90-Day A Better Me Series
Part I: A Journey of Awareness
What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation
Day 21: Judging What’s Right or Wrong for Someone Else’s Life
“If we had no faults of our own, we should not take so much pleasure in noticing those in others and judging their lives as either black or white, good or bad. We all live our lives in shades of gray.”
-Shannon L. Alder
Get out of other people’s business! You are responsible for your journey, not theirs. Some of the best advice I ever got was, “If you are busy trying to run someone else’s life, who is running yours?” This was given to me by my friend Sarah after I was so focused on what a person who was abusing alcohol was doing instead of focusing on what I was doing. I lost my identity by focusing on his actions. I was miserable!! I started focusing on what I could fix to better MY life—ME! The beginning of my metamorphosis was upon me. When I stopped putting all my attention on him and what he was doing I gave myself the energy I needed to do what was best for me. I was no longer prisoner of his actions.
LOVE has nothing to do with us being right and someone else being wrong. If we think we are telling people how to live their lives out of love, we need to REALLY look at it. This is NOT easy!! Why do we feel like we need to insist on our way as the right way when it comes to how someone else does something? FEAR! We are scared that if he, she or they don’t do it, he, she, or they will suffer or others will suffer because of their choices. We JUDGE suffering as WRONG! We learn from our suffering. Suffering can often be our BEST teacher because it can get us uncomfortable enough to do something to change. If we continuously rescue, enable, and/or demean someone for the choices they are making… how are we encouraging them to know they are capable of making choices to better their own lives. People need to be held responsible for their own rewards and consequences of their feels, thoughts, words, actions and reactions. That is not a judgment that is a Universal law of the energy we put out in the world. I don’t know of a spiritual or religious practice that doesn’t talk about personal accountability for what we do.
We can’t MAKE people change! So why are we going to insist on what we have no power over. What kind of energy are we contributing when we tell the Universe that we know better, LOL. I laugh because I still need the reminder. If you haven’t been following the series, I have kids. I often have to remind myself to help them understand rewards and consequences for their own choices and remember to give natural consequences when they make choices that negatively affect themselves or others. I’m a work in progress just like every human being is. Whether I it’s my kids, family, friends, or strangers, I have to be in full awareness of how I encourage people to be their best selves.
When it comes to the actions of individuals, religious groups, governments, institutions, terrorist groups, etc. we have to be aware of how our judgments of them are affecting the energy we are contributing to what we want or don’t want. If we are consumed by fear-based energy for their actions, we are feeding and manifesting more fear. We are feeding the problems instead of the solutions. If we are responding to their energy from a place of love and respect for ourselves and others, we are responsible for creating more of that love and respect in the world around us. HOW AWESOME IS THAT???
Someone’s story of drama, trauma, abuse, disempowerment, and/or victimhood can trigger me. If I’m triggered and not aware, I can easily get attached to the other person’s choices of how they deal with their situations. I can pull in or feed the negative energy (fear) that won’t help my or their situation. I can’t take any credit or responsibility for what someone else’s decides to do. I learned from being in AL-ANON (12-Step program for friends and loved ones of alcoholics) the best way we can contribute is to speak from our own experience, strength, and hope. We don’t have to insist that people do what we did or what we wish we did. We just encourage by showing options of perspective. Sometimes just by seeing options, it opens our minds to see what is the best choice for ourselves. By sharing with others on this level, we can detach from the situation with love and know that they will need to go through whatever is necessary to go through in order to learn. They are on their own path. It is not ours to Judge.
When we try to take the power over someone else’s life and judge it as right or wrong, we aren’t seeing the big picture. Remember that straw exercise from a few days ago (Day 16)? Well just imagine all we can see is whatever that view through the straw shows us. Where our focus is will determine what we will see, it doesn’t represent everything that is there. We are all given what we need to make us the people who we are. Some of us have to go through hard and challenging lessons (ME) to wake them up to seeing who she/he IS and who she/he wants to be. We can CHOOSE to follow whatever path we choose. It is not in anyone else’s hands.
Why do we want to spend our own energy judging someone else’s lessons? We have no idea where those lessons can take them. It could be what makes them an amazing therapist, activist, coach, leader, doctor, inventor, entrepreneur, philanthropist, business owner, customer service representative, waitress, artist, designer, etc. The list goes on and on. They can also choose paths that deliver pain and suffering. We still can’t attach to their paths.
I’ve had to learn from multiple people who taught me through showing me pain and suffering. I’m incredibly grateful for the lessons I learned from them. They showed me the most about my courage, strength, hope, and perseverance to be the person I am today. They are the ones who taught me amazing lessons in compassion and empathy for others who have been belittled, demeaned, marginalized, and victimized.
The negative energy that I put out has taught me how I made myself miserable and showed me the power I had to change the trajectory of my life. I needed to make myself accountable for all my feelings, thoughts, actions, and reactions. When I did, I got to enjoy the rewards that life offered me in return. No one else’s judgments on my life got me to where I am. I’m grateful for that since many, including me judged that I would be dead.
The point is we never can know what is best for someone else’s journey. Showing people they have a choice in perspective and encouraging them to question their own thinking, is so much more powerful. In the end, whatever happens to that individual is based on his/her own choices. Judging them has a better chance of feeding shame cycles that contribute to their negative thought patterns which keep them suffering.
Here’s an example:
If a person we love is staying in a verbally abusive relationship and we keep telling them that they HAVE to leave and they are STUPID for staying, the person staying can spin that into their shame cycle saying, see I’m so stupid. What kind of idiot would stay here to put up with this shit? A person staying in an abusive relationship is abusing her/ himself, so when another person abuses them it feeds the cycle of self-abuse (more on self-abuse Day 29) in their heads. Our judging them for not leaving ends up feeding their cycle too. That person who is being abused has to see her/his own value before they will be able to make the choices they need to work her/himself out of the situation.
We can’t demand respect from someone else, but when we respect ourselves, we don’t need to. People KNOW we respect ourselves by our healthy boundaries, demeanor, actions, and reactions. We can’t force or fake self-respect. Even if we fool others, we can’t fool the Universe. Just try to remember, people with healthy amounts of self-respect respect themselves, others, and their environments. When we are operating from a place of self-awareness we know we are responsible for any negative or positive energy we put out there, so we do our best to make sure the energy we are contributing is to represent our best selves a.k.a. our best lives.
Just for Today
Be self-aware when your thoughts go to a place where you think you know what is best for someone else’s life. Question your thoughts and try to see other possibilities. Pay attention to how attached you are to their outcome. How is it making you feel emotionally, physically, and energetically? Ask yourself if that is really what you want for yourself.
“The grass isn’t’ greener on the other side. It’s greener where you water it.”
Thank you for reading today’s installment. Feel free to go back to Day 1 and/or pick and choose the topics you feel that would benefit you. How you use the material I write about is up to you. Just know that this is your journey and you have the power to make it into whatever you want it to be. The more we allow ourselves to question the thinking that isn’t working for us, the more open we are to create new ideas about what does and will better. Don’t forget to check out today’s companion letter on http://lettersfromabetterme.blogspot.com.
With Love and Gratitude,
Rachael Wolff ©2019