You can choose peace no matter how others are acting
When you have unhappy emotions, don't think another person caused them. If you are angry, stop blaming another person for making you angry. Instead, work directly with your feelings of anger. Learning about why you are feeling angry will do more to take you higher than trying to figure out how to get the other person to change.
Waiting for others to act in certain ways to be happy is making your happiness dependent upon something outside of yourself.[Underline added] It is turning your power over to other people and allowing them to determine how you feel. Calm emotions come from knowing that what you feel is your choice. You do not want your good feelings to depend upon another person or an outside situation. Put your energy and time into going higher and making your own life work.
-- Spiritual Growth by Sanaya Roman, pg 93
This book and her other book Personal Power Through Awareness are like my holy Bibles. This particular passage is one of the cruxes in my life, and something I work particularly hard on. It has become almost a reflex now for me to question why I feel certain emotions, and to find the root cause of them within myself.
For example, the other night I was telling my husband I wanted to do something special for him just because he's been doing so awesome at work and has just in general been really supportive of me and caring. But then he fired that back at me, saying I already do so much for him that make him feel special, and he would rather do something special for me. It boiled down to him not having any ideas at the moment on what to do for me, and he asked if there was anything I wanted or if I had any ideas. I didn't.
After some more pondering I suggested just buying me some bath supplies. He responded with "Uh huh."
That response actually made me really angry with him. I didn't say anything but I was fuming inside. It's unusual for me to get that angry over petty stuff like that so I started deconstructing why I was feeling this steaming anger over a two syllable comment.
I first determined that I was angry he did not seem excited over my suggestion, or that he even approved of it. I realized I wanted him to want to give me the gift. I didn't want him buying me anything out of some felt obligation. It further boiled to I want him to want to get me gifts. His "uh huh" comment made me feel that he did not want that at all. I haven't dug any further into why I want my husband to want to get me things. I'm guessing it has something to do with me equating it to him loving me or thinking I am worthy, and not letting my value as a soul stand on its own.
Second, his comment made me feel that my suggestion was stupid. Of course it wasn't a stupid suggestion, but I was placing my suggestion's value on whether my husband thought it was the peachiest suggestion on the block. I was not letting my idea be independent from others' opinions. I wanted approval for this small idea I had.
My husband has this uncanny ability of knowing when I am angry and when I am lying about my emotions. So when he asked if I was okay (code for "What's bothering you?") I just stated that I was feeling anger because of his response to my suggestion, but that I knew it wasn't his fault, and I was dealing with it. I used to hide these sort of emotions from him but over time learned it was better to just share them, even if I thought it might upset him.
He responded it wasn't that he thought my idea was stupid, but that he didn't think it was personal or big enough. He then had an idea at that moment and asked if I would like him to do his own surprise idea instead of the bath gifts. We hardly ever surprise each other, so I got excited over that and will be finding out this weekend what it is :)
Anywho, that's just a small example of how I have learned to examine my feelings instead of automatically blaming other people. Of course this is still challenging, especially when other people's actions cause me to think I am stupid. I am more prone to get angry at them and just wallow in my anger at them. I kid you not, I got angry at a lady handing out samples at Whole Foods... I was actually pretty pissed at her because I thought she thought she was better than me, and made me feel rather dumb. I wanted to be angry at her, to try to get a footing on my dignity and ego again. I never really looked deeper into why I got that angry. But I know it was all just Lea issues of feeling inferior and had nothing to do with the sample lady at Whole Foods.
Still, this quoted passage has been invaluable in improving my quality of life and my outlook on human dynamics.