Eyes on your own paper

Remember this rule from grade school? I've made it a personal mantra lately. Here's how.

The concept of Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Paper (KYEYOP) stems from not cheating off someone else's test in class, and has come to mean staying focused on things I can control and things that affect me directly.

Case in point: my husband's bedtime, his eating habits, his friends. Without thinking sometimes, I'll weigh in on any of these topics and more that have nothing to do with me. It happens with friends and family too. In my head, I do this because I'm helping, because I care deeply about this person and want what's best for them, because I think they need me. Here's the kicker—I even believe that I'm being selfless.

That's a big fat lie. The truth is, I do it because I like control, because it's a lot easier weighing in (and being right) in someone else's life than it is with my own. Sound familiar to anyone else? You know who you are...

So, back to the golden rule. When I catch myself paying more attention to someone else than to me, I repeat KYEYOP. The best part of remembering that rule is that it frees up enormous amounts of time to get things done that I haven't made time for before—in the guise of helping someone close to me. Now I eat and buy more things I like, and plan my week around what's convenient for me.