“When you think that someone or something other than yourself needs to change, you’re mentally out of your business.” — Byron Katie
Something I remind myself often to do is to: stay on my own side of the fence. And what I mean by this is that all I can ever do to help affect positive change in the world is to do my own work and to do it to the best of my ability, for the benefit of all beings. The work needing to be done, is always my own work to do.
I draw deeply on my spiritual practice tradition and answer the question of How can I help change the world by diligently practicing to show up in the best ways I can in body, speech, and mind. There is no world change without continual and on-going self-change.
As soon as I get caught in thinking that someone else needs to change; someone else needs to listen to me (and not vice versa); someone else needs to do something differently; someone else needs to be some other way than they are, I’ve strayed from the path of connection and understanding. This isn’t to say I am not upset and bothered by certain people or that I don’t judge certain actions to be unjust and damaging, but there is a middle ground between apathy and rage, between indifference and incensed.
When I start getting carried away with thoughts about how I think the world should be or how other people should act, I know I’ve climbed the fence and am now wandering around in someone else’s field, where I have no control or sway.
Stay on your side of the fence, Nicole or Get back over there to your side of the fence, Nicole, I say to myself. It helps me to remind myself where my sphere of influence is – and it’s never out there, it’s always – every single time – an inside job, on my side of the fence.