About a year and a half ago, I started attending Al-Anon meetings. Al-Anon is a support program for people who are affected by someone else’s drinking. Being raised by two alcoholic parents, I found strength and hope through this program. I also found myself an amazing and supportive sponsor who has gotten me through some of my roughest days.

At the end of a very thought-provoking conversation with my sponsor, something just clicked. I had another A-Ha moment. Regarding a family member of mine, she had chuckled, “As long as they stay in their lane, right?”

That little phrase stayed with me for some time. We were discussing the newfound peace I was feeling mostly because I had limited my contact with this family member and didn’t give them many options to “cross into my lane.” But, this was not always going to be the case. I was going to have to engage with them sooner or later.

You’re in Control

This really got me thinking. Is my inner peace and calm really that dependent on whether this family member stayed in their lane? Was I really that powerless?

Think about when you are driving, and someone cuts you off or does something you find to be “against the rules”. If you honk your horn or curse at them, who is most affected? The other driver can’t hear a word you’re saying and is completely unaffected by your horn. The only person in this scenario that is truly affected is you.

If someone is constantly “getting in your lane,” take a step back, breathe, and put yourself in a position where you won’t cause an accident. Getting upset over someone’s actions that you cannot control only disturbs and disrupts your peace. In their mind, they feel they are in the right equally as much as you feel they are wrong. You aren’t going to change them, and you certainly won’t get them to see your side by honking your horn.

Don’t Give Them the Keys

The most empowering thing you can do is to correct yourself and stop allowing other people to disturb your peace. One of my favorite things a therapist once said was, “People can’t drive you crazy unless you give them the keys.”

The only person you can control is yourself. You are in control of your thoughts, your actions, and how you react to others. They are just being who they are.

Accept Them Where They Are

So, if you can look at everyone as doing the best they can from their own level of awareness, you will find your inner peace is disturbed less and less. You give the other person, the antagonist in your story, all the power by disturbing your peace of mind.

Let’s take a close look and examine people on a soul level.

The truth is, every person is doing their absolute best in life under the circumstances. Some people have more tools to cope and others lack certain social skills. A lot of people enjoy self-improvement while others find that daunting and would rather not do the work. Some suffer mental illnesses and addictions that prevent them from acting the way YOU feel they should.

You cannot possibly know where each person is coming from or how they view life unless you asked them. Even then, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the whole story. The best thing you can do is accept who they are and do everything you can to come from a place of love.

More times than not, those who hurt others are deeply hurt themselves.

Bring Love to Heal

In these cases, I have found it very healing to look where they might be hurting. Where they are lacking in love. Then, I look at the abundance of love I have in my life. I promise the abundance is there for you as well. I give thanks for my blessings and I ask myself to be open to loving this person.

I’m not going to lie, sometimes, I find it difficult to keep my inner peace burning. What works best for me is, surrounding myself in the largest love bubble I can conjure up in my mind. I think about my kids, my husband, my dogs, my friends. I bring up as many memories of when I felt loved until I can sense that I am surrounded by a bubble.

This! Man, this! This is palpable. I have witnessed those around me feel the energy of love I am exuding, and peace becomes the energy frequency we all vibrate on. Even the person who I allowed in my lane.

Committing to this practice has helped me in many ways be around those who can’t “stay in their lane”.

This is the healing work. This is how you spread love to those who need it most. No one wants to disturb your peace, even when it may seem so. It is a cry for love. A longing to be seen. So, see them, love them.

*I still have to practice this. So, if at first you don’t succeed, I promise, you will have another chance to try again. I still must remind myself to utilize this practice. It will come, for the both of us.