“You cannot save everyone, Some people are going to destroy themselves no matter how much you try to help them”.
This was a quote floating around on Facebook. It resonated with me, as I had witnessed time and again, people I loved very much, completely destroy themselves. It had been painful to watch and it broke my heart to see those I cared for, do things that were so obviously contrary to their own well being. And I am sure, those who loved me thought the same, as they stood by and watched me make my mistakes. I was not very good at listening to anyone. In fact, the more forceful someone was in what they were telling me, the more likelihood that I would not listen. (I can see that now :))
There were also numerous times, that I had tried very hard to help others, to talk to them, to change their minds. For the life of me, I could not comprehend why they would not listen! It had brought along with it, great frustration and confusion … This trend was of much greater force towards those I loved the most in my life. The more I loved them, the more I wanted to “help” them and the more frustrated and exhausted I felt at them not listening.
It took some very hard lessons to finally understand the truth of the matter. At one point, I spent so much energy trying to help someone else, that I forgot that the most important person I needed to help first, was myself. To really love another you have to first learn Self-love
. I was depleted, and barely able to function normally. The lesson to be learnt was a hard one. The Ego was very good at covering my efforts as “the rightful thing” to do. But a very gentle unfolding of the truth, exposed the fallacy of it all. It finally dawned on me that my efforts to help, were in fact really disguised efforts to Control. In one way or the other, I wanted to decide for those that I “loved”, what was in their best interest or how they should live their life.
As I grew, both in consciousness
and understanding, I grasped that this was one of the worst things I could do. It was in no way, a compassionate act – rather a very twisted effort of the Ego to feel superior than others or feel in Control.
Most often, Control is disguised as Love. We have all heard this before – “I only tell you/ punish you/ stop you / because I love you”. This subtle but perverted form of love often manifests in some of our most important relationships such as Parent-Child and Husband-Wife relationships. In its extreme perverted form, it exists in Cults and other Abusive relationships, where the victim is constantly told by the Leader (abuser) how the teaching (suffering) is for their own good, leading them to greater and greater dependency. As parents and partners, we have to tow this line with special care and discernment. At what point does our love for someone turn into Control?
Free will was granted to all of us, including the free will to destroy our own life. Letting go of the attachment to those we love, is the key to letting go of Control. When we let go of control, is only when we start understanding Unconditional Love. Free Will is our greatest treasure, but can also be our greatest weakness. This is key to understanding and letting go. Sometimes those we love, will not exercise their Freedom in the way we would expect of them but that is their choice, not ours. Free Will comes with great Responsibility but it is for each of us to learn that for ourselves.
Great maturity is required to differentiate the subtle parameters that separate control from love. Allowing each individual that you love, to live and choose their own life and learn from their own experiences takes courage and a deep understanding of what unconditional love, really is.
This does not mean, that one should never offer help. Help or guidance which comes from a space of love is very unlike the type that comes from Control. This help never seeks to impose incessant influence, and always remembers, that the the other person is in no way obliged to listen. It is expectation free help.
Each person is the master of his or her own ship and must make their own choices and learn from them. Like a child, who will only learn that Fire is dangerous, after they have either felt the heat of the flame or burnt themselves, so every human being will only learn from his or her own experiences.
Grant everyone you love, the freedom to live their life so you can be truly free to live yours.