Why "THEY" Is The Worst Four Letter Word
I hear the F-word everywhere I go, multiple times every day, but here's why the word THEY is more vile and dangerous than even the F-word.
Nothing Good Comes After THEY
Unless the THEY is Oprah and her producers giving you a new car, nothing good comes after a sentence that starts with THEY. And even then, if THEY (Oprah and Gail) are giving you a gift, it comes with strings attached.
Think about how we speak and think. Look back over your week so far and complete this sentence:
Mine would go something like this:
They got my order wrong at Starbucks or
They forgot to give me my cash back or
They overcharged me for my doctor's visit or
They don't care about me or
They have NO idea what they're doing.
Sentences that start with THEY steal my serenity because they tell my story as a victim. In these sentences, I am not the subject. I am at the mercy of whoever THEY are. When I look at my life through the "THEY's" I have almost no choices. I am living in the problem instead of the solution.
THEY Means I've Lost MY Focus
Yesterday, as I was getting ready for a meeting, my mind was racing. "Why are THEY doing that? Don't THEY know that won't work. THEY should be doing this instead." These thoughts were a complete waste of my time and energy because I can only change me. I can't change THEY. I can't get THEY, HE or SHE to do anything. THEY all get to chose their own plans.
I can, however, change ME. I have choices. If I look at the examples above, I can reframe each sentence like this:
I asked them to remake my coffee.
I let them know about the error.
I asked them to explain my bill.
I took some time to think about what I really needed. Then, I told them what I needed. Or, I took some time to take care of myself.
I had to look away because THEY were totally doing it wrong. (LOL)
I Want To Control What THEY Are Doing
Let's be honest, the real issue is wanting to be in control of everything, and controlling is almost always driven by fear. Al-Anon's Paths to Recovery explains,
By letting go of the illusion of control over other people, we find an enormous burden is lifted and we begin to discover the freedom and power we do possess - the power to define and live our own lives. Unmanageability lessens.
Tradition 10 Teaches How To Handle the THEY's
AA's Tradition 10 says,
Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues, hence the AA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
This tradition, when applied on the group level, keeps our groups safe from divisive topics like politics and religion. On a personal level, I can apply this tradition in all of my affairs. To keep my peace and serenity, I can decide which issues are outside issues.
Other people's opinions, especially criticism and gossip, are outside issues. When THEY complain or are negative, that's really an outside issue for me.
When I am worried about what they are thinking or doing, I have completely lost my focus. When I start reacting to what THEY are doing, it's time to put the focus back on me. Who are your THEYs? And how can you put the focus back on yourself this week?