How often do we overextend ourselves and try to "make things right" for everyone to the detriment of our own peace of mind, happiness, and sometimes safety?
Yesterday my dog Birdie and I were on our morning walk, going over our gratitude lists when we came across three large chunks of clear glass on the city sidewalk downtown. Of course I immediately stopped and began picking them up for fear of my Birdie girl getting hurt as well as our little canine friends in the neighborhood! Since Karma is a lot of how we react to things I certainly didn't want to step over that mess:)
It felt really good to take the time to clear away what might cause someone else harm...until I looked down the sidewalk a few feet. Overwhelm set in when I began to see MANY more small, medium, and large shards of glass, clearly too many to hold in my hand without the risk of a cut.
For a few moments, I defaulted to my familiar zone of making everything "right," sacrificing my own needs, and in this case the safety of my hands (!!!) in order to protect others.
But something in me stopped and thought, "Ok, this is crazy. I can choose something different... and by the way great content for tomorrow's Gem!"
The "choosing something different thought" was this:
"Hey, don't other dog owners have the responsibility of making sure their dogs don't walk on the broken glass? Why do I have to be the "sidewalk broken shards of glass savior" picking up every single piece!"
The light went off that this was indeed a metaphor for life.
So I considered the following...
Is it wise to continue picking up the "shards of glass" to the point where I risk my hands bleeding?
How can I negotiate this situation?
(At this point I am sure the neighbors were wondering what the heck I was doing...)
So I came up with a compromise... and grabbed as much as I could safely in one hand, held the leash in the other, and proceeded to sweep with my shoe the multitude of other shards into the flower bed praying that in the spring new soil would be poured over and no one would be hurt :)
Some of you may be reading this saying "OMG Meg... this is OVER THE TOP.... just walk over the dang glass!"
Or others might be thinking it was irresponsible of me to sweep them away.
Maybe both are true... but my hope is this little story sticks as a reminder to control what you can control, take 100% responsibility for you, and allow others (in a loving and supportive way) to take responsibility for what is theirs to take responsibility for.
P.S. If you are like me, it's easy to fall into the trap of taking over responsibility for someone else's "shards of glass" (aka "issues, problems, and drama")... and why is it easy? In a way it's an escape from the shards of glass, which need to be addressed in our own lives.
Isn't it easier to listen for hours to our friends’ issues rather than look within to our own?
Isn't it easier to give advice to a friend than to take it?
Isn't it tempting to dive into gossip as a numbing mechanism against our own "stuff?"
And isn't it so gratifying to come to the rescue of others while ignoring the deep need to come to the rescue of ourselves?
So the next time you come upon different "shards of glass,” stop and ask yourself:
How much "giving" right now is healthy?
Is there anything I am turning away from in my own life that makes their "stuff" so tempting?
Have a great weekend,