I received an insightful compliment from my youngest son the other day.
He told me he appreciates how I play the ‘devil’s advocate.’
I asked what he meant, and he said that even when he’s upset about someone or a situation, I remind him to see things from the other person’s perspective, to practice compassion and understanding, and to remember what they are going through, and that there is always two sides.
This encounter got me thinking.
Despite circumstances, I don’t turn someone into the enemy or ‘all bad.’ I am not wired to do so. This way of being is not logical to me, nor a life practice I choose to carry, while I walk this earth. As tempting as it might be to take sides, my soul resonates with looking beyond division.
I am thankful to be setting examples for my three sons– my former husband and I remain good friends, despite the past, a partner I am no longer with . . . I still express that I care about him and will truly always care, despite some less than healthy past circumstances.
I don’t believe in creating the good guy and the ‘bad guy’ — or turning one person into a monster. I don’t believe in pushing someone down, in order to lift myself up.
This doesn’t mean I am perfect. It means I am aware and use discernment of self. In example, with a current situation, in which I find myself venting a lot to friends about a particular person, I am recognizing a need to curb my speech. I am recognizing I have crossed a line. I am stepping back, catching myself, and examining my behaviors, without shame or self-punishment, with the self-admittance that I need to rein my bitter frustration in.
It’s a skill to be able to step back and call out an action of self of needing change or refinement without self-shaming. This action also involves a sense of humility–to be aware that I am far from an ideal human being and am a continual work in progress.
I often wonder if the inability for some to step back and look at their own behaviors is not perhaps a result of the inability to accept they are not entirely perfect or wholesome– the incapacity at the time to embrace their shadow side, and know that they are perfect in their imperfections. Perhaps it is the inability to realize we are no more than a collection of our perceptions on this earth– the need to hold on to a fragile sense of self, that in essence does not exist.
I think of the sociopaths and narcissists, the angry and bitter people, the manipulative and vindictive souls, the ones that think their way of believing or approach is the only way, that stinging attachment and need to be right, and the ones that push their politics or religion, even the need to claim something so adamantly as ‘theirs.’ There are the oppressors, the bullies, those that willfully divide, those that willfully conquer, and I remember, from a deep, collective knowing, that they are that way for a reason — whether a singular, or combination of, neurology, lack of nurture, trauma, spiritual oppression, etc.
In a sense, they cannot help it anymore than I can help who I am. And whose to say they have the tools or resources to be any other way?
So, I’ve been wronged — cheated, lied to, betrayed, bullied, raped, molested, called out, looked over, abandoned, left, pained. And I have been … What is it about that which would make me think I am deserved of justice or retribution?
The world is full of imperfect people, and I am one of them. And those imperfect people sometimes birth or raise further imperfection. Life is not a guarantee of easy. Life is not meant to be the road to happiness. Life is suffering. Life is picking yourself up and being that which is your highest ideal. Life is loving, despite the transgressions.
There is a time to focus on the hurts and horrors. There is a time to advocate for injustice and wrong doings. There is a time to even shout MONSTER. Yet, there is also a time to let go and move on, in order that one can become a light, and not an anchor pulling others into darkness.
And even so, the darkness can be our teacher, too. In that there is truth.
I continually pray for humility and continually disrobe the inner judge and jury. I whole-heartedly call out who is less than . . . within my own self.
What if we all called out our selves instead of our neighbor?
In the scheme of things, there is no fine line that separates good and evil. We can state there is good and evil, but cannot point out the molecular point on the spectrum that makes one entirely one or the other.
Indeed there is horror, wrong doings, moral injustice, violence, and the like in this world. Of course there is.
However it is not my role in this life to determine nor announce to the world WHO I think is good or bad.
I am not all-knowing. I am no better judge than you.
I set my own boundaries based on my sense of my own well being. I sometimes gently warn others of danger, without intention of gossip or division.
But I cannot and will not presume I have the answers and that I am somehow better than someone else.
I just am. They just are. We just are.
And in this I find great peace.
(After note: Please do seek out support and help if you think you are being preyed upon or hurt in any way. Oftentimes individuals on the autism spectrum have deep compassion and are put in harms way because of their compassion and understanding. Protect yourself. Some individuals are dangerous.)