I don’t like confrontation. Never have. I’d rather keep things to myself than rock the boat.
But I also have this overdeveloped sense of responsibility where I think that I should be working on making other people feel better or helping them live their lives in ways that are outside my jurisdiction.
When combined, the tendency not to say what I know to be true while also feeling responsible for other people’s lives is tricky, at best.
I’m often left wondering if I should say something about what I see (which I really never want to do) so that I can help ease someone else’s pain, or if I should focus on keeping my own side of the sidewalk clean and let the people in my life be on their own journey.
So I return to the Serenity Prayer as often as I remember:
When I find myself wanting to change things I can’t, I return to this.
When I find myself wimping out about speaking up, I return to this.
And when I can’t figure out if I should say something or shut up, I return to this.
In this dance between feeling like it’s my job to fix other people’s lives while simultaneously avoiding difficult conversations whenever possible, I want to share a couple of wisdom nuggets I’ve gathered in case they’re also helpful to you.
That’s when I remind myself that other people’s lives are not my responsibility, and I instantly feel more relaxed.
When in doubt:
Keep your side of the sidewalk clean.
When you find yourself wanting someone else to change, see what you can change within yourself.
And remember always that the best way to help someone is to love them, right where they are.
Do you fall on the side of finding it hard to keep things to yourself or finding it hard to speak up? How do you determine when to say something and when to keep it to yourself? Which of the 5 wisdom nuggets resonates with you the most? Tell me in the comments!
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