Why Do We Need to Mind Our Own Business in the First Place?


Posted by Jill Whalen | Posted in Psychology, Relationships, Spirituality, Thought | Posted on 10-19-2016

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[Jill’s Note: If you prefer to listen rather than read, please scroll to the bottom of this post for the audio version.]

Why Do I Have to Keep My Mouth Shut?In a recent popular post I talked about how keeping our mouth shut when others seem to do or say things that bother us, can go a long way towards strengthening our relationships with them.

While this practice has been very helpful to me (when I remember) I can’t help but wonder…

Why am I’m bothered by them in the first place?

I know from everything I’ve learned the past 3 years that nobody can make me feel a certain way. Which means that being bothered, annoyed, angry or whatever–are feelings that can only come from me.

And yet those feelings sure do seem like they come as a result of what people around me are doing. In other words, it definitely seems like other people somehow can make me feel things. After all, if they weren’t doing what they were doing or saying, I wouldn’t feel annoyed or mad, or scared; nor would I have to bite my tongue in order to keep the peace.


While our world is setup to make us believe that’s how it works, in reality, it doesn’t.

Because all of our feelings originate from thought in the moment, it is actually Thought that is creating our experience of life.

Not other people.

For example, if we weren’t brought up to know that eating with our mouth open was impolite, we wouldn’t be grossed out when we saw others doing it. It’s only because we’ve been “programmed” to see it that way, that we may have thoughts about it in the first place. Open-mouthed eating isn’t inherently gross. And not everyone who sees someone doing it is bothered by it. Make sense?

That’s just one example out of millions.

I’ve been actively seeking examples in my own life in order to strengthen my understanding of this concept. I’ve discovered so many instances where I first believe one thing is happening, only to find out later it was my mind/thoughts playing tricks on me. In fact, this concept is what just about every blog post I’ve written in the past few years is based on. Therefore, I know with certainty that it’s our thoughts that create our feelings and thus our experience of life.

And yet…and yet…and yet…

Just like most of the people in the world, I still find myself believing that others are causing me distress. A lot. Like many times throughout my day. (Thus why I still have to remind myself to mind my own business and keep my mouth shut!)

Still I keep wondering…

Shouldn’t my knowing the Truth enable me to see that my feelings are coming from my own thoughts and not other people, all of the time?

Shouldn’t I be able to dispassionately notice others’ behavior and have no particular reaction to it?

Seems logical enough.

But guess what?

I’m still a freakin’ human!

And as a human who was brought up with an (incorrect) outside-in understanding of the world–where anyone and anything might possibly have some power to bother me–it’s still my frame of reference most of the time.

That said, in many areas of my life I’ve been able to see that it’s my thoughts and not other people or circumstances that are creating my feelings. Mostly in the areas of addiction and anxiety. But that’s because I’ve had powerful insights into those aspects of my life.

Which brings me ’round to answering my own questions above.

Insights are the Key.

In case you’re not sure what an insight is, they’re  simply an “aha moment.” Insights are hearing or seeing things in a completely new way. They’re the all of a sudden–“I GET IT” moment we’ve all had. They can come from something new we’ve read or heard or thought about, or they can come from something we’ve listened to many times before.

They can also be life flashing before our eyes moments where we suddenly see exactly how things truly are. (The big one I had about addiction/anxiety was that type.)

The amazing thing about insights is that once we’ve had one surrounding certain areas of our life, troublesome things often transform into nothingness. Insights are like a magic eraser that has the ability to remove and delete decades (or lifetimes) of repetitive conditioned thoughts and behaviors. They simply fall by the wayside without trying or doing anything.

Insights create freedom.

Certainly, I’m biting my tongue less often than I used to. Which presumably means fewer things are bothering me as a whole. But until or unless I have some sort of insight into this area of my life, then all I’ve got at the moment is willpower. And I know from past experience that willpower can only take me so far.

So for now, I’ll continue to bite my tongue when I’m bothered and feel the need to speak up. I’ll do my best to mind my own business and not think too much about what others are doing. I’m sure I’ll also continue to forget and act like a jerk at times.

In other words…

I’ll live the life of a human!

But I’ll also hold out hope that one day I’ll either be gifted with an insight or two or three that will make all of this moot. Or perhaps I’ll have some little insights I don’t even recognize as such, and these situations will simply fall away over time. That seems to be the way it’s going so far, which is quite all right with me!

How about you? Have you had any insights into minding your own business or anything else? Please feel free to share below!


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Jill is the author of Victim of Thought: Seeing Through the Illusion of Anxiety

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For the past 20 years, Jill has consulted with companies big and small, and spoken at conferences all over the world. She is currently a transformational speaker and mentor to businesses, individuals, coaches, leaders, groups and organizations. She helps them uncover their natural well-being and happiness so that they can operate from a clearer state of mind and take their lives and businesses to a higher level.

Jill's blog, What Did You Do With Jill? is a personal account of what she's learned throughout her transformational journey. Jill has many "viral" articles on LinkedIn and is a contributing writer for P.S. I Love You.

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I´ve changed my mind completely about the way see my children. Before i taught them, lectured them and were wining most of the time about almost everything, I didn´t like it but I thought it had to be that way. Otherwise they wouldn´t learn. Now, I mind my own business more and look away when I disagree.
And they most of the time correct themselves or they come to me for advice. Nothing with our situation has really changed but I can assure you that everything is very different , for the better, now.
Thank you for your inspiration!
Best regards
Thomas Jensen

That’s great, Thomas. Thanks for letting me know!

I like to thank you for that one Jill. Minding my own business would surely take a lot of stress away. Not to mention it would also help to focus on those things that really matter. keep up the good work

You’re welcome, Sabrina. I’m glad that you found it helpful. And you’re definitely correct that the less we get ourselves mixed up in other people’s business, the more space in our heads for knowing what to do in other situations that matter!

It will help us not to be so judge mental too.

You’ve hit the nail on the head, as it seems that’s really what it is in the first place. When we feel the need to get into others’ business, we’re really just judging them, aren’t we?!