This week has felt liberating to me. I became aware of something very profound about myself recently, and the realization is quite literally changing my life. I understood finally, after a lifetime of struggling to carry other people’s burdens for them, that it is enough for me to merely carry my own. I no longer have to try to manipulate others into living their lives in a healthier way….that I cannot stop others from killing themselves, if they are intent on doing so.
Some part of this truth I’ve known for a longer time. A friend of mine made a good analogy yesterday, comparing it to a mathematical equation–learning a new formula, by which to get at the same answer. It creates a more holistic understanding of mathematics and the options available, except in this case the formula applies to life.
All my life, I’ve been feeling other people’s feelings, anticipating everyone else’s needs, and repressing my own. I’ve been a doormat, giving more than I can give throughout, and it has negatively affected my health, my career, my self-worth. Realizing finally, that everyone has a responsibility to take care of themselves and that I’m not responsible for anyone else, is a load off my shoulders I can’t even begin to describe. By taking responsibility over others’ lives, I wasn’t able to fully take responsibility of my own. Now I am free to concentrate on my well-being, my life, my career, my happiness. I had no idea how much of my energy was going into obsessing about other people’s lives; a dysfunctional dynamic learned in my dysfunctional childhood.
Now I have all of this space…all of this peace I didn’t know was possible… A feeling of freedom I remember experiencing as glimpses throughout my life, but never as an ongoing feeling. I am determined to keep from advising, to keep from controlling, to keep from obsessing about others. Other people’s lives are none of my business, and my life is none of theirs. I love it.
“The lesson I was learning involved the idea that I could feel compassion for people without acting on it. ”
― Melody Beattie