Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Who am I to blow against the wind?

Some people rely on your counsel so heavily that it is difficult to know when to walk away and let them save or ruin their own life as they see fit. Well, it isn't difficult to know. It isn't difficult to see that the situation has almost certainly reached the point when you shouldn't attempt to do more. It isn't even that difficult to do, to keep silent, even avoid contact. Only, it's difficult to surrender your sense of responsibility.

And it is very easy to be selfish, thinking that you're being altruistic. It is easy for me to be selfish, to be sentimental, even dictatorial, fooling myself that I am doing good. Because naturally, I think I know better than anyone else. I think I know what the people I love want, what the people I love need and the difference between the two. But I may be wrong and even if I'm not, it's not my place.

Yet among my hidden talents, I know which strings require a gentle tug, I know the most tender points upon which to apply pressure, I know how to steer a person in a given direction and think it was their idea. With some people, of course, not everyone. The same applies to all bullies, of course; even the greatest tyrants can only win a relatively small proportion of the population over, which is why they generally have to kill lots of people and keep the unpersuaded majority living in fear.

Only, I'm not a bully, because I have no stomach for it. I try not surround myself with people I can play, because I become responsible for them. You save a life and you become responsible for that life - that's bollocks, actually, it wouldn't be at all fair. However, it is something I feel if I have any power over a person at all. And deep down, I know that I don't know better than anyone else. I don't know what the people I love want, or what the people I want need or the difference between the two. And choosing not to intervene is an act with consequences.

Allowing a person save or ruin their own life as they see fit makes me at least partly responsible for an outcome I don't have any control over. Which sits very heavily on my shoulders.


Mary said...

I don't know what you're talking about but I get the impression there's something weighing heavily on your mind, so (((hugs))).

Damned if you do and damned if you don't?

Anonymous said...

No, honestly. You do need to let others take responsibility for their own lives, even if their decisions seem questionable. There's only so much you can do, then you just have to step away.

The Goldfish said...

Thank you both. The crisis, which I can't write about here, actually seems to have passed to for now. But I need to... I do need to work out what I can and cannot help, how far I ought to go when it comes to helping those I care about.

Still, shoulders a little lighter this evening. :-)

Sally said...

Working it out here creates a space in the wider consciousness for others to work theirs out there, whatever it may be.

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean on your post. I use to feel in the same way, but one day an old woman told me, the point is to learn to say "NO".

When you are such a good person, it is important to learn to say No, to the right person and in the right moment. We have not the responsibility to take over our shoulders the problems of the world.

You should also remind yourself that we only have one responsibility... Our lives!