I love the work of Byron Katie, it is so simple and so, so powerful.
She talks about the importance of knowing the difference between:
- My business
- Your business and
- God’s business.
I am excellent at pointing out to P when I think he is dabbling in my business. When he argues about the merits of brown v white bread I tell him it is none of his business what I eat, he can eat white bread it he likes, it is none of my business, but neither is it any of his if I eat brown.
I’m also very smug about when he comments on what other people think about the world. ‘What they think, is none of your business’ I say.
The only reason ‘my business’ might be worthy of argument or action is when it impacts on ‘his business’. So if I were to declare white bread unacceptable in our house, then I am stepping into his business. If I demanded that he join in any of my rituals (like making the end of year photobook) he might be able to justify comment as my business would be getting in the way of his. However, to declare rituals ‘stupid’, I think, is none of his business if it doesn’t impact on him, which they don’t.
- How do you and the people in your life get into each other’s business?
- Do you need to?
- Is it helpful to?
It drives me mad when he comments on my business, especially when it is business I feel strongly about (like rituals, brown bread and the right for people to believe what they like as long as it does no harm to themselves, others or the world). How dare he? Who does he think he is to pass judgement? It is just NONE OF HIS BUSINESS.
And then, today, after one such exchange, the penny dropped….
…that what he thinks about my business, is none of my business.
If he wants to think white bread is as good as brown – that’s his business.
If he thinks rituals are silly- that’s his business.
If he vehemently disagrees with what some people believe – that’s his business…
…as long as he does no harm to anyone or anything else…which he doesn’t.
What he thinks about what I think is none of my business…he’s entitled to his opinion…my business it to focus on what I think about my opinion.
If I keep my nose out of his business (his liking of white bread, his disliking of ritual and his intolerance of some beliefs) then I will be happier as I can’t change him anyway so why waste the energy making it my business/
Instead I can use that energy to focus on what is my business which includes what I eat (brown bread), what I do (create rituals sometimes) and what I believe so that I can live I life which feels right to me, rather than one which is reacting to what he, or anyone else may think about it.
My business is my business (as long as I don’t harm myself, him, anyone else or the world) .
His business is his business(as long as he doesn’t harm me, anyone else or the world) .
It is none of his business what I think or do or believe (as long as I don’t harm him, anyone else or the world)
It is none of my business, what he thinks of my business (as long as he doesn’t harm me, anyone else or the world).
That’s clear then.
- List all the things that are your business and nobody else’s
- List all the things that are his/hers/their business and not yours
- List all the things that he/she/they think is their business – how can you gently tell them to butt out?
- List all the things that you think are your business but which really are none of your business. How can you mind your own business?
Good luck and have a good weekend.