It’s a touchy subject in our household. Like everyone, I grew up in a household where I was a container for my parents’ expectations out of life. I recently found out that I have a fairly common sensory disorder that makes it hard for me to filter out other people’s unresolved business. The resentments, anger, tension and disappointments that Mum and Dad felt, I ended up feeling. Maybe this is the human condition but I have no way of comparing my sensitivity with yours. I can only recount my experience of becoming someone who felt she had the power to fix other people’s problems much to the annoyance of my nearest and dearest.

The Turkish word for parsley, “maydanoz” had come to define me. Just as Turkish chefs garnish every friggin’ dish with parsley much to the annoyance of diners, I felt the need to expand my energy into the business of everyone dishing out drama.

Why does parsley behaviour happen?

For me, it was years and years of trying to help Mum and Dad reconcile their differences. I am an optimist. I cling on to hope that people can see eye to eye, put away differences and work towards something bigger than themselves. I was at a loss as to how to make this happen for Mum and Dad. When anyone came to me with their relationship problems, I regressed to my childhood self trying to make peace between Mum and Dad. It was intense and personal for me and the other person? They often wanted me to back the hell off.

These days I’m working hard to recover from being parsley and in turn, am restoring parsley’s good name. Parsley is a wonderful herb with lots of health benefits. It is delicious in salads such as my special Turkish salad with other ingredients like onion, pomegranate and walnuts which balance and complement its flavour.

I also use parsley outside of the kitchen. I use it as a visual in a three-part meditation to achieve healthy relationships with the people around me so that my energy can energise others and come back to me as more stories to write, publish, grow.

As with every meditation, we start with taking a cleansing breath in, hold it for three seconds and release it to the count of three. I repeat this three times and we start the first step.

Abandon Judgment

The reason we meddle in others’ business is that deep down inside we believe that others are hopeless and cannot look after themselves. This is our ego tricking us that we are superior, more knowledgeable, stronger, and plain better than them.

Think of someone you may have judged in the past week.

For example, I judged a woman for taking medication for her mental illness. Now, remember that whatever you judge in others is actually something you reject about yourself. It may be that I secretly fear that sometimes I feel too depressed to get out of bed and wonder if anti-depressants can help me. Fortunately, it takes me about 10 minutes of journaling to get the life energy flowing in my body but I struggle, especially in the winter.

Bring the vision of this person into your mind’s eye and see whether you get any answers as to what this may be saying about how you’re being harsh on yourself.

Listen More

Stop and listen to this person you’re visualising.

What is he or she telling you?

In my case, this woman is telling me that she’s a responsible adult who has experienced life with and without medication and has weighed the pros, cons and talked to doctors she’s trusted. She’s a grown-up who is now thriving with an anti-depressant and that’s her choice for me to respect.

Figure Out Your Domain and Stick to It

In this final step of our meditation, we need to think about our strengths and expertise life has given us. In my case, I don’t have a degree in psychiatry and have no say in whether people should or shouldn’t take medication.

What am I?

A memoir writer who seeks to understand me.

It is my faith that through understanding and appropriately expressing my emotions in writing, I heal and give others the courage to express themselves.

I now look at this woman with mental health problems and hold space for her. I don’t need to give her advice. She’s got this. I am Eda, a writer and parsley is parsley and is delicious in a salad with onion, pomegranate and walnuts. I emerge from the meditation with a new understanding and feeling nourished as if I’ve just had a serving of salad, maybe.

Over to you…

Have you meddled in other people’s business over the years? What was the result?