I thank God for this post from Chris Brogan today — I wanted to be sure to remember it and share it with you, too, in case you don’t follow Chris like I do…

We go about our lives quite tangled up with other people’s lives, whether we want to admit that or not. We carry with us tangles from our past connections, and tangles from worries about future events that haven’t even unfolded yet. These tangles affect our choices and decisions and feelings all the time, if we let them.


This has been on my mind for a while, as I’ve been learning to see my own tangled self. I wrote about taking back your strings not too far back, but with the context that we let other people twist us up with their own choices. The more we come to see this, the more we can help ourself get untangled.

Yesterday, I let someone’s tangle frustrate me. (Let’s be honest: every day, we let people’s tangles get in the way.) With great visibility comes no small number of critics, and though I’m learning every day how to let people’s criticisms be their own, I’m still occasionally susceptible to prodding. But why should I care about someone’s opinion of me? That comes from their experiences, their tangles, their view of the situation. I don’t know this person, and yet, I carried around frustration all day, slept, and then woke up thinking about him this morning. How un-useful.

I spoke with someone else yesterday whose choice of spouse caused both sets of grandparents to stop talking with her for over a year (tradition thing). Here she is, happy and in love, and looking forward to starting her new life, and because it didn’t follow the tangles of her culture, her blood relatives chose to cut off connections to her. She didn’t tell me this with sorry, only a sense of the fact that it’s unfortunate, but with a smile on her face for what she did have: a loving husband and a future.

We can’t choose how our relatives feel about us. We can’t choose how our loved ones think about us and react to us. We can’t alter how those people at work speak about us when we’re not there. None of that is ours.

You Own Your Head

What you can do, however, is work on yourself, is accept yourself as you are right now, is start to fuel your own personal inner fire of belief without any external sources. It’s not that you don’t value the thoughts of friends and people you love, but instead, that you accept them as simply that: thoughts and input from the outside world. If every time you speak to a group of people, they yawn and look away, accept that maybe you’re boring them, but don’t take it any further than that. Don’t read minds. Just take that information and decide what you want to do about it.

In the above example, maybe you’re talking to the wrong people about the right stuff. If you’re passionate about dance but you’re talking to a bunch of farmers, maybe that’s not a good fit. (Maybe it is.) But own your head, and don’t let their tangles snarl you.

Chris Brogan [who I frequently quote on my business blog] has some great personal insight in this post and I captured quite a bit of it here. You can follow the ‘via’ link if you’ve read this far. His final thought? “accept every thought, opinion, value, and emotion outside of your own as someone else’s tangle, and then try to steer clear of them. Yes, we’d love for the people we love to be happy. But even that isn’t our duty. It’s not our job to make people happy. It’s our job to live in such a way that we hope to positively impact other people’s happiness.” …but first, let’s create our own!!!

4 thoughts on “Untangled

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