Be and Let Be
Updated: Aug 10, 2020
A friend of mine recently helped me with an issue I was struggling with. I was telling him about how I know I should not take things people say, bad or good, personally. I do know that and I am intent I will get to the point where the thoughts and actions of others no longer bothers me. But, habitually speaking, being a lifelong people pleaser has conditioned me to rise and fall like the tide when it comes to the comments of others.
Anyway, my friend offered me a different lens to look through that may have allowed me to surrender my imagination towards the cares of other people. He said, “Tim, when you evaluate someone moving, what you see is not about you, it’s about what is happening in them. The same is true when you listen to what someone is saying. What you hear is not about you, it’s about what is happening in them.” BOOM. If he had a mic, he could have dropped it and left the room. With that one explanation he helped me surrender something I’ve been wanting to let go of for a lifetime.
See, in my head, I know better than to take what someone says personal. I’ve read enough enlightened books and listened to enough sermons to know that I should not take anything personally.. But there is a gap, a disconnect, between the knowledge that I keep in my head and the experience I have been able to live out. Paul of Tarsus, may have said it best, “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.”
Anyway, my friend's words created an interruption in my default way of thinking and understanding. I am able to watch someone move and simply see what their body is telling me about themselves. Their body is expressing it’s story to me. Therefore, when I listen to someone or read someone’s words I should be able to simply see what their body, their words, their mind is telling me about themselves. It’s about them, telling their story. YES, this is it! This is what I needed to hear to create an interruption in my default way of interpretation.
But wait, I’m going to flip the script for a second and fall under the exposing glass. If I interpret things from others to be personal, that is about me. My experience of “taking things to heart” would be my story about what is happening in me. This gets complicated. I am free to allow others to express themselves from whatever is happening in them, at least that is the aim. But I also must learn to be free to allow myself to express and “work out,” or let go of whatever is happening in me to truly be free from all stories being expressed.
My friend is right. Whatever someone does or says is about what is happening in them. Therefore, whatever I experience, however I interpret the experience, is about what is happening in me. We are that from which we see. Our lens, how we see the world is what tents our perceptions and experiences. We write our stories from the lens we see through. The only way I can truly be free from the thoughts of others is to be free from the thoughts of myself. If I can’t allow myself grace to simply be, how can I ever allow someone else the freedom to express their story without my interpretation of it?
What a mess, right? “Yes, Tim, you’ve really lost it…” I know but hear me out. Nothing is personal. Not what someone else does, not what you do. But the only chance to really having the freedom to enjoy this life to the fullest is to give yourself space and let go of all the un-good stories you are playing inside your heart. If there is no pain inside of us, there is no wound for others to accidentally trip over when they interact with us. If there is no fear in me, there is never any insecurity, no thing, to take personally when witnessing the story of someone else. If I see through a tinted lens, all I have to do is remove the tent so that I can clearly see. Then the expressions of another can be clearly seen as their story through their tinted lens as well. It’s not personal. It’s just a tented story.
How do we remove the tint from our lens? We let go of our wounds. We forgive ourselves for having them. We forgive the ones that we thought gave them to us. They didn’t mean to, it wasn’t personal. They were expressing through their tint. And, we have to forgive ourselves for casting our tint on others. All the people we’ve hurt, we didn’t mean to. It wasn’t personal. It was only the tint we were looking through. We just need to forgive and let go. It may take a while, or many attempts, but with enough effort, we can rub the tint free from our lens and we can learn to be and let be.