Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What is Best for You

It sounds like an empowering phrase but often it is a hemp rope slipped softly, loosely around your neck that tightens and pulls you off course. What is Best for you according to someone else. Here, step out of the drivers seat in your life and let this person take the wheel. Their words seem logical, plausible, or considerate. Truly empowering people never try to slip behind your steering wheel. They ride along and offer questions, maybe even offer to help navigate the path you've chosen.

Insert a compliment first, twist in a sincere plea for help. Seems alright, seems harmless, seems reasonable. It is easy to get sucked in. Take a step back.

Look at the compliment. Notice the unintend slight. "You should do this because I need you to, because you'll be amazing at it." Somewhere in there is the unspoken or sideways hint, what you're choosing to work toward is not valid and you're better off doing this instead because really in an outside opinion I'm suggesting passively that you should step away from what you value. I'm making it sound reasonable with compliments and couldn't do it without yous. Mutual need is often suggested. You need this. I'm helping you. I want what's best for you. Really?

They mean well, they're looking from a different perspective and different values color their sight. There is good reason they say the road to help is paved with good intentions. 

 Their statements also quietly tell you they feel you should let them make your decisions. Somewhere in the small print they're actually saying your decision making is questionable at best. Be aware. It is very small print. It is heavy. It can be paralyzing.

There are falsehoods in our heads put there through our lives by others. For whatever reason: control of your choices, fear and self interest, punishment for wrongs that could be as simple and huge as being born. They could be put there out of love, desire to see us achieve things they value or to see us avoid the hazards of life. 

Let's get a few things straight. You are not stupid. You are not worthless. You will be able to survive. You are valuable as You are. You are not crazy. Its not a fad or a phase, your choices and feelings are valid. Never let people whirlwind you into their drama. You are not responsible for anyone else.

So many statements are made to you throughout your life without really ever respecting or considering you. Every single one serving some emotional or financial goal of someone who is putting themselves first. There's subjective communication, it's rushed and assumptive. We're in this together, you are included but in reality it's as the willing meal rather than as an equal. It can happen at work, school and even at home. People drop verbal emotional bombs on each other without consideration. Sometimes they detonate at different times, some slowly lurk like mines waiting for the right pressures to set them off.

Honesty is important to me. I strive to be consistent. I said the last couple of years that my goal was to heal the sacred clown. In attempting this improbable goal, I found I had to rise up and determine my value, my goals and what really is important to me. I ended up healing myself and learning that each of us can only truly choose to heal ourselves. No one can truly heal someone else unless that person chooses to heal.

I changed myself. I grew. I found my value, my goals, my passion. I found myself. No one could do that for me. 

When you get multiple well meaning people putting words in your head that sound like their being helpful and encouraging you by discouraging you from pursuing your real path it gets easy to lose your way. It sounds reasonable. Ambiguity hides the truth. Camaraderie insinuates loyalty in a situation that in the end is really just self serving for someone else. Someone motivated enough to press a positive argument of stepping away from your goals for them because it's the nice thing, the safe thing, the best thing for you- besides, they need you and somehow you are suddenly responsible to them?! Parents and friends and partners do this without meaning to at times. 

You have to listen to yourself and attend your needs and goals first. No one else's life or career is your responsibility.
Unless you are a parent. If you are a parent, do one crucial task: teach your child to value themselves. Teach them to look out for themselves and do not try to manipulate them because of your own fears and inadequacies. If you fail at this one thing, they face huge struggles emotionally that they may or may not survive.

In healthy relationships communication is clear, each person takes care of themselves and then reaches out to empower the other. Each person is accountable for their choices. There's no pressure to fit a mold or to pull out some nails and martyr up.

I've known this for years. Taught it. I'm living it now and fully comprehending it. It is wonderful and liberating. Flying not falling. Truly flying, not just riding a draft.

You can tell someone a thousand times they are beautiful or incredible and they cannot grasp it until the day they realize it for themselves. You cannot make them realize it. You can ask them the right questions so they take a good look into themselves. You can hope that when they take that look they notice the mirror they've been using for years is warped. You can hope they finally throw it out, with it all the baggage they've carried for too long. It can go in a moment and all the stick feelings with it- if you choose to be brave.

Me?

I am an actor. I am an entertainer. I am a storyteller I am a writer. I work with words. Some weeks I may be eight to ten different people. I might pull off the role of cooking at a Mexican restaurant, I might be a mascot, might teach you to throw axes or guide you through a meditation. I might be reviewing your performance. I might be on a stage or talking down someone overwhelmed by panic. I keep learning new skills, there will always be new roles. Underneath it all, I am myself. I value the person I am. I value what I do.  The best way I can honor the people I love is by putting myself first; at my strongest I can be a healthy part of their support. At my weakest burdened by prioritizing the agendas of others, I could barely find the time to work on my goals and restlessness distracted me. My health suffered. I value my friends for who they are. 

What words are in your head, pacing back and forth? Who put them there? Why might they have done that? Who do the words serve?

If the words are truly empowering, there is no weight to the words. If the words were offered and you choose to keep them because they free you, strengthen you, and put you first: treasure that person or people! Those are your real supports. Its only taken me 39 years to really figure this all out. If not, realize you do not have to choose to allow that person's words in your head anymore.

I am working toward my goals and dreams. I found them. Its amazing how they suddenly exist when you take care of yourself. It feels wonderful. Problems get solved. You'd think there would be a lot of emotional rubble to clean up, but it vanishes as the sun inside you rises.

I hope to see the sun in you rise as well. I hope you choose to respect the people you love. The choice is yours. Be kind to each other, consider your words and intentions before you pour them into someone else's head. And be kind to those who with good intentions might have questioned your path, help them find their way back to themselves and their value. Most likely someone shook them off their path and they've followed through by passing on the cultural what is best for you.