To Control How Others Think About You?
Mindbody Wellness Clarity Tips
Dear Awesome Woman,
Are you trying to control how others think about you? In other words, whose business are you in? I’m not referring to your career, I’m actually referring to where your mind is.
Byron Katie, the founder of a meditative process called The Work, coined this simple question of “whose business are you in?”
There are three possible answers to the question:
G-d’s business (substitute Universe, Higher Power if that is your belief)
Our mind is full of thoughts all day long. When we take a moment to tune into what those thoughts actually are, we may discover that we are in someone else’s business—meaning we are wondering what they are thinking. We are trying to control how others think about us.
Wondering if this person is mad at you. Wondering if this person likes you. Wondering if you say something this way or that way will someone dislike you. Wondering what others think of the way you dress, eat, act etc.
This is called “being in their business.”
And when you are in their business—when you are trying to control what another thinks of you, then who is in your business? Meaning, do you even know what you are thinking, feeling, valuing? What do you think of the way you are dressing? What do you think about what you just said or did?
Since it is impossible to be in two places at once, then when you are in someone else’s business by wondering what they’re thinking about you, then no one is “home” by you. You actually have no idea what you are thinking and feeling because you are too busy trying to control what is outside of you.
This can physically be felt in your body.
Let’s try it.
Take a moment to be more present in your body. Wiggle your toes and notice them wiggling. Notice your body in the chair, your feet on the floor. Take a deep belly breath in and exhale a long exhale out. Imagine wanting to send a text to Aunt Mathilda. Now imagine saying to yourself, “I want Aunt Mathilda to think that I am a nice person.” What happens in your body when you do this?
I know for me, if I try to imagine what someone will think of me, I leave my body energetically and fly through “mind space.” I’m trying to imagine what Aunt Mathilda or whoever else I want to think well of me will feel from my text. I’m trying to control another person’s thoughts.
Now, let’s try being at home in our bodies when we reach out to someone. Take a moment to wiggle your toes, noticing what that feels like in your body. Take a deep belly breath in and a long exhale out. Imagine sending a text to Aunt Mathilda, but this time you stay home in your mind and body. Notice the physical sensations that come up for you, notice your feelings. Is it warm heartedness and care for Aunt Mathilda? Maybe it’s a sense of fear or dread because Aunty can be quite critical at times. Emotions are present in your body as physical sensations and flow when you pay attention to them. Just notice what is happening in your body.
For me, I feel grounded when I stay “home” in my body and mind. I feel authentic. If I have care and warmth towards this person in my heart then my words flow with the integrity of that sensation. If I feel dread, then good to know! Good to know that I’ve been hurt by Aunty at times and I’ll choose how I can protect myself when I interact with her—even if it’s a text.
What Aunty or whomever else I am interacting with thinks about me, responds to me or decides to act towards me is their business and G-d’s business. I can’t control that. What I can control is staying in my mind and body with awareness of the intention of my text or interaction.
That’s me being in my business. I know what I value, I know what emotions I’m feeling and I know what I’m thinking when I stay home rather than flying all over the place into other people’s business.
The funny thing is that it is an illusion of control to think that we can know what someone is thinking about us. We can’t possibly know this because we are not them and we are not G-d.
By saying to ourselves, “I want so and so to think…… about me,” is just us trying to control the way someone thinks about us. And this is impossible.
So, I invite you to notice when you’re flying into someone else’s business by wondering what they are thinking of you. Besides the fact that you have no way of knowing the answer, flying around is exhausting and expensive. It costs you time and energy.
Instead, stay home in yourself and see how that feels.
You’ll have more energy and joy and your interactions with others will be more authentic.
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