I spent some time on the elliptical machine at the gym today. There was an older woman on the machine in front of me. She was probably in her 60s. Four machines to my right was a woman dressed in traditional garb of some kind – a long tunic-type garment and a headscarf.
The woman in the headscarf was talking on her phone as she worked out. (I had to admire her – if I was in a long skirt and a headscarf I would be sweating bullets.) Scarf lady wasn’t wasn’t disturbing anyone other than the woman in front of me, who kept looking over at her with disdain because she didn’t like the fact that scarf lady was talking on the phone.
Every time the older woman looked at her, I found myself thinking, “she’s really stuck in her thinking about scarf lady”. So I did the only thing I could, which was to snicker derisively at the older woman.
It didn’t occur to me until after I had snickered the few times that I was doing the same the thing – I was stuck in the feeling of my thinking, too.
I’ve been irritated by other people’s behavior bajillions of times. Where does the irritation come from? From thinking that what they’re doing (on the outside) controls how I feel (on the inside).
In truth, by changing my thinking and remembering that I create my life from the inside out, my level of empathy for the older woman increased and I stopped feeling critical.
To enjoy a higher quality of life, we don’t have to change anything or cop a positive attitude or recite affirmations: by remembering that life happens from the inside out, we come into alignment with reality and our problems simply fall away.