I’ve had several opportunities to talk to people this week about balancing all of the many demands on their time and resources. It seems that there are dozens of things every day that pull our attention, and we are in the awkward position of trying to juggle it all. Fortunately, we all have an internal guidance system that will help us to determine whether we are choosing wisely. I like the way Hyrum Smith put it in his book, The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management. Law #3 states, “When your daily activities reflect your governing values, you experience inner peace.” The times we feel off-balance are the times when we find ourselves sacrificing things of greater value. Ask yourself how well your typical daily activities reflect what you really believe and value in life. Live on purpose!
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It sounds like you are already thinking about some of the answers to your own question. It is always a good idea to determine what it is that you control and what it is that you don’t. You will find that your ability to change or control others is VERY limited. Plan on adjusting your own attitudes and reactions AS IF your roommate will not be changing at all in the foreseeable future. You can choose to be irritated by this, or to be entertained by this (or whatever other reaction you like). Make it a bit of an internal game, and see if you feel differently.
On the other hand, there are times when your concern for another person motivates you to do what you can to help them. A good option in that case is to have some open communication. Approach it in a non-critical and non-defensive way. To the extent that you feel irritated and upset, your communication is likely to be a little off – so do whatever you can to manage your own feelings first. Her following your lead is probably an indicator that she admires you and sees you as a model and example. It may also indicate some insecurity with her own self-concept. Either way, you are in a position to exercise kindness and compassion in your response to her.
Remember that these kinds of things are sometime hardest to see and manage from within your own mind. I’m glad you are asking the question here, and don’t hesitate to get some consultation from others you trust. You are on the right track.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. They are actually in regards to one of my roommates. Some of her behavior has just made me think and I don’t know if it’s something to be worried about or just deal with, and if there’s anything I could be doing to help her.
The main thing I have been noticing is her tendency to copy my and my sister’s behaviors. It goes from buying the exact same things as we buy–always within a few days of us buying them– to copying some specific things we do–always as we’re doing them or soon thereafter. At first I thought it was just a coincidence and didn’t think much of it, but now it’s so often and so obvious that I’ve started to wonder about it all. I have a lot of specific examples if that would be helpful. Like I said, I just am not sure if it’s something I need to just be patient with or if it’s something I can and should be helping her with. Thanks again for your time.