Preface: I heard something so astoundingly wise and brilliant that the words burned into my brain and begged to be explored. Yet I cannot remember where I saw this, or who said it, so if you are the catalyst for this post, please let me know so I can thank you a thousand times.
When others are suffering, especially those close to us, it is so easy to absorb their pain, share it, and make it our own. We want to help them; we want to make them feel better or fix their problems in one fell swoop. And when we can’t, when all we can do is offer our heartfelt sympathies, support, and love…
But sometimes, it just doesn’t feel like enough. Sometimes we ache to carry their burdens, just so our loved ones can walk easy. Sometimes, even when we can’t help them at all, we take on those burdens anyway.
Burdening ourselves in vain does not help those we love. In fact, it may push them away, as they feel we are too busy, too weighted down, to talk to about their burdens.
Instead of trying to take another person’s burden, why not open a door for them instead? If this metaphorical, emotional burden were a lumpy physical thing draped across someone’s shoulders, you’d get the door for them if your own hands were empty, right?
Then do so. Don’t absorb someone else’s problem; clear the way for them to walk their path to a solution. Support them and encourage them, help them however you can, but don’t weigh yourself down if you can do nothing else constructive. Sometimes, a problem must be solved by the person alone – it is a deep learning experience.
If all you can do is live your own life by your values and seek your own happiness, you are still opening a door; you are providing yourself as a role model of what can be possible for others, too. This is valuable. You can help others by simply being you.
When you can’t improve someone else’s life, work with your own as a shining example. When you can’t help carry a burden, open a door instead.
Conflict isn’t personal. It’s not about you.
In any given scenario, any person in the world could fill your shoes and do or say what you did or said. And if the other people involved had the same opinion of and emotional investment in that person as they do you, the event would replay itself exactly.
What happened may be your responsibility, in full or in part. You may have made a legitimate mistake.
But conflict is not about who you are. It is about what happened.
You as a person are not being attacked. Only your actions or words are being called into question.
The reverse is also true. How you react to other people in conflict is not about who they are. You are responding to the silhouette shaped by their actions or words and filled with the emotional import you place in that person.
Don’t take it personally – it’s not about you.
I could write a thousand posts on this subject. In time, I probably will.
I have tried writing an introduction to this concept in a concise, brief, rich way. I haven’t yet gotten a post that satisfies me, so this will do for the moment. Trust me, much more will follow.
Right now, I want to tell you that you have the right to be you and no one can take that away from you, even though some people will try to shape you according to their own ideals.
I want to tell you ten thousand times that you are okay as who you are. You are dynamically perfect. You will change and evolve and still be the only perfect you in existence.
I want to tell you that you are magnificent, beautiful, strong, brilliant.
I want to tell you that acknowledging your imperfections, your weaknesses, your flaws, and your hurts is only reclaiming the power of being you.
Let me say that again: embracing your weakness makes you a stronger you.
Denying any of yourself, whether that be by refusing compliments or by shunning your shadows, shatters your wholeness. When you kick away pieces of you that you can’t believe are that good or you can’t accept are that bad, you are less you.
Be you. Fuck the world and what they think, baby, be you and rock it. There is no other you. Only you can live your life and walk your path.
Live it. Walk it. Go.