Wednesday, October 6, 2010
When we hear about those we care about making choices, demonstrating in ways that trouble us, leave us unsettled, we are impacted by this news. Sometimes, our reaction is judgment, puzzlement, and upset. Sometimes, it’s disappointing, sorrowful and helplessness.
I have a friend whom I care about deeply, but for reasons I won’t get into here, I had to make a choice to “sunset” this relationship in my life. Despite my efforts to support, help and even tolerate with great patience how my friend showed up in our friendship, the impact upon my energy, my sanity and my emotional health required I draw a hard line in the sand around our involvement. It isn’t easy to make such decisions. In my work with clients, I see so much deeper their potential than what they see, know and believe in themselves; yet, I cannot force, coerce or insist upon anyone changing their choices, thinking, believing, and ultimately their way of being. I’m guided and trained to unconditionally love and support the path my clients take, and the pace in which they choose to travel it. But when it comes to loved ones, family members and friends, that task is challenging. We all experience this with sons, daughters, husbands, wives, parents, siblings, mates, lovers and friends. I am no exception in feeling frustration when I see someone I deeply care for show up unproductively, make unproductive choices, or worse, not making choices that can support and heal their hidden wounds and hurts.
I walk a fine line in my professional and personal relationships, and in both, I’ve learned that I cannot make anyone change, and it’s not my place to do so! When we attempt to change another, tell him or her how to live their life, what to do, insist on what they should do, we dishonor his and her own journey. Perhaps my friend is meant to struggle in this lifetime, as a means to understand how that experience feels. Perhaps the struggle is the path to “getting it” spiritually, to heal deep-seeded pride and arrogance, via the process of crashing and burning first. When addicts are ready to ask for help, they usually have to hit rock bottom first; our willingness to ask for help will come when we’ve hit rock bottom in misery, depression, exasperation, and sometimes, realization of the insanity of thinking things will be different when we keep doing the same thing over again.
We have to let go of our loved ones and let them travel their own path. We can be there to offer support, but we must also protect ourselves from that drain when they continuously ask for support, yet take no steps towards making healthy changes in their lives. We can offer them options, choices, and even express what we need in order to stay connected. This is when we must mind our own boundaries; enabling another does not help him or her. Judging choices, giving our opinions or advice is not helpful either. Unsolicited advice is no use to someone who has not requested it. We must trust that whatever our role in one’s life has been, there was a purpose, for both parties, and we did all we could during the time we traveled our paths together. If loved ones are still in our life, we can mind a boundary and offer our unconditional love and support. We can say prayers to guardian angels, and the Higher Power that loved ones are guided to get the help they need, led into the Light of wisdom, and the Love of God to wake up and know their higher truth within.
While I have eliminated contact, I still hold love and light in prayer for my friend. My heart and soul aches for my friend, but, and with difficulty at times, I cannot own responsibility for that life; it’s not mine to live, and it’s not mine to control. Your, my, each of our lives are under our own purview; we can only be responsible for our own choices, how we show up, how we uncover the Spiritual Truth of who we are, and how we live that truth in this life experience. The life experiences of our loved ones are for their own living, learning and self-discovery of a deeper love that is within, of who they spiritually are in the Oneness of Life.