Lessons (re)learned

Looking at an old blog post rung a mental bell, because I had a conversation with someone this week about my independence. My friend said: “Being independent is OK, but someone having your back when you need it can be a good thing.” I tried to teach myself this lesson years ago. I wrote about it in a blog post I published in early 2006 …

Lesson 3: Asking for help is OK. People care.

… but, other than my immediate family, I’m not good or comfortable asking for help or relying on others to help me.

And here’s why: What if the person I finally allow myself to depend on for help is the same person who I know is unreliable based on the things they have told me about themselves?!

And that leads me right into my next lesson: How many times do I have to write about my experiences about believing what people tell me about themselves?! Probably the same number of people I ever meet.

From the the aforementioned 2006 blog post …

Lesson 1: When someone tells you something about themselves, believe them. For example, that guy you’re dating who says he doesn’t believe in marriage? Will never marry you. That coworker who tells you she’s crazy? Is crazy. Listen to what people tell you about themselves.

… although I have handwritten journal entries chastising myself over this topic that go back to, I don’t know, probably the fifth grade. But I only realize that now — thanks to 20/20 hindsight, the wisdom gained from being 30-smrpherly years old, a couple of psychology courses, and clocking some time with my own therapists. Now I can see that I’ve been struggling with the same couple of issues my whole life.

One of the many books I’ve read about forgiveness made the argument for acceptance. The author suggested that as a mental exercise, you pretend that before you were born your spirit and whoever else’s spirit agreed to be born on earth and share your conflict. It’s a tough concept to swallow, but when I was going through a particularly challenging conflict with a person, walking through that exercise turned my thinking up-side down! It forced me to drop my guard and take responsibility for my part in the conflict.

Forgiving someone else is really giving myself the gift of freedom. In conflict, no matter how justified I feel or right I know I am, the only way to get it sorted is to take responsibility for myself. And frankly, that’s probably true about so many things in life.

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