How can I be like an island?

My exploration of stoicism has of course given me some stuff to think about.  I like the idea that I can only control my own mind.  This is something that I managed to convince myself once years ago and it improved my life greatly but eventually fell by the wayside.  I cannot control the things that happen to me or the people around me or the world events but I can control how I react to these things.  I can control what I think about them.

The problem I run into is that sometimes I find it hard to separate myself from the things around me.  When I read, I am capable of not hearing anything that is happening in the same room as me.  I’ve developed the skill of blocking those things out.  It is a skill that I wish I could develop for other things too.

At work today, I had a mother and son in who were driving me batty.  He had an attitude problem and refused to listen to his mother and all the while she pushed and poked and prodded in a way that was disruptive to everyone else around them.  I sat at my desk being not a part of their conversation and yet embarrassingly pulled into it simply by their nearness.  I couldn’t work, as the sound her her hissing nagging and his whispered whining set me on edge.  My thoughts, so recently focused, unraveled and I couldn’t follow them.

Something similar happens when Hubby has a bad day.  If he’s had a bad day and is in a bad mood, it slowly rubs off on me.  I can be happy and cheerful and try to show him affection and try to make his day better but eventually I start to feel shitty too.

It strikes me that I need to make myself into an island.  I need to let the emotions of others flow past me.  I’m just not sure of how to do that.

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