I really appreciate your notion of ‘manuals’ that we have for other people and society at large. I actually hate manuals when it comes to appliances and workplace codes, and almost never read them! Yet I realize that when it comes to other people and circumstances I have several, custom-made manuals. The awareness I have achieved through this work has really helped me start accepting others exactly the way they are. I still have a long way to go, but I feel much more at peace.
However, when it comes to things like others breaching safety rules or physical boundaries, particularly involving children, I still cannot dump my manuals. For example, I saw a speeding car yesterday that almost hit another car that had a very young child in it; I immediately got upset. Other examples closer to home are my neighbor who hits and yells at her kids every evening (we can clearly hear her/them); or my ex husband who often speeds when he has our 3 kids in the car, the youngest being 4, and does not require them to wear seatbelts, no matter how many times I have pleaded and argued with him. When it comes to this type of ‘irresponsible’ and ‘dangerous’ behavior that compromises the well-being of others I cannot differentiate between accepting and condoning. For instance, my heart breaks when I hear the neighbor’s children crying, night after night and I just want to find a way to change things for the sake of the children. Can you please offer me some thoughts to help me understand how I can maintain my standards without getting so angry and sad at the disrespectful or irresponsible or even violent behavior of others?