It’s My Choice
People do what they CHOOSE to do. Nobody makes or forces them – they do it because they CHOOSE to do so. If someone stays with someone even though you don’t understand why, it is because they have chosen to do so. If someone does things you wouldn’t do, it’s because they CHOOSE to do those. This may seem a hard way to look at things in some circumstances or contexts. Peer pressure, societal pressure, “should do”, “ought to”, all play a part; nevertheless, each person chooses their own path and that is their right – to make their own choice and take the consequences, good, bad or otherwise.
I’ve got My Rights
I have the right to life, to freedom of association, to do as I choose, provided it’s not illegal. With all those rights come responsibilities and those also are mine. While I have rights, I do NOT have Entitlements. Just because I am alive, sick, healthy, white, black, brown, young, old, retired, working, male, female, single, married, straight, gay, a parent, etc, I am not ENTITLED to anything. Tiger Woods had to learn that one. If I have a powerful car and the legalities in place, I have the right to drive on the road, with all the attendant responsibilities: I am NOT entitled to speed.
It’s My Reason
What I DO is observable. My behaviour is anything I say and anything I do, including anything I DON’T do. Anyone can see what I do, or don’t do, or hear what I say. If I snap a pencil or don’t open the door when you ring the bell – that is behaviour. You can see that I did it and state that I snapped the pencil or did not open the door. You cannot say WHY I did it. It may have been an accident, or bad temper, a faultily constructed pencil, a broken doorbell, poor hearing, or something else. Very often, if we ascribe reasons to someone for doing, or not doing something, we are ascribing our OWN reasons, that is, why we would or would not have done that thing. That is not always correct for the other person. Behaviour is observable, motivation, attitude and reasons are not.
I am not the centre of the Universe
This was a hard one to learn. Someone says, “I was sick on Monday”. The listener says, “That’s nothing, you should have seen how sick I was on Tuesday”. The listener was not listening, they were using the other person’s opening to speak about themselves. People at parties are nearly all thinking about how they appear to others. If everyone is thinking that, then it doesn’t matter how you appear, they will only be worried about themselves. “What will other people say?” It doesn’t matter, because what they say will be driven by how they want to appear to others. They will want to appear important, to be “in the know”, to hold the moral high ground, to appear to be anything that they think raises them in the estimation of other people. It has been said that a bore talks about themselves, a gossip talks about others and a brilliant conversationalist speaks about you.
I don’t give advice
Nobody wants it, even if they ask for it. If they ask, it’s only to tell you why they can’t follow it. If they ask me for advice, I ask them what advice THEY would give someone in the same situation, because they are more likely to listen to themselves.