Dave didn’t like my presentation. Come to think about it, I’m not so sure Dave liked me.
What did I say that set him so sideways? Was it my overall demeanor, or something specific that I uttered that had Dave not like me? I must have thought about this for days. In a weird way it almost consumed me by overtaking my inner thoughts. What was it? What did I do?
Then, almost seamlessly, that same inner voice that struggled to comprehend what I had done shifted to why Dave was the way he was. This was equally consuming of my mental energy, but at least I found a way to take the flame off of my own flesh. I thought it would make me feel better to just assume Dave was an idiot. And, initially, it did make me feel better. However, there was an even more insidious pitfall in my thinking.
As I talked through "my issue with Dave" with a friend and mentor of mine, he reminded me that I couldn’t control what Dave thought about me or my presentation. I quickly agreed but only later realized that I only agreed with that part of my brain that agrees with statements like that. That is, I think I only agreed with him superficially - only mentally and no deeper. There must be some other part of the brain that certainly does not agree with what my mentor said. Otherwise, my “agreement” would be followed with peace. And I had no peace (about Dave anyway).
So two things struck me about me that I now share with you:
- I thirst for peace and harmony in my life
- Trying to control things that I can’t robs me of both
The desire to control all aspects our surroundings and circumstances is fierce, and when we can’t, our own brain (the lizardy part) thrashes us about and causes us to think, say and do things we only later wish we wouldn’t.
My little story is beginning to have a better ending. I am finding more peace as I truly detach from the things I cannot control. I am learning that I have been trying to control for a very long time. Thus giving that up has been - let’s just say - “challenging.” The journey has been a good one.
No great wonder why Reinhold Niebuhr pleaded with the God of the universe to grant serenity around things he couldn’t change. What circumstances or people are you trying to change and control?
More peace anyone?