Monday, February 13, 2012

Action 019 - Stop Thinking For Other People.

This one's a bit complicated, but it's important. So here goes.

I spend way too much time thinking for other people.  For example, a few weeks ago, I was a guest in my friend's home in Carlsbad. I spent the night there so I could be close to the start line on race morning for the Carlsbad Half Marathon. I woke up at 5am and headed downstairs to grab a bite to eat before leaving for the event.

*BARK* *BARK* *BARK*

Yep, with a single twist of the doorknob on the guest room door, I had managed to wake up the family dog. And that dog has an unbelievably loud bark for being such a little thing. I moved quickly down the stairs, grabbed my breakfast, and left the house as fast as I could.

All the way to the event, I kept thinking about the dog barking. No, to tell the truth, I kept thinking about my friend, Kara. I was sure that she was back home thinking, "I can't believe he made so much noise," "That was so rude of him to wake up the dog so early," and "What kind of houseguest does something like that?!"

And then it hit me. I was being an idiot. I was thinking all of these crazy thoughts and acting as if my friend was the one saying them. The realist in me knows that (a) that little dog probably barks at everything, (b) Kara knows how her dog is,  (c) and she knows that I would make every effort to leave the house as quietly as I could. And in this case, I was foolish for creating trouble where there wasn't any. Later, when we spoke, Kara said, '"I'm so sorry, that dog barks if a leaf falls outside!"

Thinking for other people is a terrible habit to have. It creates problems between people where no problem exists.

  • "I know she hated the movie I chose."

  • "She won't want to go to that play."

  • "He's probably mad that my plans changed."

  • "They didn't like the restaurant."


Maybe there's truth in statements like those above, but the world isn't waiting on me to decide that. I have to trust my friends, to believe in them and in our friendship enough to know that they will tell me if they don't like something. They will talk to me if they feel I have wronged them. And they will be honest if something is bothering them.

I don't need to make trouble for myself where none exists. And I don't need to think for other people. They can do it just fine on their own.