“In love the soul feels indomitable freedom.” – Beatrice di Nazareth (n.292)

You know how you observe others’ situations and wonder how they deal with their circumstances (whether voluntary or involuntary), and then you think to yourself how that could/would never be you. For whatever reason you think you’re more responsible, you’re smarter, you know your worth, you’re more this, or you’re more that. That was me once upon a time. Until I was faced with the reality of a situation of my own. And I think back to friends who found themselves in this very same type of situation years ago and the advice I would give them. I have some people in my life giving me the same advice, but it isn’t being received. I am convinced without doubt that the circumstances of my situation are deeper than anyone understands otherwise their advice would resonate, or perhaps it would sound different. And it’s funny that I thought it could never be me, yet almost three years later, it is.

This is a very humbling experience because I’m learning so much about myself including how judgmental I can be even when I don’t fully understand someone else’s plight. And it makes me rethink being so blunt with friends in otherwise vulnerable states during their journey. I thought that if I wasn’t being honest all the time about how I felt about their situation, that I wasn’t being true to myself. Unfortunately, that’s because I made their situation about me and that was not the right way to approach it. Grant it, our advice largely stems from lessons learned in our personal experiences. However when sharing with others, it’s important to remember their journey is different than our own so our delivery should be considerate of this fact.

No matter the outcome of any given situation (and whether or not we called it from the beginning), we are all figuring this life thing out together, separately. We all deal with our own set of highs and lows, and if someone chooses to include us in the intimate details of their life that means they trust us. It takes skill to know how to be honest with your friends and still respectful of them and their choices. No one appreciates a haughty person who believes they do no wrong, or that the wrongs they’ve done are somehow not as bad as yours.

As we strive to love people and be accepting of them as they are, something to keep in mind is that people’s choices should not frustrate us or lead us to be overly critical of them. That is indicative of our desire to control them or for them to do what we think is right. Or it could even reveal that we aren’t happy with one or more aspects of our own lives. Either way, the well known idiom never say never applies. You could wake up tomorrow and find yourself in a situation you never thought you would be in, and the very people able to help you through will be those you judged and criticized in similar situations. Take it from me, it helps having those people around because they’ll know how to speak directly to you. They’ll understand that the process is different for everyone.

I challenge us all to consider that maybe life is bigger than us. And maybe, just maybe it’s not about us as individuals, but as a human race. In a world where we can be anything, let’s be balanced and aware of our humanity.