Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys

Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys

Not my circus, not my monkeys (Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy) is a Polish proverb. Research shows that this proverb is not actually an old one.

It can be used as an internal message to “let go” as promoted by some Eastern religions, including Zen Buddhism. As a way of improving one’s mental health, to achieve enlightenment, or both. On a more light-hearted note, it can encourage a “Hakuna matata” outlook on life.

When it is directed at one’s self, it has come to mean something akin to the first part of the Serenity Prayer:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change” except instead of an appeal to God, it’s a way to verbalise “I am not in control here. If I were in control, perhaps I could do something, but this is not my circus. I’m not in control. These aren’t monkeys/employees/people I can control. Since there’s nothing I can do about the situation. I’m not going to get worked up about it.” Thus, one possible recipient of the message is one’s self. It’s an attempt at reducing stress by recognising our inability to change things.

It could be translated as having the same meaning of ‘’it’s none of my business’’. However, in a broader sense, it’s usually used to enhance the fact that you are not the one to judge someone else’s actions. Even when you don’t necessarily agree with them. The problem someone else has found himself in, is not your mess to worry about and the people taking part in that mess are not the ones you can control. 

It is generally a self-admonition to keep cool and not get too involved in stuff you do not need to be involved in.

It is also very useful when things around you are crazy. Or you find yourself dealing with other people’s drama. Which happens way too often on the internet right? You just let it go, because it’s not your circus (drama) and not your monkeys (idiots making drama).

Vivre Le Rêve
Welcome to Vivre Le Rêve, an online lifestyle magazine for all those who are or who want to be living the dream! I’m Rose, the lifestyle editor here at Vivre Le Rêve.