Asking for flowers

Some green grass from early spring

The grass is always greener if you know where to look.

When I don’t like something I tend to avoid it. I tend to escape and withdraw and focus as though what is irritating does not exist. I think this is a fairly common response: few of us tackle something that conflicts with our zen head-on. Not unless it impedes our life’s traffic are we forced to take stock.

Irritants can vary on our emotional scale of tolerance. Sometimes I just don’t take out the compost because once it is dumped into the composter outside, you have to wash out the pail. It can be messy and smelly and you have to deal with soggy melon rinds or marinated onion peels. It’s okay, I’d just rather not. Other times, in personal relationships, I just don’t want to talk about how things annoy me. Not because I don’t want the other person to change, but because it means I also have to be willing to change. I don’t want to change, thanks, so I’ll just focus on an imaginary situation where a perfect person does not bug me, and I am perfect too. We all get along and there is soft lighting wherever we go.

By changing nothing, nothing changes. -Tony Robbins

It’s tricky when you focus too much on what you think a person should be, and less on yourself. Changing your opinion of an issue is the easiest way to change a situation. Nagging at someone in your life does not really make them change. They get irritated, you waste energy. If you really focus, that little thing about someone else can irritate you even when it is not happening.

There is the lead-by-example approach, but we often think we already all lead by example. We want everyone to be like us because we are just fine as we are. Ironically, the other person is also just fine as they are, we just haven’t realized that yet. When we take steps to create change it affects others. We unknowingly create a space that invites others around us to change, without expectation or pressure. We focus on what we’d like to see for ourselves and in this way shift our perspective. We allow others the chance for change if it’s appropriate for them.

We are not going to get along with everyone. I tell my kids to try to be nice to everyone in their classes at school, but that they don’t have to like everyone. I’m not suggesting they write off those kids they may not favor, but more that tolerance and acceptance of difference will go a long ways towards making their own lives simpler and easier. I think the kids who are popular are those that really just let it all be as it is, like “water off a duck’s back.” They can find the tolerable parts in each person and go with that. They wisely ignore the rest, or just let it be and not try to fix, change or modify that part of the other person.

It’s hard to get along with people. As much as you try to like them and accept them as individuals, it becomes difficult because they keep getting out of line and wasting your time -Henry Rollins

It’s not easy to get along with people. A nuclear family is hard enough, let alone your own friends (people you actually like!), spouses, partners, in-laws, neighbours, co-workers, commuters, etc. Sometimes, years after, I will remember a conversation I had with someone and finally think up the perfect come-back to a comment. I often want to find that person and call them up and tell them what I really think, now. It’s a bit ridiculous and righteous and the person probably wouldn’t even remember what I was talking about to begin with. I would spend more time explaining the context of the situation than achieve any kind of vindication, or validation.

We are only responsible for ourselves and our actions. All we can do is be who we are, as best we can. The more content we are internally, the less the exterior rubs at us. I don’t need that perfect person to get along with, one who agrees with everything I say (that would be irritating in its own way). If I dare to look internally I may find some green grass within me that is just as perfect as the next person’s.

*Do you have friends you don’t like? How green is the grass in your world?

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12 thoughts on “Asking for flowers

  1. I had to laugh when I read your comment about years later coming up with the perfect comeback to some nitwits comment. I find that difficult. Not the comeback, not the waking up at 4am thinking about it, but the letting go of what was bothering me. Its hard to let go of something when it hurts you or bothers you in some basic, intrinsic way. I find it difficult to get that person out of my head, its hard. I want to learn to do it better though, why let someone live rent free in your head years after they become irrelevant?

    • I find that often when i feel like this I just want to be right. I realize I need to get to a place of letting go on my own, regardless of what the other person did or said, or could say now.
      It’s our attachment to a situation or an outcome that prevents us from letting go and moving on. Once we identify what our need is, we can work on that ourselves. What the other person does is inconsequential.

  2. Sometimes, one friend in particular will really get on my nerves. However, the actual person changes. It may be one friend, or another, but there is usually “someone”. Luckily, it’s never my partner 🙂 I’ve been trying to sit with the feelings and see what they are trying to say- it’s like there is some kernel of true feeling, and yet it’s covered in this crazy wrapping paper that makes it look like something else. Like when someone gets you a pair of earrings but puts them in a giant blender box, making you think it’s one thing when it’s another- like that! I am trying to stop assuming its a blender and rip out all the little papers so that I can see what my psyche is trying to tell myself- cuz I know it is not the friends’ faults! 🙂

    • Emotions in a blender is a good way to look at it. I often think that if something bugs me so much, but then doesn’t bug someone else, then it’s certainly *my* issue.
      We can also try to be aware that people reflect back to us what we see in ourselves. If something is irritating us, perhaps we also have those same qualities that we’ve unknowingly masked. Allowing ourselves to be okay with being a certain way or being perfect or not being a certain way, frees up our irritation towards another person. Like you say, it’s not the friends’ faults!

  3. The things that irritate me the most about someone is usually the thing that bugs me the most about myself. I don’t always recognize it at first, or want to acknowledge it, but I can’t deny it. One of my best friends in the world can get on my last nerve, but then I realize we’re so much alike, and I do the same things he does that annoy me. Like Jennifer said, they’re excellent mirrors.

  4. How wise you are, Tania.
    In my world, grass is grass. It doesn’t have to be greener or better.
    It is as it is. Because, when I think about it, it is perfect just as it is.
    I am the one who judges it.
    So, the grass doesn’t have to change.
    On the other hand, I can change the way I think about it ..
    For better or for worse
    Hmm. Where have I heard that last phrase before….?

  5. Oh, Tania! How wise!

    As I think about this, it seems to me that the grass is perfect as it is – green or brown or yellow …
    It doesn’t have to change for me – even when I want it to.
    On the other hand, as you say, I can change the way I look at it.
    Which isn’t to say that I have to change
    I’m perfect too – despite what I sometimes think
    and what others may say!
    But I can change my point of view…

  6. Who is mowing my lawn? Is what I asked myself when I read: “I may find some green grass within me…”, which I found that phrase a great metaphor by-the-way, finding internal contentment is pretty much one of life’s hardest challenges, too much to complain about, less to enjoy, for lack or this and that, but I try my best to be grateful for what I have, and who I am with, I just have to smile more and roll around in the grass like a dog filled with glee…*giggles… which I saw at my local park the other day, awwww the life of a happy playful dog, we humans could learn so much from thee! *great post

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