Sometimes the choices others make have a devastating impact on our lives especially when “the others” are people we love. We are conditioned to be there for our loved ones, even when it takes us to the breaking point. It is easy to blame them for being self-centered while we see ourselves as self sacrificing. But it isn’t that simple. Often times we share the guilt by enabling others to continue in their selfish behavior because we have yet to draw a line in the sand and say “you have gone this far but no further.” We worry that we may be seen as the selfish ones, even though we are not the immediate source of grief and misery.
Recently, a dear friend stopped by and over a glass or two of wine, we shed some tears and laughed, but more importantly we talked about the changes we need to make in ourselves to stem this tide. She and I have had to learn the hard way that once you give an inch, in no time you are giving a mile. Before you know it, your life is taken over by someone else’s problems and there is little room for you to deal with your own. Life becomes a series of someone else crises and the superhero cape you once wore is now threadbare from the borage of other people’s drama.
Today I had a lesson in procrastination. I had a small garage fire. I had been saying that I need to get a fire extinguisher. I need to put my fire alarms back up. I need to clean out my garage. I need to get my house in order — physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. There are things that I have been procrastinating about when it comes to dealing with other people’s nonsense. I need to clean house.
My sister once commented that I am always in the planning mode and not in the doing mode. She is right. I am a planner. I have to think things through, sometimes to my own detriment. Sometimes, I am just afraid to act, afraid to fail or afraid to be wrong. I now long want to live in a spirit of fear. For the first time in my 36 years, I want to live for me and consider my needs, wants and desires first. Because if I don’t, who will?
I grew up believing that this attitude is selfish and un-Christ-like. We often think of Christ as a meek little lamb who preached turning the other cheek. We often forget that he also didn’t tolerate nonsense. If you don’t believe me, read how he “set it off” at the temple when he saw the moneychangers desecrating holy ground. Well, enough meek and mild. It is time I set it off.
To my friends out there, who like me, have been tolerating other people’s nonsense; when you have finally had enough, take a stand in your own lives. I am not advocating changing who you are. Nor am I advocating abandoning a giving spirit. I am advocating self love. We all need to treat ourselves better.
The reason I wrote this is because I know there are others out there who are just like me — chronic enablers or complete pushovers who are trying to help others who aren’t helping themselves. Well ladies and gentlemen, it is time to stop. We have been doing more harm than good. Although we all should give a helping hand, we should not allow others to grow dependant on it.