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The Five Businesses and an Inner Meter on Manipulation

Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. is a seasoned clinician with experience working with adults, couples, families, adolescents and older children since 1976. His aim ...Read More

Minding Your Own Business and Leaving ‘Nobody’s Business’ Alone

A major way to abandon operating out of real choice is to become entangled in nobody’s business or in “giving someone the business,” instead of minding your own business. When the advice columnist Ann Landers recommends MYOB, that is, “mind your own business,” it strikes a nerve within many of us. However, saying, “MYOB”, is certainly less than useful if you have no idea what that phrase means in specific, concrete and operational terms that you can take into actions.

To clarify what is nobody’s business, here is my understanding of what is your business and what is someone else’s business. Consider your perception of yourself in all realms of life that directly concern you, that is, survival, feeling, thinking, doing, planning, goals, relationships, dreams, envision, health, well-being, what directly “impacts” and “effects” you as (1) MY BUSINESS.

Further, consider another person’s perception of themselves—their view of what they do to survive, feel, think, do, plan, relate, dream, envision, interact in relationship with, create health and well-being and directly impacts them—(2) THEIR BUSINESS. Each is definite, clear, certain.

What is fuzzy, unclear and uncertain is what qualifies as (3) NOBODY’S BUSINESS. All forms of manipulation (what I call ‘giving someone the business’), including intimidation, bullying and passive-aggressive behavior, derail your live, the Real Self. We don’t appreciate it.

When you first begin to get that edgy, tension-filled, uneasy and uncomfortable feeling or “wobble,” it’s time to notice if you are (or have or are about to) “sell out the farm”, meaning yourself, in allowing, permitting and letting yourself be manipulated. Whenever you do or are about to do something that is not what you would naturally and normally do (not just something habitually learned or a habit), then you are noticing manipulation. The very same criterion applies to others you know well enough to know how they would naturally and normally behave.

Your “Inner Meter on Manipulation”

Your “inner meter on manipulation” is simply these very inner signals, feelings and felt sense that you are not being your natural and normal self right now. A good way to become aware of manipulation is to notice when you’re doing what someone else wants instead of what you want. Feeling vaguely uncomfortable, unsettled, disconnected and imbalanced maybe signs you’re being manipulated. Likewise for growing irritation, frustration and anger. Perceiving your life as out of order, unfitting or amiss are warnings. Also nervous, jumpy behavior of your own or someone else’s are worth noticing, putting you on manipulation alert. These are all important signals that you are probably being manipulated. But the critical factor is that you are allowing yourself to behave in a manner different than how you would normally and naturally perform in your life. Call this your inner meter on manipulation.

Pause and look around can be helpful in noticing where the “set up” originated. Typically you won’t have to look far! The moment this is fully seen, heard, and known, you are empowered through this recognition to say, “Hold on…that’s not it at all. . . never mind that, what I really want to say is this. . . ” and state what you would naturally and normally. The feeling of being congruent to “who you are” is indescribably delicious and a joy to behold and experience. Besides, you’ll sleep like a baby that night with a smile on your face expressing and being exactly as you are.

What started a serious inquiry into this realm was a book entitled What You Think of Me is None of My Business by author and minister Terry Cole-Whittaker. The title challenged the reader to consider that what someone else thinks of me isn’t any of my business. Accepting this, then is what someone else thinks of me even their business? I think not! What you think of me and what I think of you is neither one of our business! The realm of “nobody’s business is huge and encompasses all politics, gossip, innuendo, bullying, coercing, manipulation, passive-aggressive and defense behaviors, poor or non-existent boundaries in relationships and so on.

There is a huge overlap of NOBODY’S BUSINESS with (4) SOMEBODY GIVING YOU THE BUSINESS and YOU GIVING SOMEONE ELSE THE BUSINESS. Consider this fourth realm one that overlays “nobody’s business,” and specifically describes anyone “projecting” their issue, program, agenda or desire onto another, oftentimes with selfish, greedy or hurtful / sadistic / punishing / malevolent intent and behavior.

Consider “opinions” for a moment. Just possibly the opinion offered by someone is one that person can back up with research findings, education or experience. Usually it isn’t. In fact, most commonly it is either an unsolicited opinion, worth every penny you pay for it, or pure gossip intended to hurt another person’s character. Opinions about people, positive or negative, are infrequently ever directly spoken to that person. Whichever way, it is unbefitting for who we are as beings. If I want your opinion, then I’ll ask for it. If you want to give me your opinion, then ask me if I want to hear your opinion, and honor my answer. With either opinion offered, it’s none of my business, nor is it yours unless it directly impacts or effects our life!

Unless something another says or does directly impacts my life or someone I’m close with, for example, spreading unfounded rumors that damage my good name or my family’s reputation as well as throwing a fist or foot in my personal space, it is nobody’s business. So what you think of me and what I think of you are neither my business nor yours!

The realm of that which effects and impacts us all collectively is (5) OUR BUSINESS. Clean air and water, the quality of the environment, the hole in the ozone, the polar icecaps melting and the ocean water levels rising worldwide, the spread of AIDS or other deadly disease, wars, brutality, abuse, discrimination, genocide, fascism and killing as well are awakening in Awareness of Being, luminous essence, Love and Divinity are all Our Business. This is our shared divinity, Oneness and Love, what is in the highest and best interest of All concerned on planet Earth.

To mind your own business (MY BUSINESS),

have nothing to do with NOBODY’S BUSINESS and


honor other people by letting them handle their own business (THEIR BUSINESS) and

do your level best to actively support and participate in OUR BUSINESS

is remarkable and admirable.

Couple this with the self-protection of developing and honing an “Inner Meter on Manipulation” and wow! Wouldn’t this be an incredible contribution to you and us all.

Keep Reading By Author Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D.
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