I’m Diana Swillinger, and this is the Renew Your Mind podcast. Episode 49 People Are Human.
DIANA: Hey. Hello, everybody. I always ask how you’re doing, but I never get a reply. I hope you always do reply, and I hope you’re saying you are awesome. Because why not? Why not be awesome? You can be awesome whenever you want to. Just decide honestly, you can. And I am doing really great. My furnace is working. That is a good thing. I am thinking of all of you out there who are struggling with the weather and craziness of this winter and Coronavirus and everything. I know it hasn’t been easy, but you know what? We can be happy too. We can be happy even when things are difficult. Well, let’s get into the topic. All right, let’s do it. I like this topic a lot. It’s been very influential in changing how I think about people, and I hope it is for you as well. It’s humanizing. Did you ever notice that people are human? I don’t think we notice this all the time. I think we think we’re doing it. We assume we’re doing it. We see people around us and we realize they’re human, right? We know they’re people. We tell ourselves that they matter. We remind ourselves to be nice to them. We try to do things to care about them. We do a pretty good job. A lot of the time when we aren’t doing well, humanizing them is usually when we think things aren’t going the way that they should, like the way they’re not going the way we think they should. And it’s so easy.
Then this is when it becomes so easy to be frustrated with them, to be annoyed with them, irritated judgmental. And I don’t think we’re thinking of them as humans at this point. It’s like we get this tunnel vision of what should or should not be happening, and we try to fit all the people into our story. Kind of like a script. So you have this story, and there’s you in the story, right? And then there’s what, the husband, the son, the daughter, the friend, the boss, the neighbor. And we tend to look at each of these people as someone that has a role in our lives, a role in our story. We’re at the center of the story. We’re the director of the story. And unbeknownst to them and actually, often unbeknownst to ourselves, we have this script for them about how they’re supposed to act, get the story right. People even forget just the people close to us. So what about the clerk at the store? The person on the road driving in front of you, your child’s teacher, whoever? We put all these people into their roles in our story and we tend to be very self focused. This is just the way it is. We have our own brain. We don’t have other people’s brain. We have our own eyeballs. We don’t have their eyeballs. We have our own ears, our own experiences. We only have what we know. There is no way not to be self centered to this degree. So I know that’s normal.
But then the problem comes when we’re so focused on ourselves that we try to put everyone else into our script and then they don’t follow it and we’re annoyed, right? They should totally be doing it. The way I see it playing out in my brain. You know what? My husband snores. He gives me permission to share, y’all? So that’s what I’m deciding. I want to share with you today. He snores, I promise. I’m on topic. I’ll tell you more about his snoring first though. Sometimes it’s loud, sometimes it keeps me awake. Uh, sometimes I poke at him to change sleeping positions. And in my book, in my story, I wrote his part as not snoring. So when he’d snore, I’d get angry. When he’d snore, I’d get frustrated and nag him to take these snores. Let me say it again. Snore Ease. That’s the name of the supplement. Make him take that. Or tell him he’s got to lose a couple of pounds or put on a nose strip. I’m like, do something. You’ve got to stop snoring. You aren’t playing your role right.
The way husband’s role goes in my script is at night we get in bed, he says goodnight and he loves me. I say it back, we read for a little while, maybe chitchat, fall asleep around the same time and have a great night sleep with no snoring. He’s not following my script, y’all? Sometimes I gently shake his body to get him to stop when I was frustrated. Other times, not so gently. Oh my gosh. I think more than one time I made loud noises to try to pay him back. Like in the middle of the night, just making noises back at him. It sounds so immature. As I recall this, I would just be angry at him in the middle of the night because he wasn’t playing his role right. And then something changed. And it wasn’t that he stopped snoring. No, what happened was I started snoring. Yes. Sometimes I snore I didn’t used to. I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older or like things vocal cords or whatever is relaxing or if it’s issues with my jaw malalignment, I don’t know. But it’s happening. I snore.
Sometimes I was a little embarrassed to learn that I snored. And then I felt bad that I might wake my husband up sometimes, but I didn’t want to beat myself up for it because I didn’t have any control over it, right? I just got to a point where I accepted I’m a human being and I’m in a human body. Sometimes human bodies snore when they sleep. It’s actually a normal occurrence. And when I realized I snore because I’m a human and sometimes humans snore, then I realized that my husband snores because he’s a human and sometimes humans snore. And I haven’t been frustrated with his snoring or with him regarding his snoring since. No more anger or annoyance in the middle of the night. Well, mostly not ever. No more shaking him. No more saying snarky things about his snoring. In that instant that I decided he is a human, and sometimes humans snore, I suddenly and from then forward, have not been frustrated with him about it at all. I mean, I do like to sleep, so I still try to interrupt his snoring if it keeps me awake. But now it’s a gentle nudge with a gentle voice politely asking to change positions because I’m not mad. There’s no point in getting mad. He’s just a human being. He’s doing his best, trying to sleep, get some rest. He’s not trying to do anything to make my life miserable. He’s just a human. And what I learned from this is that this applies to everything. Everyone else in life, wherever you are, is just a human doing their best in any given situation. Maybe snoring seems okay to accept because it’s less in our control than some of the other things people do. But I’m telling you, you can still apply this to everything, and I recommend that you do. We spend so much time and energy deciding how people should fit into our script and trying to control them when they don’t. And then more energy being frustrated. It’s exhausting. And I’m telling you, you don’t need to do that.
You can stop assigning people roles in your script, and you can start seeing them as human beings in human bodies in a not so perfect world. You know what else I realized about my husband? Well, this was at a time when our marriage was struggling, and I thought I was doing things pretty well. I mean, I knew I made mistakes, but I was doing the important things right, or at least the best I could. And I was trying my best. And I wanted grace from my husband when I made a mistake because I was doing my best. I was only human. And being in a difficult marriage was hard. And I would think that about me. And for so long, I wasn’t thinking that he was doing his best. I just thought he could do better, as if I was the one who was in pain and he needed to get his act together and be a better person. Until I realized he was a human. He wasn’t just my husband in his role in my marriage. He was a human being. And he was in a difficult marriage too. I had pain in our marriage, yes, but also he had pain in our marriage. I wished things were better. But guess what? So did he.
He wished things were better. I made mistakes sometimes and sometimes unintentionally or even intentionally. I’d hurt him. And he made mistakes sometimes and sometimes unintentionally or even intentionally hurt me. Because he was a human just like me. He had pain from disconnection in our relationship. He was navigating the same marriage as me. He had to navigate a relationship with me, a person, a human who makes mistakes and doesn’t always get it right. He is a human being in a human body in a broken world, doing the best he can. And I started to see him as a human instead of a player in my script, in my story. And what was so cool in that is that I was able to start feeling compassion for him as a human. I made room for more love and it allowed me it gave me the knowledge I needed to be humble. I’m not better than him, but he’s not better than me. We’re just humans doing the best we can. So where else can we apply this? Probably everywhere, with everyone. My ex boss who loved me for years until she made me her enemy and pushed me out. She’s a human being in a human body in a broken world, doing the best she can. Her life isn’t easy. Sometimes she feels shame and fear. And sometimes she tries to control the situation or people so she can feel better. I get that. I’ve done that sometimes. And the resentment fades away because I see her as human. My son told me he hated me one day when he didn’t get to use the car because he was grounded. Well, guess what? He’s a human being in a human body in a broken world, doing the best he can. It’s not easy being a teenager today. Trying to fit in, feel important, or find your freedoms in life. Find your place in all the things that teens try to do to navigate life. And sometimes they tell their moms they hate them. It’s not easy. I didn’t need to make it all about me. I think he’s just at that time, he was just having a hard time in his human life. I can understand that. And I can have some compassion for him. The waitress who forgot to put my lunch order in so I had to wait longer for it to be made. It’s okay. Sometimes humans aren’t perfect at their jobs. Did you know that? I’ve heard of that happening. Right? Humans aren’t perfect. Look at her being human. And the people we don’t even meet in person, but they fill our TV screens or social media feeds. We’re all talking about them. The actors and the politicians and the business people and whoever. All of those people out there.
They’re not just players in your script of how the world should go in your brain. They’re humans. They’re human beings with a beating heart. They have their own hopes. They have their own fears and challenges. They have their own brain, their own stories and their own desire to get some relief in life and feel okay. They want to feel like they matter. They want to feel like they’re enough. All of them. Even the people you think have a totally together they all have these same needs. Just like you, right? Just like me. Even when you think that someone didn’t seem like they did their best, maybe they did. Like the person who uses drug or alcohol to cope. You might think that doesn’t seem like a human doing their best. But sure it is. Sure it is. It’s not easy being a person living with emotional pain. We all look for ways to try to relieve our pain. Maybe that’s not your way, but it’s the way they found they’re doing their best.
The person who steals things to get what they need they’re doing their best to meet their needs. They think it’s the best solution at the time when they do it. If they didn’t think it was the best option, they wouldn’t do it. Are they right? Maybe not. But they’re a human being doing their best. I’m not talking about condoning behavior, I’m talking about humanizing people. We’re all just doing our best. What about the person that calls you a name or isn’t nice? Is it possible they’re doing their best? Is it possible that they’re feeling some emotional pain or they’re feeling ashamed or something and their instinct is to relieve it by blaming you or turning the attention on you? I’ve done that. Have you? Humans do that sometimes. I guess. That person’s human just like I am. None of us get it right all the time. I don’t get it right all the time. I’m a human being in a human body in a broken world and I’m doing the best that I can. This world isn’t easy, but it might actually get a little easier or a little better if we would look at each other as human beings. Each of us having our own pain with our own brains, our own perspectives, our own shame, our own fear, our own hopes, our own dreams and knowing we’re not better than each other. I’m not better than you and I’m not worse than you. And you’re not more important than me. And I’m not more important than you. We’re all humans of worth and value trying to navigate this life. We’re humans. We’re not players in each other’s stories. When we humanize the other person, we get to have humility, we get to have compassion and we get to make room for understanding and love. I say let’s do more of that. Are you with me? Let’s do that. I think that would be awesome. All right, y’all, that is it for today, so I will catch you next week. Take care, you.
As an advanced certified life coach, I help Christian women trying to live their best lives, but they still feel unsatisfied and stuck. I teach thought management skills that work so you can enjoy life again and step into who God has created you to be. Don’t forget to head on over to Rympodcast.com to get my free resources or a free coaching call.