Well, the first part of this post is easy. Responsibility begins with you. You’re responsible for yourself, your health, your thoughts, emotions, actions and reactions.
Some of those items are easy to control, some get easier with daily mindful awareness and meditation, and some are real toughies to get a handle on. None of those items is impossible however to address.
We may not be able to control them perfectly all the time, but it is up to us and us alone to make the attempt.
This means (horrors) that we’re responsible for our anxiety and our stress, worry and fear. Yes, I said it. We have little control for a rude, obnoxious boss.
We have little to no control over the actions of others, or their feelings, or their opinions of us. We’re not gods, to set universal rules that suit us. So what can we do? We can take responsibility for ourselves. Worry, stress and anxiety are our own reactions to external situations.
Sure, a situation may be stress provoking. I’m not gainsaying that, and I’m absolutely not playing Pollyanna by saying “oh, it’s probably not as bad as it seems”.
Many times the things that do ambush us in our lives are indeed awful. Horrible. Stress provoking out of the window. It may be “highly” stressful.
However, when life hands you a big steaming pile of anguish and stress, you’re entirely allowed to say, “no, I’m not carrying that around,” especially when it’s not yours to begin with!
That may sound a bit cruel. It is not, however, written as law, that you have to be stressed over an intense situation.
Examine the circumstances with the healthy detachment we’ve discussed. Is the situation manageable? If not, can it be made manageable?
For example, if ordered to do a task you don’t understand, can you ask for clarification? Even if the boss is going to scream and shout, if you do get clarification, it’ll be worth it.
The point I’m making here is that emotionalism on the part of others, their lack of control, does not need to translate into our own gut-wrenching stress and the infinite replays we do so like to torture ourselves with, during the deep hours of the night.
It’s peculiar but true—we tend to internalize the bad behavior of others and subject ourselves to distorted thinking, taking on responsibility when not one whit of the matter was ours to start.
If given a task, you need to be able to ask questions about it. If the boss loses her mind about your asking, that speaks to a deficiency on her part, not yours. Ah, but there’s the worry: “If I keep making her mad, she’ll fire me.
Jobs are hard to find. I can’t make her angry, and I don’t know how to do this task”—and thus starts the crippling worry cycle.
In cases like this, it’s easy to displace our frustration at the boss onto others. We try to hand off the responsibility for our feelings (that got stressed due to someone else’s bad behavior) to a partner, friend, loved one, or even the stranger we snap at in the grocery.
What’s the right solution for dealing with people who can fire you? I can’t say for sure. But I do know that worrying an ulcer in your belly won’t help. If you end up fired, you’ll be unemployed with an ulcer.
If on the other hand, you allow the boss (or whomever) to have their rant, and you get the info you need, you’ll produce a great project, and most of the time, that’s all people want—good work done on time.
I know there are people who are impossible to please, and I feel compassion for them. They may be hard drivers at the top of their profession, but they won’t know a moment’s peace.
I promise you, a serene and stress free mind is worth far far more than its weight in gold, and the responsibility for that peace lies with us, 100%