Confession time: I still have a lot of work to do.
It’s true I can look back on the person I was a decade ago and see that I’ve come a long way since then. I’m much happier these days. And I relate to people in a healthier way.
But in a lot of respects, I’m not where the person I was then would have wanted me to be by now.
Part of this of course stems from the fact that I have different goals than I did a decade ago. A lot of my old goals don’t exactly make sense anymore, as I’ve grown and changed. But that doesn’t account for every way I’ve fallen short.
In fact, there are things I have been working on for this entire decade — things I still want to be better at, that I’m not done with yet.
Now, I’ve made a lot of progress on even these. But am I where I want to be? No.
And the one that I’ve been brushing up against a lot lately is that I still take too much responsibility for other people’s feelings. This is particularly true when I’m close to someone. If someone I love is in a bad mood, I’m ill at ease. I tend to blame myself for it — yes, even if it has nothing to do with me, I still labor under the belief that if I were a better partner or a better person that I could somehow magically make it so people around me are in a good mood.
And it doesn’t work that way. Things happen that are outside of my control. And sometimes people need to feel bad in order to work through a tough situation (or be motivated to set things right).
I know this consciously. But part of me resists this. Yes, even now, after years of working on myself and trying to stop doing this.
For anyone who struggles with it, it is really hard to stop feeling responsible for other people’s bad moods.