Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Unsolved Problems

I puzzle a lot over why we human beings keep doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.  It's the definition of insanity and yet we don't seem to notice it - in ourselves or even in other people.  I also call it "victim thinking" because we see the source of our problems being other people and/or our situations.  Yesterday's reading in one of my meditation books addressed this and reminded me that learning a new perspective on myself and my life was so miraculous.  I think I'm still hard wired to see my problems as originating outside of me but because I still talk to people in recovery, read the literature and go to meetings, I have these constant reminders of a much more helpful way of dealing with life.

"Once is a fluke, twice is a coincidence, three times is a pattern."  The writer of the meditation page was referring to the behavior of other people.  He/she suggests that we ask ourselves when we are upset (one more time) with the behavior of someone else, how many times this has happened before.  If it's three or more, it's time to quit hoping it will change and change ourselves instead.  I used to think, "But it's him/her that's wrong; so he/she should change.  What can I possibly do to help myself if the other person keeps on doing things that upset me?" 

Well, there are a lot of pretty simple, but difficult answers:  Like changing my expectations and accepting that this person, for whatever reason, is probably going to keep doing what he/she is doing.  That alone can increase my peace of mind, because I won't be continually surprised that he/she hasn't seen the error of his/her ways and changed.  I may need to distance myself temporarily from that person, or stop talking about a particular subject.  A lot depends on what the actual behavior is, but I can always figure out what I need to change by talking to other people in recovery.  It is never necessary for me to suffer because of someone else's behavior!

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