Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys

Recently, I have been confronted with a little more drama than I can personally handle, and I feel like I can handle a lot most of the time. Some of this drama is not mine. When a little too much drama presents itself centre stage in my life, I like to remind myself that I don’t need to get involved in every drama infused scene in my life story. I like to use the Polish proverb “not my circus, not my monkeys” as a reminder to escape the crazy circus tent, I sometimes stumble into. I simply walk out.

Self-sabotaging behaviour was a foreign concept to me when I was younger. As the years rolled on, and some of my behaviours were turning my life experiences into serious life lessons, I turned my attention to cultivating better life habits, including quitting things like alcohol, stress eating, procrastinating, not committing and others. But one behaviour I seem to work on quite a bit more than others is gossiping. Gossip is so prevalent in my work life, my home and my social life, that it is impossible to escape from and regulate. I have yet to find the best way to create some distance from other people’s “circus” otherwise known as drama. 

It is without a doubt that I am deeply interested in human behaviour, and talking with people about people is just next level tantalizing for me. I think a lot of people feel the same. This is why gossip is everywhere. However, I know from experience that including yourself in gossip is like walking into quicksand. The more you stand in it, the more you get sucked in, and the deeper you go, at some point there is no return. You are now involved, in the weaving of an opinion of someone else’s life without true knowledge or understanding of the victims moral compass, or their perceived reality. Having a discussion about a person without them actually being present, is like having a debate about the feelings of animals. You don’t know how animals feel, and you can’t ask them. Unless you are willing to analyze a person’s life experience from the time they were born, until present time, and dive deep into their psyche to understand their motivations, actions, intentions, pain, life perception and personality, you will never know the true intentions and motivations behind someones life strategies, and how this might affect your life.

Gossiping is a waste of time, but it is something that we do to ease our own insecurities and internal chatter. The ambiguity of life and the uncertainty of people is unsettling. Gossiping doesn’t give you any more control or power, over a situation or person. The momentary feeling of power that you get while gossiping is an illusion that works in the opposite effect. Your negative energy sends a signal to others that you are untrustworthy and lack self control. I like to think that everyone is just trying to get their circus on the road as smoothly as possible, some might want to drag you into theirs, some don’t even open the tent for public viewing. Respect boundaries and practice social decorum. This will help keep your eyes only on your own monkeys.

We all want to feel like we belong and connected, but gossip doesn’t foster community and belonging, it breeds jealousy and misunderstanding. When you don’t take on other people’s opinions and carry them as your own, this helps in taking proper responsibility and creates room for growth. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. The grass is green where it gets watered. 

I have my own monkeys in my circus that travel with me and that is enough. I will always give out life advice gladly, if someone wants it, and I am always ready and willing to help if someone asks. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt even if they don’t deserve it, because really, who am I to judge? Everyone is a travelling circus, some crazier than others. Keep your circus and your monkeys in your own lane, and you will find less chaos on the road.

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