I have a problem…..
And I do this almost every day.
It used to be just in private. At the end of the day, I would replay over-heard conversations in my head, adding my two-cents. This lead to me answering in my head during the conversation, fighting back the urge to just say out loud what I was thinking. Which, of course, then spiraled out of control to just injecting myself into the conversation. Sometimes, it’s so bad that I don’t even stop and wait for any response, I just keep on walking. Which may be better, because, really, what response should I expect? Mostly just silence or a look of disbelief.
No one person is more safe than another; friends, family, co-workers, strangers—I do not discriminate. I am even aware that it is happening, but I am powerless to close my mouth and just stay out of it. Somewhere along the way, I have become convinced that what I have to say is so very important and so very right… that I have been given the awesome task of providing clarity to the masses by clearing up confusion and making sense of the chaos. I was doing what any self-respecting, self-diagnosed “Type A” personality would do; I wasn’t being rude, or trying to undermine anyone, I was just being me… I am helping.
But how do I stop? How do I wait for my opinion or advice to be asked for? Short of duct-taping my mouth shut… I draw on another trait of “Type A” – I just stop. It’s only a mile, right?
“[Learning to live] … at peace with myself, I came to realize more vividly the meaning of the doctrine of acceptance. To refrain from giving advice, to refrain from meddling in the affairs of others, to refrain, even though the motives be the highest, from tampering with another’s way of life – so simple, yet so difficult for an active spirit. Hands off!”
Henry Miller, US Author (1891-1980)