Misery loves company.
I think there’s truth to that. It makes sense to some degree that miserable people want to share their misery or see other people be miserable in an effort to feel less alone. After all, when someone’s happy, they often want to share that too.
The other day, I was chatting with a friend and she was going on for a while about all that was wrong with her life. Some of the issues she was dealing with had to do with other people’s choices and actions having an effect on her. After listening for a while, I shared something with her that I apply when other people try to make me part of something I don’t want to be a part of.
I take myself out of the equation.
It really is that simple.
This doesn’t mean one shouldn’t help others; it simply means that it’s YOUR choice to help or not.
Years ago, I worked as an assistant editor and a boss of mine come up with the idea of having me check on my co-workers assignments at the end of the night to make sure they were done right. I would be receiving no additional pay but could perhaps have a better title. I thought he was joking. He wasn’t. Basically, he wanted to hold me responsible for all the assistant editor work. My work was fine; others weren’t.
So I took myself out of that equation.
The fact he had people who weren’t doing their job well had nothing to do with me nor did I want it to. I explained that I was hired as an assistant editor and would do my job to the best of my ability. Perhaps if I wanted to grow with this company, I would have made a different choice but I didn’t. The point is though – it was my choice to make.
Others may try to put you in their equations but remember, as long as no one forces you (because that becomes a whole other situation,) only you can decide to be a part of something or not.
Misery may love company but that doesn’t mean you have to be it.
(For purposes of this blog, I use the word “equation” mostly figuratively though in the sense of this definition, taken from the Collins English Dictionary, “a situation, esp one regarded as having a number of conflicting elements.“)