Some years ago I found a type of padded message board with elastic crisscrosses for tucking in notes. In one of my pandemic cleaning sprees, last week I decided to tidy up this board and found a little brown card with a quote that began, “Life is simple, everything happens for you, not to you . . .” The author was listed as Byron Katie.
I googled her website and found a treasure trove. One of the items was a downloadable worksheet entitled “Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet.” At first the title sounded a little “off” as judging others isn’t usually considered an ideal way to approach relationship. This worksheet, however, is a most positive approach in providing six questions to help in the process of deconstructing a stressful situation with another person. The process is one of the tools that can help in the work of getting along with others, especially those we seem to clash with.
One of the more challenging aspects of the pandemic that is responsible for a lot of “clashes” is sharing space at work and at home and even in stores. Most of us live in a type of bubble that represents our boundaries. When others come into our space and there seems like no way to get away, we have to figure out how to co-exist in a smaller space than we would like. This is where the work comes in.
Clashes and arguments often break out as we try to stretch and protect our boundaries. Often it is not even personal between people, just a feeling of losing our freedom and control of our lives, and even if it is just counter space for working on a laptop or picking a TV channel. “Tools” for not reacting help us to understand what we don’t want, what we do want, and how to come up with solutions rather than retaliations. Writing out our feelings on a “worksheet” might be the perfect place to start and may help to keep our relationships from being casualties of a small virus.