An Obvious Secret
Updated: Aug 23, 2019
We cannot control others.
I know this is very obvious.
You're probably laughing at how obvious this is.
But listen. Listen carefully.
There is a part of us that wants very much to control the feelings and reactions of others.
We do that in subtle ways, whether or not we are even aware of it.
We do it by:
Giving compliments or gifts in the hopes of getting one back, or getting a "thank you"
Saying "sorry", or laying on a guilt trip, in the hopes of an apology of admittance of guilt
Sharing proclamations of love in the hopes of sparking love in that other person
Repeatedly reaching out to a person who does not reciprocate, with the expectation they will recognize the importance of your efforts and eventually do that, too
Expecting friendships and relationships to never change or evolve
Being open and honest with the assumption that it will make others want to be open and honest in return, and that they will appreciate that honesty
Acting kindly towards strangers and expecting them to be kind in response
Being very involved in your community, or church, or at work and expecting recognition
Sharing your art, music, gift, talent, skills and expecting others to embrace it
And so on.
When people don't react in the way that we expect them to, or want them to, we are the ones who become disappointed. We are the ones who suffer.
Ultimately everyone is in control of their own reactions and feelings.
Sometimes your advice, your good example, your actions, your wise words will have an influence on others.
Sometimes not until decades later and you will never know about it.
Sometimes your personality and charm will make people want to be around you.
Sometimes your sense of humour will make people laugh.
Sometimes the gift you give someone is exactly what they wanted and they appreciate it.
Sometimes someone will actually take your advice and be better off for it.
But we have to understand we don't have the power to change someone's mind, actions, emotions or reactions unless they give us that power.
We have to let go of the expectation that our very presence has an influence on someone else, and that we will immediately see the result that we want.
We can't make someone love us.
We can't make someone stop loving us.
We can't make someone stay.
We can't make someone leave.
We can't make someone be our friend.
We can't make someone be our enemy.
We can't make people change.
We can't make people stay the same.
Everyone, everyone, is on their own path, separate from our own.
Sometimes our paths intertwine and we walk together for a time.
But ultimately everyone will react, will act, will think, will feel as they choose.
Of course some people will blame their feelings, emotions and reactions on you.
But ultimately it is their choice.
We can and should take responsibility for words or actions that may have hurt others, but still how they react is on them. (This, of course, is all equally relevant in the reverse, as well).
I believe showing love means bringing the best of ourselves into the world; through actions and words, through a gift or skill we are sharing, through our everyday responses and reactions.
We simply must show love.
Regardless of the outcome.
Regardless of a reward.
Regardless of recognition.
Regardless of whether or not a promise was kept.
Regardless of whether or not we are shown forgiveness.
Regardless of whether or not we are shown kindness.
We simply must show love.
We must be love.
We must love.
Love means absolutely nothing if there are strings attached.
Because love doesn't have a price.
Let your love be for free.
Let your love be free.
Let your love free.