Letting Go 3:1
…continued from Relax Your Toes to Relax Your Mind
Do you always need to be right? Do you need to have the last word in any verbal exchange, especially if it’s an argument? Do you ever think: “If only people would behave the way I want them to, everything would be fine. We’d all get along. there’d be no reason to quarrel”? If so, I’d venture to say that you’re not alone. Many of us think we know the solution to other people’s problems, even if they are not aware that they have a problem. Some of us are rude and overbearing, while others are overly gracious and sweet, as we try to impose our will and outlook onto others. Our intentions may be good, yet we may be causing harm without knowing it.
It is always easier to look at someone else’s life and know what needs fixing than to get close enough to our own to identify a problem. We only need look at our intimate love relationships to understand this phenomenon. How many times have friends given you advice on your love life while their own was crumbling before their eyes unbeknownst to them? Or vice versa? Why do people remain in relationships that for all the world appear unhealthy and unsafe? Why do we lose sight of ourselves so easily and have such clarity when looking at others?
Most of us are taught that too much time spent on ourselves is narcissistic and selfish, so we learn to focus on others. In the process, we lose touch with ourselves and feel guilty or shameful each time we turn inward. But we cannot get to our own true voice unless we turn toward ourselves, which can be a frightening prospect.
Perhaps we are afraid of what we’ll find; maybe our deepest fears about ourselves will be revealed. Or if we look there might be nothing at all there.
Where do these fears come from? If we take a minute to look back at our childhood, we discover that none of this fear was present when we were young. We were not self-conscious, we had no need to control ourselves or others; we simply lived with ourselves, comfortable in our own skin. The fear came later, as we ventured into the world by ourselves. This fear then incited our desire to control all that came our way. Dealing with the unknown was too risky, because we thought we were never given the tools we needed to face it.
For the time being, I invite you and give you permission to focus on yourself for a while, to return to your child-nature. Turn your sight inward as you search for and explore the real you. Trust that you have all the inner resources necessary to confront the unknown. Trust me when I say that if you do this, by the time you are ready to again turn your focus to others you will be more loving, patient, and understanding. And your need to control the world around you will be much diminished.
All you need is the willingness to look, an open mind to approach what you see, and the courage to move forward.
In this process, as you begin to relinquish control over others, you will also need to relinquish control over yourself. So for now, try to move through your life as a passenger. Get out of the driver’s seat And simply enjoy the view.