When Things Fall Apart

October 30th, 2015

Dear ________ (fill in the blank),

I want to start off by apologizing for all the times I judged or criticized the choices you've made, the person you are. For the times that you just wanted to be heard, not corrected or coursed. For the times you wanted to follow your heart, only to be confronted by questions and a game plan.

Extending the lens that I saw the world through, as the one you should use, too. I never intended to bring you down. It was the only way I understood how to be there for you.

Along with removing the cage that I put you in, I have to get real and remove the cage of expectations that I’ve created for myself. Somewhere along the way, I internalized what being there for you, meant. That I would provide guidance and have the answers. That I would endure battles, so you wouldn’t have to. That I would know life’s lessons, so I could teach them to you.

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, that isn’t how life works. I can’t solve your life’s problems and I don’t have a better grasp on life than anyone else. Admitting that to you is hard. I’m supposed to know better. It’s my job, isn’t it? Fear and confusion were not things I ever wanted you to see. What kind of person would I be if I didn’t have it all figured out?

It hurt to hear what you said and after taking it all in, I realized that this was all too familiar. I had heard it all before. Everything you said to me, I had already said to myself, repeatedly. Shame swallowed me whole and I shut down. I felt alone, exposed and deeply flawed. Filled with intense feelings of pain from failing to meet the unattainable expectations I set for myself.

I sat with it. Finally realizing that what connects me to you more than anything else, is that I’m just as scared about the unknown, about who I am and where I’m supposed to go, as you are.

So focused on having courage, my compassion toward you fell short. Immediately running to blame to deal with my feelings of powerlessness. Blaming myself and blaming you for underlining my weaknesses. I lost sight of the big picture and was solely interested in making you feel as bad as I felt.

A reminder of how valuable the practice of being there for others without judging them is. To try and see the world through the perspective of the person sharing, without trying to solve or redirect the conversation. Knowing the view of the world I see, is not the only view.

So, I want to thank you. Thank you for being my greatest teacher. It would be too easy to say this will change overnight, though I am setting intentions to practice compassion and empathy toward myself and others, as often as I can, when it’s needed most.

Today tested that. I needed compassion for myself and although I felt least-deserving, I knew that wasn’t true. The isolation I felt was only in my mind and this was the moment to decide how I wanted to show up in this world. I don’t have the answers. I don’t even think I’m close to finding them. I’m doing the best I can and I have to remind myself that that is good enough. That I am good enough. And that you are, too.

Love always,
    ________ (fill in the blank)