A friend of mine posted this image on Facebook:
It made my day. Not My Circus. Not My Monkeys. It is witty, and profound, and incredibly useful. There are days it is my mantra.
We have all had that friend at some point in our lives whose attraction to drama is matched only by their ability to suck you into it. After a phone call or a cup of coffee with them you find yourself worked up, drawn into their catastrophizing and anxiety. It may feel at first that you are just being a good friend, but after a while, it becomes apparent that you have been pulled into their special brand of crazy.
In moments like these- these six words are incredibly powerful: Not My Circus. Not My Monkeys. Knowing when to step back is vital. It is part of the maintenance of healthy boundaries- in friendships, in family and at work.
Let’s be clear, we all have days when we, or our own monkeys, are running the circus. Yes- it’s possible to attempt management of your circus and someone else’s, but it may not be advisable. And just as we do not want to get sucked into someone else’s circus, it’s important not to draw other people into our own.
The truth is that good friends are the ones who are able to empathize, but are also able to offer a perspective from outside of the circus. With compassion and kindness these friends are able to calm us down.
So when you feel yourself getting drawn in and spinning about someone else’s problems, remember: Not My Circus. Not My Monkeys.
Not My Circus. Not My Monkeys. Say it over and over until you are calmer. With this attitude, your own circus may even seem more manageable.