When Other People are Doing It WrongFeb 06, 2023
I’ve seen a common theme while coaching my clients lately. And it’s really about the question of what we do when the people we love are making choices that we don’t agree with. What do we do when we think other people are doing it “wrong”?
Often we watch other people make choices, their choices don’t line up with our idea of how things are supposed to go, and it feels terrible.
Our brains like to notice, worry about, and judge other people’s choices, but this puts all of our focus in a place where we have no control and causes us to focus on the wrong problem.
The real problem
We have no say or responsibility over other people’s choices.
This can feel especially difficult and complicated when it comes to your children or situations where you are in a leadership role.
There's a part of us that feels like somehow it is part of our job to make sure they do it right, or at the very least to make sure that they know when they're not doing it right.
We might mean well, but in most cases, it is getting in the way of us doing our real job, which is just to love them.
As I look back on times in my own life when I’ve struggled with the choices of others, I was coming from a loving place, but there was also a part of me that was rejecting who they were and what they were choosing and creating in their lives.
When we think they should be doing something differently, we are resisting who they truly are. We aren't loving or knowing them. We're rejecting the person that we know, and we're selectively choosing the parts we're going to love.
In today’s podcast episode, I am sharing four principles that will help you stop judging others, love them as they are even when you think they are doing it wrong, and put your attention on your own business of loving instead of on their business of choosing.
4 principles to help you judge less and love more
#1: We cannot possibly know what is better for someone else.
As humans, we have limited knowledge and understanding. When it comes to someone else’s life, it is their creation, their experience, their learning. Always their choice.
They are always doing it right according to their thoughts.
We cannot possibly know what someone else came to learn, what the right thing is for them to choose or how someone else is supposed to experience their life.
You’ve got to release the fear that they aren’t going to get what they came for, and know that when they use their agency, they will get everything and all the lessons they need.
#2: When we judge others, we are the ones that feel bad.
At first, when we judge someone, we may feel better for a moment. Get a little hit of superiority in our brain.
But in the end, judging other people does not feel good as an emotion, because judgment is always 360 degrees.
If we judge others, we are also more critical of ourselves. We then have to perform for ourselves and for others, so that we're not in danger of being judged.
When we see their mistakes, we inadvertently create an environment that is highly critical of our own mistakes.
#3: They came to practice.
They are not supposed to know what they're doing. They came to practice. They came to learn to choose and so did you.
Many times when we look at other people and we think they should be doing something differently, we truly believe that they shouldn't be making mistakes, and we shouldn't be making mistakes.
But nothing could be further from the truth.
It is fear talking. Mistakes are painful and they can cause suffering, both for the person making the choice and for those around them.
But I really want to offer you the idea that loving others means that I'm willing to let you choose and practice and suffer, and I will suffer along with you. Because I love you.
#4: Your only assignment here is to love.
Lucky for us, just as judgment is 360 degrees, so is grace.
My assignment is not judgment. Your choices are none of my business.
And that is one of the most peaceful, freeing thoughts that I can offer you.
Our goal is to know and fully love the people in our lives. We are all good, and we are all a mess and it is okay.
No matter what happens in other people's lives, we can continue to love them, suffer with them, mourn with them, and we have love to fortify us.
The goal of this life is not getting out of here with the least amount of pain. The goal isn't even to feel the most love. It's to choose the most love and to get better at making that choice.
So instead of needing people to be different and behave “correctly” for you to feel better and for you to be able to love them, you're going to do the work you came to do. To love like He did.
- Why we want to control other people’s choices
- Why it’s ok (and expected) that we all make mistakes
- The choices that are available to us when we disagree with what someone else is doing
Welcome to the 100% Awesome Podcast with April Price. You might not know it, but every result in your life is 100% because of the thought you think. And that, my friends, is 100% awesome.
Hello podcast universe! Welcome to episode 196 of the 100% Awesome Podcast. I'm April Price, and I'm so happy to be here with you. And I have a couple of things that I want to remind you about before we get started. First is we are getting very close to our 200th episode. And if you haven't heard, that 200th episode is going to be all about you, the listener. You are the one that gives this podcast meaning. You are the one that all of this is for. And I would love to hear from you and feature you on that 200th episode. I would love to know how the podcast has helped you and blessed your life. What are the thoughts or the things that you've learned here that have changed the way that you've seen yourself? Seen your life potential. The way you do things in your life. Whatever you want to share about the podcast and what it's meant to you. I would love to hear it and I would love to share it.
So, if you want to do that, there is a link in the show notes, you can just click the link that says "share your thoughts" about the podcast. There's a link down there, and if you click that, it will take you to a page where you can push, record and just record your thoughts. And so, if there is something that you have been wanting to say to me, to share with me, to share with other people about this podcast, about what it's meant for you, I would love to be able to hear that and also feature it on that upcoming podcast. So, if you have something to share, go to the show notes. Click the link that says "share your thoughts" and we'll feature you on that 200th episode, it's coming up soon.
Okay the next thing that I want to share is really kind of inspired by a quote I heard this week by Timothy Keller. And I'm actually going to be talking about this quote quite a bit throughout this whole episode. But I wanted to start with it here. He said to be loved but not known is comforting, but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense. It humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and it fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.
So, I know that's kind of long, but notice, like what he's pointing out there, that like a lot of us can be loved, but we're hiding parts of ourselves, right? And we're not fully known, and so it feels sort of superficial. And then sometimes we feel really known, but not loved forever who we truly are, right? And that's really scary and that's, you know, really vulnerable. But to be fully known and truly loved, like that's what we all want and that's what we all need. And I'm going to apply this in a different way throughout the podcast, but I want to offer it to you here at the beginning to just kind of think about it in your relationship with yourself, like, do you love yourself? But you're like hiding parts of yourself from you, or do you know yourself really well and like, hate all the parts of you? What I want to offer you is the way that we create the things that we want in our lives and the way that we develop an incredible relationship with ourselves is to know us, the true us all the parts of us, and to love us and to love all those parts of us.
And so, I just want to remind you that I have an inner critic workshop that I think can be useful to all of you who might be struggling to love yourself as you really are, to know yourself completely and to love yourself. Like what gets in the way of that is our brain is our inner critic. The part of us that has some thoughts about how we should be different, has some thoughts about parts of us that are unacceptable or unlovable. Like in so many ways, we do know ourselves, but we don't fully love ourselves, and what we all really need, what each of us needs, is less criticism, especially from ourselves, less criticism for who we are and more love for who we are as we are right now. So, I truly believe that everything you want to create in your life is easier when you love yourself, when you know yourself and love yourself. And so, if your inner critic has just been giving you a hard time, it's kind of like vicious and rabid and won't stop. This workshop will help you, it will help you know yourself and love yourself so that you can create the life you want.
So, I just wanted to offer that again to any of you that haven't taken advantage of it, you can go to my website Aprilpricecoaching.com. There's a banner right at the top where you can download that workshop and I really think it will be a blessing in your life. And you can also just text the word critic to 66866 and if you text critic to 66866, you'll be given a link where you can download and watch that workshop all about your inner critic and how to silence it and how to how to know yourself and love yourself at the same time. Okay, with that, let's get into this episode. It is going to be a good one.
So, last week I noticed over and over again in my coaching groups an issue that that was coming up for a lot of people. And that is really the question and the issue of like what do we do when the people that we love, you know, maybe it's our kids, maybe it's our adult children in particular, maybe it's our friends, maybe it's our neighbors, maybe it's our parents, maybe it's our spouse, right? What do we do when they are making choices that we don't agree with? And in a way, one way we can ask these questions is to say, well, what do we do when other people are using their agency wrong? Like, I was kind of chuckling to myself as I made that title, I kind of love it, right? Because it says it all, doesn't it? Like that is essentially what we are asking. We're watching other people make choices and like, we're just sure that those choices are not correct based on our own thoughts and our knowledge or our experience and our beliefs and our ways that we think it should be going.
We think that their choices are therefore wrong. And then we're like, okay, well, what do I do? Because this doesn't feel good their choices are not lining up with my thoughts. Their choices and decisions for their life are not matching up with the way that I think it's supposed to go. And this feels terrible, right? We feel terrible because their choices, the ones that they are totally entitled to make, are not lining up with our thoughts, which is a choice only we get to make. And hopefully, even as I ask that question out loud, you can see the problem. You can see. You can see the reason for your pain. You can see the reason that you feel terrible. We feel terrible when we are requiring other people's choices to line up with our idea of how things are supposed to go, right? There is something out there that we have zero control over their choices, and it's not lining up with something over which we have total control over our choices, our thoughts, our beliefs, all of that is 100% in our control.
And when we phrase the question like that and we ask the question like that, it shows us how we are focused on the wrong problem. We are focused and worrying about and fretting about and feeling terrible about things over which we have no jurisdiction, we have no power, we have no say. And oftentimes our solution as the friend or as the parent, as the neighbor, as the child, as the spouse of these other people is to not look at what we're controlling.
Like, who cares about that, right? Who cares about what's in my control? And our brain is over there trying to figure out how do I have more control over them? How do we make sure that they do it right? And I actually think this is not as ridiculous or malicious as it sounds. It's actually coming from a pretty well-meaning place, I think, for the most part. Like we are really hoping that the people we love have less pain, that they have an easier time.
And in a lot of times we're just trying to we have sort of a misplaced sense of responsibility for other people's choices, and we're trying to, like, alleviate our responsibility. And I think that responsibility that we feel is misplaced, right? We actually have no responsibility over other people's choices. And I know this feels complicated, right? Like, we're parents. So, we think like we have some sort of responsibility there, or we're friends or we're leaders or we're, you know, we feel like we do have some sort of responsibility and maybe we share a neighborhood or a congregation or a family. And there's a part of us that feels like somehow in here is part of my job to make sure they do it right, or at the very least, to make sure that they know when they're not doing it right. Like they that we've we've apprised them of the situation, right? And while that may come from a well-meaning place and really wanting to to be good people and to be good at our jobs, to be good parents or to be good neighbors or good friends, in most cases, it is getting in the way of us doing our real job, which is just to love them.
So, I want to share a pretty cringey story and that I'm a little bit embarrassed about. Well, a lot embarrassed about it, but I'm willing to share it. But a few years ago, I was in kind of a leadership position in my church, and there was somebody in my congregation that I felt like, you know, was not making the right choice, was like, you know, definitely not choosing like the the right way, the way that was like going to create the most happiness and the most peace and whatever. And I remember writing her a letter and really thinking like, Hey, I just want to let you know that you're doing it wrong. nd if you had asked me at that time, I would have told you that that letter was coming from love, that like I wanted what was best and that that was coming from love. But I want to point out that there was a big part of me that was not loving, especially her choice and was judgmental of the choice that she was making. It was coming from a place where I for sure thought that my thoughts were better, that my choices were better, that like it was at least a way to better happiness.
And as I look back on that now, as with like so many experiences of my life, like in my children's life and in, you know, my siblings lives and my friends lives, like when whenever I think that I know better, there's a part of me that is not loving them. There is a part of me that is rejecting who they are and what they're choosing and what they are creating in their life. And there is a part of me there that thinks they are using their agency wrong and they just can't. No person can ever use their agency wrong because they get to choose. So I'm going to talk about four principles today that can kind of give you some peace around other people's agency in the way they use it. And so this brings us this story sort of brings us here to the first principle, and that is that we, with our limited knowledge and understanding, cannot possibly know what is better for someone else.
It is their life, it is their creation, is their experience, it is their learning. It is always their choice. And I will even take it a step further and say that we can't possibly know if someone is doing it wrong, like they might be doing it wrong, according to our thoughts. But in fact they are always doing it right according to their thoughts, which are always theirs to choose. Like Byron, Katie says, If you thought what I thought, you would do what I do. And so even when other people we look at other people, we think for sure they're doing it wrong based on our set of thoughts or beliefs or even if they're doing it wrong compared to their own set of thoughts and beliefs. It is never wrong that they are doing it wrong. It's never wrong when we get it wrong, when we think that people should be making the same decisions as we do. That is wrong. That is creating pain for us when we think that people shouldn't be choosing what they are choosing. That that is it. That isn't true. They should always be choosing what they're choosing because they are. We are always wrong when we think they should be doing it differently, when we think they should have it together, when they think they should have learned this by now.
Like that they should be able to see what we see. Not only is that not true, it is also painful. Now, if you have young children who are living at home, of course it is always your responsibility to teach like that's part of your job, to teach what's important to you. But it is not your job to learn it, and it's not your job to determine the rate at which it should be learned. And for sure, if you have adult children, if you have adult friends, we just have no right to believe that they should make be making decisions different than the ones they are making.
So, this week I was talking to one of my clients who was worried about something that like a decision that her son was making. And I, I just asked her the question, like, what if you suddenly could make all of his choices? What if you had the power to choose everything for him, like suddenly, like his agency? Like you just got to make all the choices. Could you guarantee that you would know what he was supposed to do? Could you guarantee that you would know how it was supposed to go for him? Could you guarantee that his life was now going to end up perfect? Could you guarantee that everything he came to Earth to learn he was still going to get like, No, right. Like, that is a terrifying thought to think. Like, what if I could suddenly have their agency? Like, how could I possibly know the things that they're supposed to learn, the ways they're supposed to grow, the choices they're supposed to make, the way their life is supposed to go? We cannot possibly know what someone else came to learn. We can't possibly know what's the right thing for them to choose how someone else is supposed to experience their life. But like, honestly, we kind of think that sometimes, right? When you let other people choose for themselves, you get to know 100% that they are getting all the experiences they came to have.
They for sure are learning all the things that they came to learn. Like you just got to release yourself of the fear that they aren't going to get what they came for. For sure they are that. That is the beauty of them being in charge of their agency. They will get everything they need. They will either get the results they want or they will get the lessons they need. Okay. This brings us to the second principle, and that is that when we judge others, we are the ones that feel bad. Okay, so this is kind of tricky, right? Because our brain feels better for a moment. Our brain feels better momentarily, right? Like when we're judging someone because we get this little hit of superiority, our brain, which is always worried about whether we are good, whether we are okay, has this little hit of like, oh, they're doing it wrong. And it lets us feel just a moment of superiority. The kind of combats are like constant inferiority, right? That our brain is beating us. But in the end, as we continue to judge, right, we feel worse and worse.
It feels bad inside of us judging others. People does not feel good. As an emotion, and it creates so much more vulnerability psychologically for us. And this is because judgment is always 360 degrees. Like, if we judge others, we then are more critical of ourselves. We then have to perform for ourselves and for others so that we're not in danger of being judged. Like when we see their mistakes and we notice them, we inadvertently create an environment that is highly critical of our own mistakes. Like you cannot deny others the grace to learn and grow and choose without inadvertently denying yourself the same gift. Like the same criticism that we have for other people in the choices they're making. It just like, ends up back on us, right? The truth is, other people are a mess and they should be there figuring it out. They came to learn to choose. They don't know how, and neither do you. You are a mess and you should be. And we expect it to go perfectly.
We expect all of our choices to line up and all be correct. There is such a high standard of perfection that we run out of room to practice. Like we are all, every one of us, just humans practicing. We all have the right to choose and live our lives and learn the things that we need to learn from that practice. And yet sometimes those choices are going to create pain for us. And it is okay. And sometimes our choices are going to create pain for other people and that is okay. That is part of the deal. We all came here together. We're all given our agency. And yes, our choices are going to impact each other. It's so important. And we know that judgment is 360 degrees. Right. But so is grace. And when we give up the idea that any of us are supposed to be good at this, there is so much peace in all of our practicing and growing. And that brings us to principle number three. And that is that they came to practice. They are not supposed to know what they're doing. They came to practice. They came to learn to choose. And so did you. So many times when we look at other people and we think, okay, they're doing this thing, our thought about that is and they shouldn't be like, we truly believe that they shouldn't be making mistakes and we shouldn't be making mistakes.
Nothing could be further from the truth. And I really want you to think about this. Why don't we want them to make mistakes? Why don't we want them to? We're afraid it's going to be painful. We're worried that they're making their lives harder, that they're going to create pain for themselves or other people. It's the same for us, right? Why don't we want to make mistakes? Because it's painful. We're worried that like, we're not okay and then we're making our lives harder and that this isn't going to turn out all right, right. What we're trying to do when we're like, Oh, please, no mistakes and we're judging those mistakes.
What we're trying to do deep down is prevent suffering. But I really want to offer you the idea that love. Loving myself and loving others means that I am willing to suffer with you. I'm willing to suffer with you because I love you. I'm willing to let you choose and practice and suffer. And I will suffer along with you because I love you. Like, we're just like, No, let's not have any suffering, right? Make a different choice and let's not suffer. And that feels like love. But it isn't. It's coercion. I really want you to think about Jesus Christ, right? He had a willingness to suffer with us. He wasn't just like, Listen, get all your choices right, because I don't want to suffer with you. He was like, No, I'm willing to suffer. All because I love you right. The divine attribute that we are trying to develop here is long suffering, not compulsion, not coercion. Right. When we need people to behave and perform so that they aren't in pain and that we aren't in pain, that isn't love.
It's a subtle form of coercion and it feels so noble. It feels like, Oh, this will be so much better because then you won't be in pain. But Christ, who loved us best. He wasn't worried about our pain. He was just willing to suffer with us and for us. So what I really want to offer you is like when my brain thinks they shouldn't be doing it the way they are doing it. I want you to get curious about why. Why am I resisting their choice right now? Do I think my resistance will protect them? Am I worried about their suffering? Am I worried about my suffering? Am I worried about other people's suffering? Am I worried about what other people will think and how I will suffer when I when I let those judgments bother me? And instead, can I lean in and recognize that real love is about signing up to suffer with someone rather than preventing all their suffering? Like, if I truly love you, I'm just willing to mourn with you. Like God and his son. We're more interested in our learning than in preventing our suffering. Like, really? Think about that. We think that love would mean, like, clear clearing all the suffering away. Like making sure we don't suffer.
Like making sure there's ease and happiness and joy and peace and all the good stuff all the time. But those divine beings who love us best. They don't believe that. They are more interested in our learning and our growth and our expansion and are becoming. Then they are in our suffering. And that is the definition of true love. It is so easy to get caught up in other people's choices, but we have to bring it back to our own. What am I choosing? Is it really love to want something different than what they're choosing? And love is just always an option. It is always available to you. What am I choosing to feel towards them? And if it's not love, like even in an effort to protect them, I want to think about if that is the choice I want to make. Is there ever a time when choosing love isn't the right choice? Okay.
And that brings us to the fourth principle that I want to talk about today, and that is just to remind you that your only assignment here is to love. My assignment is not judgment. Like your choices are literally none of my business. All the other people in my life My children. My spouse. My neighbors, my friends. None of their choices are any of my business. And that is one of the most peaceful, freeing thoughts that I can offer you. It is not my business what other people choose to do with their agency. So, I want to go back to the quote that I shared at the beginning by Timothy Keller. To be loved but not known is comforting, but superficial. To be known, but not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty that life can throw at us.
This is our goal to know and fully love the people in our lives, right? That's what they need more than anything. And it's what we need. It will liberate us from our pretense, like our need to pretend and prove that we are good. It will humble us out of our self-righteousness, will stop needing to be superior and make other people inferior. Like we just get to know and love people as they are. We are all. We are all good and we are all a mess. And it is okay. And it fortifies us for any difficulty that life can throw at us.
That means that no matter what happens in our life, in other people's life, like we can continue to love them, we can suffer with them, we can mourn with them. But we have love to fortify us. Like when we think they should be doing differently than they are. We are resisting who they truly are. We aren't. We aren't loving or knowing them. We're rejecting the person that we know. And we're selectively like choosing the parts we're going to love. We're resisting their mess. We're resisting them as they truly are right now, thinking that like another version of version who makes a different choice and behaves the right way needs to show up. And that then I can love you. And in the meantime, we are missing the opportunities to just love them and to do the work in our own hearts of loving them. Like, essentially we're saying like, hey, I don't want to do the work of loving you, like knowing all of you and loving that I don't want to do that work. So, if you could do the work and change yourself, that would be easier for me to love.
We are essentially asking them to do our work. We're asking them to make different choices so that our choice to love is easier, not isn't. That is what makes God, right? He isn't able to love us because we're good at choosing. No, we're terrible at choosing. But he is able to love us because he is so good at choosing. He can choose love regardless of our choices, and that's what we are working on and practicing here. So instead of needing people to be different and behave correctly, for you to feel better and for you to be able to love them. Like if you're really going to do the work you came to do to love like he did. What you actually need is more, more people making choices that you think are difficult to love. Okay. Because you and me, we need the practice. The goal of this life is not getting out of here with the least amount of pain, right? Like, it's not even like the goal isn't even to, like, feel. The most love is to choose the most love to.
To get better at that choice. The goal of being here is to use our time to get the most development in the skill of choosing. Using our agency to choose love the way God does. And that is not easy. It is not supposed to be right. That's why it is the ideal. But other people are not supposed to be making that easier for you. That is not their job. That is your work. I wanted to speak to just one other thought that you've probably heard a lot, which is like love the sinner, hate the sin. Like, okay, love the person, but don't love their choice. A few months ago, I read a post by David Butler, and I want to read part of that and and kind of speak to this idea about, like loving the sinner and hating the sin. He said, Why do I need to hate someone else's sins? Why am I looking at the way they speak live? Think or act and then deciding I hate it. I don't think it's my job to hate other people's sins.
I feel fine to hate my own sin. Heaven knows I've got enough to fill my sin hating time. But is it my responsibility to hate someone else's? I don't think so. Plus, isn't it a little off to say to a person, Hey, I hate your choices, your words, your beliefs and your friends, but I love you. Not sure about you, but that doesn't sound like love to me. And I think that he is exactly right. Like, sometimes we are so worried about upholding the right that we leave the most right thing loving.
We leave the most important thing in order to, like, uphold all these other commandments and standards. And we do this same kind of conditional loving to ourselves. We're just like, Listen, okay, I'm trying to love you, but I hate everything you're choosing. I hate the way you're living your life. I hate this about you. I hate this about you. I hate this about you. Like, it just. It prevents true love. We're telling ourselves I can't love you until you're good. I can't love you until you're right. And you've probably noticed this in your own life.
That doesn't feel like love. It feels conditional. It feels like you're waiting to be a better person before you can love yourself, right? It goes back to that quote. You are known but not loved and that isn't love. So I really want to invite you to let God uphold his own laws. He got to leave his business to him. He can handle it and just do the thing that he asked you to do, which is to love him and to love others. There is a poem by Rumi that says, I hope beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing there is a field.
I'll meet you there. And I love this so much. Like we all just have thoughts about right doing and wrongdoing and we aren't meeting each other because of these thoughts that get in the way, right? And the poet is inviting us to go out to the place where the idea is of wrongdoing and right doing don't exist so that we can meet each other there. And I know for some of you that feels scary. We're like, But there is a right, there is a wrong. And yes, there is, but it's none of your business to uphold. Like your job is just to meet the person that that you love as they are where they are. This doesn't mean that we don't live with our morals and that we give up our ideas of wrongdoing a right doing, but it means that we give them up. In in relation to other people.
It's not that we're not living without morals or without ideals, but we're living without being the judge of it for others. Our job is love. That is where our responsibility begins and ends. To meet the people we love out there in the field, beyond the ideas we have about wrongdoing and right doing. And leave that up to God. A long time ago, I heard a talk that I have never forgotten. And the title of the talk was What if our only motive was Love? And that phrase echoes in my mind again and again as I interact with the people in my life.
What if my only motive here is love? And do you know what the greatest act of love is to allow other people to choose? To allow other people their right to choose without you needing to like change that for them or judge that for them. Agency is one of the greatest gifts that God has ever given you, And the greatest gifts that you can give the people in your life is to let them use it however they think is best. And that, my friends, is 100% awesome. I love you for listening and I'll see you next week.
Thanks so much for joining me on the podcast today. If you want to take the things I've talked about and apply them in your life so that you can love your Earth life experience. Sign up for a free coaching session at Aprilpricecoaching.com. This is where the real magic happens and your life starts to change forever. As your coach. I'll show you that believing your life is. 100% awesome is totally available to every one of us. The way things are is not the way things have to stay. And that, my friends 100% awesome!
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