Accepting Self, Others and Life: The Experiment I

The first day was challenging, yet eye opening.  Even waking up and doing only ten minutes of asana made me feel calm but excited and ready for the day.  I knew that I had a problem with my expectations for others, but as a high school teacher, I was not sure if these same judgments spilled over into my classroom with my students.  Amazingly, I realized that this is one group where I do not tend to overly criticize, become impatient, and have impossible expectations.  This is the one group that I am very patient with and tend not to criticize.  To be honest, I was not sure what to expect with how I judge my students and how I may be harming my relationships with them.  Even though I have expectations for my students, I do not expect them to be perfect and have all the answers, because I believe that it is my job to help them.  For me, this was quite the surprise and I even started to wonder if maybe I had made the wrong choice for my experiment.  Then I went to a staff meeting after school and realized I made exactly the right choice.

At the staff meeting I encountered someone who I have no choice but to work very closely with in our department and as coaches.  The last few weeks in particular had been especially difficult to work with him for various reasons.  I do not tend to be a very sensitive person in certain ways.  I am pretty thick skinned, love to joke around, can take a joke, and can also take constructive criticism fairly well.  I have realized that I surround myself with the same kinds of people as many of my co-workers, family members, and close friends are like this also.  However, this particular teacher is an extremely emotional, sensitive, passive aggressive young man.  At the meeting, he became incredibly upset and emotional about a comment that was made to him by our principal.  I became immediately annoyed, frustrated, and even angry at him for being so sensitive about a comment that I considered to be completely innocent.  As I was telling him not to take things so personally and intensely I realized I was causing himsa to our relationship and to myself.  I was upset because I did not think someone else should be upset.  It had nothing to do with what I thought; yet I was allowing this man’s reactions to affect me in a negative and completely unnecessary way.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much I allow him to affect me on a regular basis.  I needed to be less affected, more patient, and simply allow others to be who they are.  I was trying to make him more like me but that is not who he is, regardless of how I feel about his reactions.  I cannot control others and that is not my job.  What I can control is how I allow myself to react to others.

I began to notice how I view even my closest of friends.  I judge them for not having a job that makes them happier, not having better communication with their husbands, not setting higher goals for them to strive for.  It is exhausting how much I worry about others and how they are not doing the right things.  My worrying and judging them to my standards does not help them, does not help me, and certainly does not help our relationship.  I do not have all of the answers, or the perfect life, so why do I believe that others should live the way I do?  If I love my husband, family, and friends, why on earth would I want them to be more like me?  If I love them for who they are I needed to love them for all that they are.  This realization was like a weight being lifted off of my shoulders.  Loving those I already love, for who they are… genius!