Sunday, February 11, 2018

Emotions, Fault, Responsibility

Dear Mother,

I know we don't always see eye to eye, but in spite of what you may think, I am concerned for your well-being. Your relationships with your sisters have never been ideal, but its grown so toxic in the past few years and that affects me deeply. I suspect you've always been envious of my bonds with them, probably because it was something you never had with them...or me. I'm sorry we weren't more like the Gilmore Girls with their insane closeness and trust, and I'm sorry that we were EXACTLY like the Gilmore Girls in regard to neurotic behavior and extended family dynamics (neither of which I was actually responsible for, but it was unfortunate, nonetheless). I have always been at the center of the storm that we call family. I don't think you meant to put me there, but I don't think you had the capacity to protect me from it, either. The thing about the middle is that its easier to see everybody from this perspective. I see the causal links between actions and reactions like a delicate spiderweb spread out before me. Most of our actions are, in fact, actually reactions to other people, but somehow our minds are too clouded to see it. So when a thing happens and if affects you and causes you pain, you may view it as an attack and internalize the idea of being a victim because of it. However, these things don't happen in a vacuum. Would you think that a kid was a victim in a fight if you learned he had publicly humiliated his aggressor beforehand? There is a context to every situation that needs to be considered. And in that example, even if the kid had done something to provoke another person, it doesn't make any of it alright; it does, however, illustrate the concept of "fault" versus "responsibility." Like Will Smith pointed out, they are not the same thing and we need to stop treating them as such. No matter whose fault something is, it doesn't determine how we react to it. We can be responsible for ourselves, no matter what anyone else has done to us or around us.

We are responsible for our own happiness. This may sound cliche but...it's true. I know that you struggle with this a lot, which is why I'm writing this down so that maybe someday I can share some of these words with you. I see how much pain you are in, and I see how your mind is holding you hostage in your pain. Let me share another truth with you: if someone hurts you and you decide to hold on to the anger, hate, and resentment that you feel, it doesn't actually affect that person AT ALL, but it DOES affect you. You are the one carrying it around inside, letting it weigh you down. In a perfect world, the person at fault would always take responsibility for fixing the problem, but we all know by now that life isn't fair. So why keep holding on to those negative feelings as if they will shoot across the night sky and hit the person, infecting them with some of your pain? Its not EVER going to happen; to believe otherwise is to delude yourself. 

Our feelings are not weapons to be used against other people; that's not how they work. They are tools, which can help us with our own internal journey of self-improvement.

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