No one teaches it in school, but I’m learning that it is a crucial part of growth and self-protection.
It doesn’t come as easily and I’ve been skilled at explaining away all the reasons I had to turn around and walk in the opposite direction on multiple occasions, for a number of different things.
When you read articles about primal instincts, seldom do you read about the ability to trust that what you’re seeing in your life is true.
Let this be the permission you need to stop being at war with your eyes and your heart. You can see people and place them in your life according to their behavior.
Gone are the days where parents and teachers stood over you, telling you not to judge. It’s where we learned compassion for others and where the adults around us worked to preserve the innocence that makes us yearn to look for the light in others.
They no longer serve us now, though and it’s one of the hardest won lessons, that just because I could let it in, it doesn’t mean that I should and even when it’s socially acceptable to be lowering fences, doesn’t mean that I should either.
There’s so much freedom in seeing the behaviors of another person and saying, “This is all I need to see for me to know that from this point forward, I will speak with you but on my terms and within the boundaries that feel good to me.”
I used to feel like it was my cosmic duty to see the best in everyone and that I would somehow be unspiritual or deemed some sort of here-for-the-free-food, teacher if I didn’t. What I neglected to understand then, was that I can look for the positives always; that will probably never change about me. What I didn’t have to do, is believe someone’s story more than the evidence their actions showed me.
If someone behaved in ways that didn’t match the sweet syrup of their words, it had to be enough for me. I would linger and wait around until someone realized that I was worth being treated equally, that I was worth being invited to Christmas dinner, that I was worth talking to when something went awry and I built this fortress of righteousness where I waited. And waited some more.
Without much fanfare, I woke up one morning and simply decided that enough was enough. Karma was not going to arrive on my doorstep with a speeding bus, should I choose to accept that I deserve more than good intentions. And I do. We all do.
It forced me too, to take a look at my own behaviors and examine how I wasn’t living up to my desire to use behavior as an accurate measure; as frustrated as I was by some situations, I had to ask myself whether or not I was truly much better.
If I wanted more, was I willing to give more? If I wanted to be remembered, would I be remembering back?
Compassion is a lovely thing, but any kind of connection with another person involves having a relationship with them more than their good intentions.
It hurts. It stings and it burns on the inside when you realize that you may not mean that much to someone after all. The good thing about that fire and burning though, is that the ashes left behind make great fertilizer.
Whatever you do be sure to operate under the assumption that when a person shows you the contents of their mind and heart through their behaviors, they’re being honest. There’s nothing to be won by ignoring the truth or keeping silent about someone else’s behaviors, protecting them from the truth that maybe they need to care more to have you in their life.
To quote the Beloved Maya Angelou, “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
This is your permission to see.
The most unexpected part of learning to see with earnest and honest eyes was the stillness left behind. In its gentle breeze, self-worth caressed my face and reminded me:
It’s not your job to save the world from itself, lovely.
On The Wings of Miracles,