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The Quest to Figure Them Out

by Dr. Amy Johnson on March 9, 2011

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Why would she do that?” –Everyone on earth, at some point

What did he mean by that thing he said?” –Anyone with a pulse and heartbeat

We all try to interpret the words and actions of other people.

Partly because we’re curious, armchair psychologists. It’s interesting to ponder their inner workings.

But it’s not always just innocent curiosity. It’s not always agenda-free.

In fact, it’s usually very agenda-laden. It’s usually our way of trying to control things. If we can figure them out, we can change them.

Except that never works. Never.

Notice how much time you spend wondering why someone did or said what they did or said. How much time you spend in their business, playing detective, making assumptions, formulating theories.

And then notice how it feels when you try to figure them out. Does it feel good? Seriously—is it fun and interesting? Or is it frustrating and confusing, like an impossible puzzle?

You think it would feel good to know what they’re thinking and that’s what drives you to try to figure it out. But does the process of analyzing them actually feel good?

If you’re like most of us, it doesn’t feel good. And if that’s the case, might I suggest letting that go?

Let them be them and worry about your own motivations if you must worry about something. Instead of devoting your energy to solving the unsolvable or changing the unchangeable, marvel in the IS-ness of reality and operate from there.

Accept what they did or said at face value, and then move on. Channel your energy toward something you might benefit in understanding. Something you can perhaps change.

Something like You.

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Please Share!
Terry DeMeo March 10, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Nice post, Amy! I think you really nailed it with your observation that when we spend so muh tie analyzing what others are doing, “it’s usually our way of trying to control things.” And of course, we do it with exactly those situations we know are not going the way we’d like, if we were in control. Thanks for the reminder!

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