To do list? Check.
Grocery list? Check.
Pro’s and Con’s list? Check.
In fact checked many times on many issues!
Goal list? Check.
We are a culture of list makers. AND check-er off-ers! In fact, sometimes, when making a list, I add things I’ve already done just so I can check them off and feel accomplished. Come on now…I know you do it too.
But when I met Uncle Phil at the Beverly Hills Hotel years ago, I learned about a new kind of list…The Crazy List.
Allow me to digress. I learned a few years back about a tricky little thing called boundaries. I think “issues” and “boundaries” are perhaps the buzz words of my generation. We all have “issues” and we’re a little confused about “boundaries”. My favorite therapist, Richard was key in me understanding this concept. (What? You don’t have a favorite? I have a few.)
Richard taught me that we all have an imaginary emotional acre around us and we surround ourselves with other’s imaginary emotional acres. We like the company! But we can’t really maintain other people’s acres like we can in real life. We try. We get angry. We get frustrated. Why don’t they rake their emotional leaves more often? Why aren’t they planting their own emotional corn yet? In our closest relationships, we tend to get confused about where our acre ends and our loved ones acres begin. That’s what fences are for. (aka BOUNDARIES) This is my space-that is yours. You can visit but you can’t stay. Got it?
So…Enter Uncle Phil.
Who’s not actually my uncle.
But is fabulous in every sense of the word.
Uncle Phil says we need to check our crazy list. When consumed with another person, their behavior, attitude, circumstance…we need to check-is that OUR crazy or THEIR crazy? Or in other words, is it our crazy acre or their crazy acre getting out of control? When it’s ours we need to address it, fix it and move on…but on the good chance it’s their crazy…check them off on the crazy list and let it be.
Makes sense. BUT…
But what happens when we love that crazy person or that crazy spills out and affects me? Happens all the time. We spill on them and they spill on us. The point of the crazy list is not to disregard anyone with a case of the crazies. What it means is that we don’t have to take responsibility for other peoples crazy or their maintenance on their acre. Nor do we have to participate. We do, however, need to tend to our own.
I have had my fair share of crazy on both sides of the list. I have had a messy acre and a relatively clean one and every shade in between. I’m sure I’ve been checked off of other people’s crazy list more than once!
What I have learned though, is that there is a freedom and empowerment that comes from letting go of other people’s crazy and simply tending to my own.
And in the process, somehow, there is also a greater ability to love and accept them.
After all…they’re just crazy!