Other people’s behavior is not your problem. Let that sink in.
You are responsible for your words, actions, reactions, attitude, and behavioral patterns you apply when interacting with other people. However, you are NOT responsible for others’ behavior, as you have no control over it. Therefore, it is not your problem, which is a truth you should live by in order to find inner peace.
Moreover, as you are not to blame for the demeanor of those around you, you should not be using it as an excuse for your actions. Statements like “If you weren’t like that, I wouldn’t respond this way,” implying why you are not the one in the wrong, should be nowhere near your vocabulary. As Beverly D. Flaxington of Psychology Today writes, “the list of excuses… is endless.” But it doesn’t change the fact that the way you respond is not something you should hold others accountable for.
Interestingly, most people are still deeply convinced that if they could fix the other person in order to behave the way they want them to, life would be much more effortless. It’s always someone else that needs to change. It’s never us.
Why you need to stop blaming others for your reactions and realize their behavior is not yours to fix.
Flaxington, who is also the author of the award-winning book Understanding Other People: The Five Secrets to Human Behavior, claims, “the most important lesson you can learn in life is that you can’t fix others.” Dictating others’ behavior and trying to alter it to suit your own needs is not the way to make things right. It is more of a “my way or the highway” mentality, which damages your relationship with the people in your life.
But if you are willing to work on yourself and be the change you want to see in others, follow these four steps, as suggested by the expert:
1. See your triggers in action.
What triggers you? What quality others possess drives you crazy? Everyone has things that grind their gears. Answering those questions will help you recognize your personal triggers and understand why certain things others do or say annoy the hell out of you.
2. Consider the “why?”
Once that you have determined what triggers you, ask yourself why do these things affect you in such a negative way. Why do you get so irritated when someone doesn’t share your views? Why do you get the urge to convince them you are right instead of accepting the fact that they simply have a different perspective? Considering the “why” will give you clarity about the way you see the world and will help you understand your own mind.
3. Focus on what YOU want.
Is the person whose behavior triggers you someone you care for? And if they are, what are you trying to achieve? Is your goal to make them feel bad about themselves or to help them and the relationship you two have grow? What you need to do here is define your personal aspirations. Instead of fixating on always being right, focus on the things you wish to gain from this connection and how you want it to evolve.
4. Consider when you have been the wrong-doer.
Maybe you are used to being right, but as a human being, you make mistakes just like everyone else. Acknowledging when you mess up and apologizing for the pain you’ve caused is vital for sustaining a healthy relationship. It sheds a light on the simple comprehension that you and the other person are actually quite similar, as they can be in the very same position. You are both humans, and you both know what it’s like to be hurt by someone you deeply appreciate. So, striving to always say the last word and present things as if you are never wrong will not help you make things better. Instead, it will worsen them.
To avoid that, all you need to take into consideration is that most people suffer through life. We all have our struggles to cope with, demons to fight, and issues to solve. Therefore, believing you are the only person who has problems is incredibly selfish.
Just as others’ behavior is not your problem, your demeanor is not theirs.