I don’t know about you, but I am constantly looking for more time in my life and ways to prevent energy drains. Not too long ago, I realized that I was using a lot of energy worrying about other people’s lives and taking on more mental responsibility than was really mine to take on. I am learning how to mind my own business and allowing other people to mind theirs. It means that I practice not judging and not projecting my thoughts, or expectations into someone else’s journey – uninvited. And even when invited, I am choosing to be mindful, about not violating what the Star Trek Federation called the prime directive or unnaturally altering their course of another society. I have to be careful about unnaturally altering another’s path through my thoughts and actions. This is tricky because I believe we’re here to help each other. So, how do I handle it?
Tip 1: Listen to the story – once.
This is polite if you have the time and inclination. And everyone needs to release. But, don’t get dragged into a saga over and over again. This is code for complaining and blaming – prime victim mindset. You don’t want to go to that party. Decline the invitation.
Tip 2: Ask the person,”What they would prefer to what they are currently experiencing?”
This, of course, is a redirection from what’s “wrong” to what would be “better.” It is immediately more empowering. It activates the pre-frontal cortex or higher functioning part of the brain as opposed to the lizard brain, which is all about survival. (My thanks to Seth Godin and his book Linchpin for the lizard brain reference.)
Tip 3: Ask the person, “How they believe you can help them ?”
This is the most important tip as it relates to personal responsibility because now the person is going to lay out specifically what they need – in their opinion, and you get to decide (fully empowered) “how” or, “if at all” you will participate in their request. No guessing, no projecting, just actionable decision-making and a little easier breathing.