Friday Freedom

FREEDOM is the ability to RESPOND to any situation by looking at it antithetically.. If your natural REACTION to a situation is one way, try stepping back and thinking about it in exactly the opposite way. For example, my last post about “helping others help themselves” – that is, knowing first that the person who wants help and IS helping himself or herself in some way is the person you “should” be helping is NOT my “natural reaction” to this kind of situation. I think we are “trained” either to help others or not help others (the determination of whether to help or not depends greatly on one’s social conditioning as well as the beliefs we might have formed for ourselves) – and the people we see who are the most desperate and NEEDING of help are often those who are not ready to “receive it” insofar as they can take the assistance, but will come crawling back time and again because they have not learned they need to DO something with that help in order to get out of whatever situation they are in that has required them to need that kind of “help.” My natural “reaction” would be just to help someone – as an “empath,” if I know someone is suffering, I FEEL THAT SUFFERING and I just want to help them and make the pain go away. HOWEVER, if I step back and examine the situation and see that the person is not really doing anything to improve his or her situation on his or her own in addition to seeking help, I realize that I am only ENABLING further suffering; I am wasting my time and energy – precious resources for those of us with chronic illness – and I am actually NOT helping these sorts of people when I think I AM HELPING. It is only by stepping back and seeing the whole situation for what it is that you can determine the “proper” course of action. In this case, although you just want to leap in and be the hero and make the pain disappear, if a person is not ready to help himself or herself or to pull himself or herself up and out of the desperation he or she is in, one (I) must RESPOND by being kind but keeping a “safe” distance. It is very much like enabling an alcoholic or an addict – it is a very fine line between “helping” and “enabling.”

Perhaps you are dealing with being bullied or dealing with the loss of friends. Rather than reacting as one naturally would with feelings of hatred toward the others, feelings of humiliation and anger and depression, try to look at things from the “other’s” perspective (intentional insinuation there!). Think about what the bully must be going through at home with his or her parents in order to perpetuate that kind of behavior; think about how poorly that person must feel about himself or herself in order to have to bring you down in order to raise himself or herself “up;” the same goes with the loss of friends. Think about how these “friends” have stolen enough of YOUR time and energy and how it is sad for THEM that they have lost the incredible person YOU ARE.

So today, my “Friday Freedom” is found in utilizing this process when you find yourself REACTING to something (usually something highly emotional like feeling like you NEED to help someone in trouble – that you are a “bad person” if you don’t do it, &c.) rather than responding in a well thought-out way. Think of this example if you find this to be a challenging “activity;” that is, realizing that sometimes helping people who seem to need help the most is actually HURTING them (and hurting you!). Step back and look at things in the opposite light – even if you don’t find the “answer” you were / are looking for by doing this, you have gained an incredible amount of knowledge just in being able to see things from a different perspective and to understand that all people do not “react” or “respond” to things in the ways you do. Think of things from the beginning in this way – turn the “I am helping this person” to “I am actually hurting this person by ENABLING this person” and use that as the “gateway” thought to throw you into this “process.”

*NOTE: ANOTHER BENEFIT OF THIS PROCESS IS THAT IT DOES HELP THE OTHER PERSON OR PEOPLE INVOLVED TO “OPEN UP” IN WAYS THEY WOULD NOT IF THEY WERE SIMPLY GIVEN THE “SAME THINGS,” OR “REACTED TO” IN THE SAME WAY. THERE HAVE BEEN NUMEROUS STUDIES IN WHICH PEOPLE WITH OFTEN FANATICAL BELIEF SYSTEMS ONLY BECOME FURTHER ENTRENCHED WITHIN THESE SEEMINGLY “FOOLISH” IDEAS IF THEY ARE CHALLENGED ABOUT THEIR BELIEFS. PERHAPS IT IS JUST AN INTERESTING QUIRK OF HUMAN PSYCHOLOGY, BUT RESPONDING IN A WAY THIS PERSON OR THESE PEOPLE IS / ARE NOT EXPECTING HELPS BRIDGE THE DIVIDE BETWEEN RADICALLY DIFFERENT IDEOLOGIES AND “BELIEF SYSTEMS” AS WELL.*

Thank you for taking the time to read this post! I hope you are all having a happy and healthy Friday or beginning of the weekend and MY HEART IS ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS with YOU….

❤ Always, Beth

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