Monday, November 19, 2012

A Dish of Humble Pie

This past weekend I was served up an enormous dish of humble pie! With a crow or two thrown in for good measure.

I have a superiority complex. I admit that. I tend to think that I’ve got it all figured out and that the way I figure it is the right way. The very real thought that people should be like me and think like me occurs more often than a clock ticks. If only I ruled the world!

Thank goodness they don’t! Thank goodness I don’t!

As I sat choking on the feathers in my humble-crow casserole yesterday, looking up at that lofty place I thought that I had a right to think I belonged and feeling every bruise from every peg I’d just been knocked down from, I felt deeply ashamed of myself. My life flashed before my eyes and I saw myself in a whole new light. It wasn’t very flattering.

A couple of days ago I posted about a young kid with some serious issues and what I thought should be happening for him. While discussing the situation with someone very near and dear to me, it was pointed out that I have no right to decide what he needs. It’s not my place to impose my opinion on him. Wanting to help and deciding what kind of help is required is not helping at all. In fact, it is counter productive and likely more harmful than helpful. Who am I to judge? And who am I to criticize?

When I realized that I was doing the very same thing that I hate having done to me, I was shocked and dismayed by the duplicity I was practising. I get my back up pretty quick when someone interferes in my life and tries to impose what they think is best for me upon my being. And here I was, doing the same thing to someone else. Here I was being incensed by a perceived injustice and disgusted by an assumed lack of accountability and stomping my feet and demanding that the whole world fall neatly and precisely into the mold I created for it and getting nowhere, because there was nowhere to go.

I was told that caring is enough. I’m still struggling with that. What is intention without action? Then again, what was my true intention? Was it really to help? Or was it something else? I’m a little afraid to poke around in that dark corner. Not sure I want to meet the psychic beasties that are surely lurking there.

The thing is that this whole notion of helping has been a recurring theme in my life. I can’t count the number of times that I have literally exploded with rage when other people have tried to tell me what is best for me without asking me a) if I wanted help; or b) what kind of help I wanted. I’m not above accepting help from people; I just want them to give me the help that I need and not shove their own opinions down my throat. Neither can I count the times when I have done the same thing. I am quick to should all over people with the conviction of perfect knowing.

I want to make my own choices. I need to let other make theirs.

How different would my life be right now if I had not tried to change the people I love? What if I had merely accepted them for who they are and not gotten all wrapped up in my own emotional responses? What if I hadn’t created all the drama that I created by being so judgemental and critical? I’ll certainly never know. There are no do-overs. (Are there?)

What’s done is done and what will be, will be.

Only now I can make different choices. Now I can stop and think before I act or react. (I can but try.)

Sometimes I think that I’m getting too old for this shit. Life lessons can be so exhausting! Sometimes I think that it would be so much easier to be a sheep and just follow along with a bunch of other sheep under the guidance of some benevolent and well-meaning shepherd. Not to think. Not to worry. Not to wonder. Not to question…

Oh, hell! We all know that ain’t gonna happen. Where’s the fun – where’s the challenge? – in that?

So my whole outlook on life just got turned upside down and shaken like a Bond martini. Now I get to rebuild my entire mental and spiritual belvedere. Again!

It has long been the bane of my existence to understand all of this stuff only intellectually. I get it. Be kind. Do unto others as I would have them do unto me. Harm none. Be mindful. Blah, blah, blah…

But it hasn’t penetrated beyond erudition and philosophic reflection. It’s all academic. The question now it: How do I make it Holistic? Am I doomed to be a ponderer and not a practitioner? The karmic implications, striped like a tiger on the prowl, are ready to pounce with teeth bared and claws out to burst the next idyllic little bubble I am prone to ensconce myself in.

Someone posted this quote on Facebook today: “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.” —Benjamin Franklin

Oh, what a fool am I? (That’s a rhetorical question – no need to reply!)

Far from feeling sorry for myself, I feel quite grateful. I admire and appreciate the honesty – brutal as it may have been – of the person who made me see the light. I wish more people were like that. I wish I was like that.

I was also told that when I make a choice, I need to ask myself if it lifts me up of pulls me down. If it’s uplifting, go with it. If it’s not, make a different choice. In hindsight, my choice last week did not lift me up. At all. In fact, it made me feel kind of yucky. I did it anyway.

Okay, lessons learned: 1) make sure that assistance is wanted - don’t assume I know what’s best for someone else; 2) it’s okay to question – it’s not okay to fill in the blanks without gathering all the information; and 3) my choices really do have consequences – a bit of reflection can avert disaster.

Now where’s that circular saw? I think it’s time to channel my energy into something productive and creative.


  1. for thought. But, isn't it still possible that the CHILD (who presumably still needs the guidance and protection of adults) should be helped somehow? Problem being, even if he NEEDS help, doesn't mean that under the 'law' anybody can give him help. If he's not willing or able to ask for help, and the adults in his life aren't willing to step in and make sure he gets what he needs.....

  2. Oh, and, I can't believe that your teenagers didn't knock the pride right out of you!!!! Mine sure did!!!

  3. Live and learn. We still love you and you have a good heart. Remember that.

    1. Aw. Thank you, Simon. You're so very sweet.


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