Tropical storm Florence is on its way and my parents who live on the coast of South Carolina have put their sacred belonging in the dishwasher (per Weather.com suggestions) and temporarily relocated to my sister’s house. The pending destruction, as we wait in anticipation of the the storm’s eye making landfall, is bizarre in nature because most natural disasters are without warning. But thanks to likes of satellites and computer modulations, hurricanes are somewhat predictable. That doesn’t mean we can effectively mitigate all damage, but we can at least take action to minimize it.
Doing what we can today is a paramount part of preparing for what’s to come. I wish this message could reach some of my parents’ friends who are holed up in their houses, refusing to leave out of ignorance, stubbornness, or just plain laziness.
But that’s just it. We can’t control others. We can (and have) plead our case, but we can’t make them leave despite the certainty of chaos. Just as we can’t make them act, or think, or feel, the way we may prefer.
It is not in our power to control others. Our only option is to control our own response, preferably with clear intention, perhaps after needed deliberation.
This lesson has taken me years to learn. As my mom, sister, and husband can attest, I used to have a need to control things. What’s worse is that I had an insatiable need to be right. What I now understand and appreciate is that my need to be right was really masking my need for self-importance. I overly-invested in arguments because inwardly I was uncertain and insecure. I needed to be right, overly-defending my position because I took personal offense (again a sign of self-importance) to someone else having the ignorance (or was it audacity) to think differently.
We know who these people are in our lives. The ones who argue and defend well past the point of a healthy debate. And having been there (or maybe you just always knew), we can meet these people with authentic compassion because we understand the true origin of their ire, their displaced, deep-seated distrust in themselves. They are still finding their personal path to love and acceptance of themselves. Because how can we truly love others and embrace them with patience and compassion, if we don’t first have that same love for ourselves.
We have to put the life-saving face-mask on ourselves first. Airlines get it. When things go wrong, when we have disagreements or just differing opinions, it’s in those tumultuous times that we need to remember to exercise compassion and grace – self-love as opposed to self-posturing.
Listen, I still want to show up with an SUV and pile in the people who are playing cards in their coastal Carolina homes like it’s just another rainy day. But this is their choice.
Our job as evolved, conscious-thinkers is to not to control those who disagree, but to allow the disagreement to help us connect. So parents’ friends, please stay safe so we can again connect…and perhaps I can read you this blog post. LOL!!!
Sending prayers for safety and self-love to all.