At first, “mind your own business” might sound harsh, but it is a gentle reminder to all of us to stay in our lane. ‘Minding your own business,’ at its heart, is focusing on what you can control & letting go of what you can’t. It is taking responsibility for your thoughts and actions and letting others take responsibility for theirs. Sometimes, We try to control other people, their lives, the world around us, and everything and everyone but ourselves.
The most basic way to start minding your own business is to remember that:
- Your thoughts and actions are your business
- Other people’s thoughts and actions are their business (NOT yours)
- External circumstances, i.e., weather, natural disasters, etc., are not your business)
Ironically, the only thing we CAN control is ourselves. And even then, it’s sometimes imperfect control.
KEY Examples of NOT Minding Your Business:
- Judging, blaming, and criticizing others for their actions and feelings
- Reacting to circumstances & others instead of being conscious
- Seeing others as separating us (separation vs oneness) is also a core tenet of mindful living.
- Attempting to “fix” others problems without being asked
- Refusing to accept others as they are
Now, we shall attempt to understand how to Mind our Business:
1. Assume Your responsibility-
First and foremost, taking responsibility for yourself means that nothing comes as a top priority as you. Fix yourself first and know no one makes you do or feel anything. It is not letting someone else have authority over you. You always have a choice. Minding your own business means choosing not to be the victim of the family or society around you and completely taking ownership of your decisions. You decide to do those things because you want the result.
While doing the above, you don’t have to act outside of your integrity, or you don’t have to treat other people poorly or be narcissistic. You’re just not free from the consequences of those decisions.
2. Accept People As Is-
This does not mean that you accept and enable other people’s destructive behavior without doing and saying anything. It doesn’t mean you neglect to set boundaries for yourself or stop advising your siblings or children. It does mean that you accept that people are not born identical and that they are different. They can’t be your own Xerox copy.
When we refuse to accept others and their identities as they are, we say, “I don’t want to know you. I want you to be who I want you to be.” We can accept that some people are high-strung, they talk loudly, are sometimes late, they like things we think are boring, believe in something we don’t believe in, or do things we disagree with. We can accept that as a reality and part of the diversity of this planet.
3. Stop Judging, Criticising & Fixing People-
When someone talks to you about a problem, remember there’s nothing to fix. No one is broken. Your role is to listen. I always ask my clients to learn to become patient listeners and develop and improve their listening skills, especially when someone speaks; instead of judging, think, “How can I learn from this?” How does this apply to me?
After all, human experience is universal. We’re all in this together, and judgment, criticism, and our internal urge to fix others only prevent us from connecting with others. When someone talks to you, listen & try to understand instead of assuming that: “This person is broken. Thus, they need help, and I can fix them.”
4. Install a Filter in your Head-
When we mind our own business, we save a lot of mental and physical energy for ourselves because we are focused on what we want instead of what we don’t want. Let’s use an example of email sorting. Think about how much energy it takes to go through pieces of junk mail, all the special offers, and sales flyers. It would take all day! Instead, most of us quickly glance at the mail daily to see what needs our attention, and we recycle and trash the rest.
Thoughts are like that. Thoughts can bounce around all day and won’t necessarily be helpful. Parts of minding our business is figuring out which reviews are just, helpful, and meaningful instead of being distracted by every thought going through our minds. This is also the case with feelings. Some feelings are fleeting and do not require attention, while others can be useful. Ask yourself whether your thoughts and feelings are valid, helpful, essential, or just noise. Sort them out precisely the way you deal with junk email.
5. Make Yourself Aware-
Self-awareness is the ability to tune in to your thoughts, feelings, & actions. Being self-aware also means being able to recognize how other people see you. Self-aware people identify their strengths and their challenges.
Minding your own business is also observing what’s happening inside you. It is being self-observant. It may be helpful to think of ourselves as 2 “selves”: the part of us that thinks & the part of us that can observe the part that thinks.
We can observe ourselves, our activity, & our state of mind. Minding your own business means being a self-observer. Observe and accept the fact that you are thinking those thoughts. Then you can move on.
Minding your own business is problematic because it keeps you away from cheesy gossip and getting involved in others’ businesses. Still, on the contrary, it involves excellent labor, confronting your mistakes and inner demons, working out relational conflicts, practicing self-discipline, and making sacrifices. It’s tempting to blame the world’s problems on other people and circumstances, but that mentality also inherently ascribes all power to fix things to outside forces.
For most of us, minding our own business takes time to come naturally. This is the practice, like everything else in conscious living. Practice observing yourself and noticing when you are not minding your business, and bring your attention back to your lane. As you do this more & more, you will find it easier & more automatic. As you do this more, you will take more ownership of your own life, decisions, and thoughts and grow in acceptance of the humanity in all of us.
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