Saturday, September 5, 2009

I Am Such a Hypocrite

Over the past couple of weeks, I've had the opportunity to respond to reactions that people have had to different things that I'd written in my blogs. It's something that I love to do; if people disagree with what I've said or if they agree with what I've said, I really want to hear about it. Unfortunately, although I'd posted less than flattering photos of both George Bush and Al Gore, they apparently hadn't taken notice. So, the reactions came from elsewhere.

The crazy thing is that one of the people who had responded quite seriously with apparent concern and consternation about what I'd written, hadn't actually responded himself. Rather than bringing it to me or even posting a comment, he'd hidden behind others asking people I'd referenced in one of my blogs to write me and challenge my assertions.

Now, even more crazily (out of respect for the first person, whom I am now, contrary to my normal MO, not naming), I responded quickly to the responses of the people who had responded at the behest of him, the person who didn't want to respond himself. (I told you this whole thing was crazy). Not only did I respond quickly, but I spent hours considering their assertions, thoughtfully crafting a response.

Now, one week later, I've yet to hear anything in response to my response. Apparently, what was at one moment critical is now, well, not critical. (BTW, with all my mixing of perfect, past perfect, past pluperfect and future perfect tenses, let alone all the anonymizing, if you're still hanging in here, I applaud you!)

Helping People Who Won't Help Themselves
OK, if you've got this far, you may be wondering what the heck I'm talking about. Here's the question, "how many people in your life are you supporting beyond the level that they're willing to support themselves?"

In other words, how many times have you loaned money to someone for the last time (repeatedly) even as they loitered about waiting for the "right" job?

How many times have you attentively listened to someone into the wee hours of the morning as they lamented the challenges of their current relationship (for the five hundredth time)?

How many times have you worked nights and weekends to accomplish an incredibly important task at the behest of someone who had departed for a long weekend down the shore or a European vacation?

How many times have you stayed late at a party to ensure that everyone (who seemed not so concerned about the matter) got home safely?

Maybe It's Just Me
As I'm writing this, I'm starting to think that maybe it's just me? Maybe other people don't do this kind of stuff? Or, maybe they do, but, so what?

Even if it is just me, I've come to a decision.
From now on and forever more, I'm not going to spend one iota of time helping someone who isn't willing to put at least as much effort as I am into helping themselves.
OK, I'm lying. I mean, I don't know that I'm lying yet, but I'm anticipating that my last declaration was more bravado than belief.

Patron Saint of Lost Causes
I've often been called the Patron Saint of Lost Causes, the last one standing in regard to an impossible belief. You might call it eternally hopeful which (if you read a recent and apparently controversial blog of mine) implies strong powers of denial.

I'm always willing to look at the positive potential in things even when it pales in comparison to everything else. So, I'm a bit conflicted with my current situation. Do I keep pulling for people who seem not to want to pull for themselves, or, who seem to consider my pulling for them to be challenging or antagonistic? Or, do I simply walk away, giving up on them and letting go?

Neither A nor B
As is often the case, I've created an unnecessary dichotomy for myself. In fact, I neither have to continue to pursue lost causes, nor write them off. I've decided that the best course of action is to simply pursue what I want, believing that it will all turn out for the best.

As I think about my experiences, it's oftentimes the people who most resist this course of action (i.e., just doing what I think is best) that come along later applauding it, and, the people who seem at first to be on board, that later denounce it.

Ultimately, I have no idea how they'll respond in the end. So, why try to anticipate it?

What About You?
How many things in your life are you holding off until you get everyone else on board? How many people are you pouring time and effort into at a level that surpasses their own? Are you holding yourself back in order to help others?

I'm reminded of the amazing poem by Marianne Williamson that was quoted by Nelson Mandella at his inauguration:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
Going forward, I'm not going wait any longer for people to get on board. Who am I not to shine? Who am I to wait for someone better to accomplish the task at hand? Who am I not to at least try to make something better?

What about you?

Happily and lovingly, Teflon...


  1. Teflon: a few comments in response, not apropos of anything particular. First off, many thanks for posting/blogging so enthusiastically. I love the left-brained feel of your posts, with the bulletproof logic and impeccable structure/linearity of progression. It's been intriguing also (to me) that you're into music, which (if not classical) can be very much a right-brained, free-flowing activity.

    Many topics you have addressed are areas around which I'd love to have further discussions, but somehow this blog format doesn't seem to permit leisurely explorations, as it moves on quite rapidly to the newest posts leaving even relatively recent ones behind. The only other blog in which I have participated used to show about 10-15 posts on the front page (title plus 1-2 opening sentences), and one could monitor from that top-level look which post was actively attracting comments. And while I love that the main bloggers are so prolific, the higher number of contributions lately means that posts get driven out of sight rather quickly. Wonder if that can be addressed here.

    Again, thanks to you and Iris for providing such a stimulating forum to discuss and ponder the issues that are the stuff of my life!

  2. Hi Sree!

    I love what you're suggesting here. Many folk have talked about wanting something new every day and it appears that, as we've increased the number of new blogs, our readership has increased quite signigicantly.

    Indeed, I'm having an amazing time writing. It feels really good, and I learn so much as I type.

    That said, I'd love to create a way for us to explore topics more extensively and with extended discourse among all who would choose to be involved.

    I'm not certain yet how to accomplish that in this format, but I know we can.

    I'll get on it!

    Sree, thank you for your thoughtful and clear comments and ideas.



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