How many times have you sat, exasperated, while someone you loved mishandled a situation in their life? How many times have you listened to the same story and given the same advice only to have them come back to you a week later with an encore performance? If only they would listen to you (instead of themselves) the situation at hand could be fixed, they could be happy and you could be right.
And what about the times when you have felt pressured not to follow or share your own instincts or desires in order not to upset or frustrate someone you loved and respected? How many times have you pretended not to feel a certain way or stopped yourself from reaching out due to embarrassment?
The fear of judgement and rejection can be debilitating, not only to individuals, but relationships between those who have heart-to-hearts and cannot see eye-to-eye. I know there was a time when I personally lived in constant fear of disappointing dear friends and mentors I felt were more advanced in their approach to “problem” solving. After plenty of pretending not to need a little extra tutoring (and my fair share of test anxiety) I had to teach myself that it was OK to follow my own path (and stumble down it at times), come to my own conclusions and make my own mistakes.
I had to let go of my fear of loved ones rejecting or judging me and hold onto the hope would still love me even if it took me a dozen times to “get it”.
Guess what? They did.
I sat in class a while, but I finally learned that just because someone loves us or we love them doesn’t mean we need to think alike, feel alike or want to do all of the time.
We are a group made up of unique individuals with our own thoughts, feelings, experiences, fears and desires, but I believe we all want same things in life: To love and be loved, to be accepted for who we really are, space to breathe, and room to be ourselves in the world and our relationships. I embraced the fact that we are individuals walking side-by- side in this life, and not extensions of one another. A difference in thought or opinion isn’t a rejection of us as a person (and if it is, that’s a relationship we need to reconsider participating in).
You’re likely reading this post thinking, “This is really so obvious, Brenda,” but it’s not always easy to remember when we are upset that someone is not taking our advice or handling a situation the way we would and/or think they should. I write this as a reminder to us all (myself included) to try and remember to approach one another with compassion and a desire not to “know” but to understand. Let us all remind ourselves that situations are often black and white to those of us who are not attached by the powerful emotional hook.
And as illogical as it may seem, emotions are what attach us to people, places and things. They are what adds color to the world. They are the soul to our body, the reason we give hugs, meet up with friends, write poetry, make love, say prayers and visit graves.
Live (for yourself) and let live.