Letting people we love make their own mistakes is an art that I feel we all need to master. For those of us who give ourselves entirely when we care, we can sometimes unintentionally burden people with the level of care and affection that we shower them. It’s hard for them to understand why we just never back off but we only “nag” them because we care. Well I don’t feel that I nag but that’s they word that gets thrown left, right and centre when you keep on warning about the impending disaster.
How many times have I seen someone I love ten steps away from a move that will lead to disaster and panicked?
I have expressed my panic and received sticks in return.
Leave me alone … I know what I am doing … It’s my life, my rules, my mistakes!
These become the broken record they play to my listening ears. Yet when the disaster strikes the record changes to
Don’t say I told you so or why did you not stop me!
Should I have pushed harder despite their express declination or was I right to respect their feelings and let them do things their way? It’s such a hard balance but veering towards the latter means that you allow peace reign. You also show them respect and love by stepping back. This in turn gives them the chance to discover things by themselves.
This reminds me of an African saying.
I shall just translate it …
Don’t tell the child to stay away from flames because when they feel the heat or get burnt from it as a result of their curiosity, they will never play close to the table where the lamp sits.
Many people learn better from their mistakes and experiences while others like to add other people’s experiences to their learning pool. No matter how much you scream or honk at them, it feels like they chose to ignore the advice because it came from you. Being a familiar person tends to make you get taken for granted after all they say a prophet is hardly known in his hometown. What better age to live in than now when opinions abound. The internet is filled with chat rooms and fora of all sorts with people sharing and sometimes exaggerating their experiences for full effect. Many are also surrounded with family and friends who volunteer unsolicited advice. While that can be a pain, it can also be a treasure if you have the right level of discernment to help you sieve the chaff from the grain. Trust me discernment is a skill you acquire over time!
I have just escaped an interaction with a loved one on the verge of making what I think to be a costly mistake but their mind is made up on their preferred course of action. As usual, I have to swallow the bitter pill of respecting their decisions and taking the difficult step back. It takes a lot of courage to let sleeping dogs lie.
So tell me, have you found yourself in this situation before? What did you do about it?
Thanks for reading.
Photo credit: Pixabay
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