There is a person in my life who is very special to me. We have had conversations in the past about wanting to help other people. One of the conversations we had some time ago was about him trying to influence some of his friends to make some changes in their lives. However, he was doing the very thing he wished others would change in themselves.
We talked about being an example. He told me more than once he wanted to make the changes. We talked about what it would do for them to see him make the changes. What an example that would be for them.
Something I love about the relationship I have with this particular friend is that when we have these type of talks … he listens. He does not get defensive, he intently listens and we discuss it. He’s open to different points of view. It may take a while for him to process the new ideas and actually begin to act upon them as it does for a lot of us. I’m no different.
For a lot of people it is a process. We first must be open to the ideas that there may be other ways of doing things than what we are used to. What has been a safe pattern for us to follow in our lives.
Once we become aware of new concepts, new ways of thinking, new ways of doing, we can begin to look at whether the way we are thinking or doing is the best way for us.
Then we can begin to let go of some beliefs we may have had and begin to entertain change.
When other people in our lives see the changes we make. In my experience one of two things happen. They begin to make changes or either we or they decide consciously or sometimes unconsciously that we no longer resonate the same and we drift apart. They no longer become part of our circle. Sometimes it is very subtle, no conflict and other times there can be a lot of conflict.
What we have to keep in mind is that when there is a drifting apart, the other person is not ready to make the changes. They need more time. We can hold them in a space of loving them where they are.
I did exactly this with this friend. I know there are others who criticized him and were very negative, trying to convince me as well that he was not worth my love and my time. I knew better in my heart!
The other day, my friend called me and we had another conversation. He told me that he realized, he needed to put the oxygen mask on himself before he could put it on others. He told me he realized he had to let go of some friends in order to make the changes he wished he had made a long time ago. He also told me he was becoming more responsible and jokingly said it was my fault. When I asked him how it was my fault, he told me that I made him look at things and with my kindness it allowed him to do that. He had recently told me that I helped him believe in humanity again.
In truth, all I did was be me. Share when he was ready to listen. Encourage when he was having a difficult time. Reminded him I believed in him. Love him exactly where he was. And never, was I accusative, belittling or cynical. Then I just had to step back and be patient.
I also prayed for him regularly. I asked for miracles in his life. I feel like those miracles are unfolding before my eyes. I can also tell you … that he holds the same space for me. He helps me see what I need to see sometimes and I feel his love for me. So we teach each other by example.
Yes, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi