What happens for you when someone you care about WILL NOT DO what YOU KNOW is BEST FOR THEM?
Hint: Remind yourself that yes, there is such a thing as CARING TOO MUCH! Otherwise known as, you’re being a superior asshole.
How do I know? I was recently the “victim” (in quotes cause I don’t really believe in victims) of one when I was doing my best to meet my state’s continuing ed requirements. Since most chiropractic seminars are offered on weekends, and since most of the seminars I offer are on weekends also, the biggest challenge is to fit the required hours into my calendar.
I thought I had a perfect solution when I found a 12 hour class on a Thursday when I could do it. The bad news was after only 5 hours, I was toast. I had a headache so severe I could hardly see. And I faced a 90 minute drive home!
I added a major inconvenience to my life by bailing out on the continuing because not only did I have to pay for additional hours, but I also had to find a place to fit it in my schedule.
After this experience, I was not in the best of moods as I woke up early to attend my second round of collecting those vital and irrelevant hours.
(I attend TONS of self-improvement classes which are very relevant to what I do. It just so happens that what the state chiropractic board requires with traditional chiropractic adjusting and xray is completely irrelevant to what I do. Since they are a government agency, the relevance or value of their regulations to me is of no relevance to them. The required continuing ed is of the “your seat is on the chair for the required number of hours” variety.)
One instructor asked us what we wanted to get from his seminar. “Continuing ed hours,” I said. He could not handle it! He was there imparting his valuable information, but that was not enough for him. HIs experience was not complete until I “got” the benefit he perceived in the information he was imparting to me. Buzz! Buzz! Superior asshole alert!
Why do I say this? Because he was making his judgment of how valuable and useful his information was to my life superior to my own knowing of what would work for me. In addition to being a superior asshole, this well-meaning doc was also quite unsophisticated in the self-improvement techniques he was imparting.
What he perceived as valuable, and what I perceived as valuable, after 30 years of severalself-improvement seminars a month, were miles apart. Hence the superior asshole! Who was he to know better than I what was useful to me? Yet he was insulted that I was not interested in what he thought I should receive.
Was I being rude? It did cross my mind. But the alternative to keeping myself sane for 12 hours of irrelevant boring continuing ed would have been to sit quietly as if I were raptly paying attention to what was occurring. Where was I in that equation? Nowhere! I would have been sacrificing myself to spare what I imagined were the instructors’ feelings.
Fortunately, today, the instructors were both veterans of decades of educating chiropractic students and doctors. They had nothing to prove and had the wisdom not to take my disinterest as a comment on their competence or value. (It wasn’t….it was just my point of view.)
That’s one of the 6 Dos to Create a Relationship That’s Easy and Fun, by the way! Consider everything your partner does has nothing to do with you. It also applies to continuing ed–my preference for getting my work done was no reflection on the competence of my instructors.
What does this have to do with relationships? Quite a lot! How often do you think you know better what your partner should do, and they won’t do it. Do you tell them? (Fool! You were just a superior asshole!)
When you presume to know better than anyone what they should do, you are judging andmaking yourself superior to them. You are making their making what you consider “the right choice” (as if there were such a thing) more important than their being empowered as the experts in their own lives and their own choices. Do you really think they will thank you for this? I assure you they will not!
The same applies to your children. As one participant in a class observed, “I used to thinkit was my job to make sure my children did not make mistakes. Now I know it’s just to be there.” How much easier her life will be if she can remember that!
What about you? Are you willing to allow those you love–to say nothing of those in your continuing education classes–to have the wisdom to make their own choices? I promise it will make your life easier.