Not My Monkeys, Not My Circus

I’ve got some monkeys on my back. Not in some drug metaphor (I’m OK mom), but in some bad habits and patterns I’m trying to reprogram. From the outside in, those monkeys make up the circus that is my life. It’s not a bad circus. I’m mostly entertained, and despite the occasional moment of “why is my head in the lion’s mouth?!” – I like putting on a good show too. 

The expression “Not my monkeys, not my circus” … is an important reminder to me. 

When I’m thinking about adding new acts to my circus,* or getting invited to participate in somebody else’s circus, it helps me remember whose problems are whose, and whose priorities need to stay prioritized (mine). 

I ask myself the questions, “Are these my monkeys? Is this my circus?”

Which is really, “Are these related to my issues, patterns, or interpretations?” And, “Is this arrangement working for me and towards my broader objectives?”

When it’s not my monkeys and/or not my circus, I know it’s OK to walk away. In theory. This is what I’m trying to get better at. 

All I know so far is that the better I get at it, the more the circus feels like it has the potential to become the greatest show on earth. Not in some vain way, just in the way I feel like I’m actually enjoying the ride. 

h/t Terrie Cole. I really think she wrote my favorite book on boundaries, Boundary Boss

*I like to call it “the greatest shit-show on earth”

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