This is an open letter to the leaders in my life who have taught me lessons I could never have learned any other way. There are several, and I continue to be open to learning, so I’m certain there will be many more.
Dear person in my life who has been my biggest lesson (for now):
I know you believe you are doing what’s best for you and, consequently, feeling that you are doing the same for me. And I respect you so much for believing so strongly in your way of seeing the world that you are worried for my safety and my future. I love that you are so certain of your position and your worldview, I really do.
But speaking as someone who always thought she wanted to be a part of your inner circle and never feeling like she made the grade in your eyes, I just want you to know that for as long as I wished you would just see me and appreciate me as I am, I also realize now that I was doing the same thing to you: wishing you would become someone who could do that.
What I’m learning through this awareness is that your way of doing life is perfect for you and for others who see the world that way. For me, my way is equally valuable and effective for me and for others who feel more authentic in a slightly different perspective. What I’m learning (and continue to learn all the time) is that when I stopped trying to get you to see me, to accept me, to value me, just as I am, not as I (hopefully, in your eyes) will someday be, I allowed others in my own circle to stop trying to live up to my expectations of them.
I see others as they are today, right now, in their current capacity, not only in their someday potential. I notice when I start to get attached to how I think they should be, or how I hope they will wake up to want to be. It’s not my journey, it’s theirs. My journey is how I will adjust to theirs.
And the most amazing thing happens when I give up that attachment: I unconsciously give them permission to do that same thing for themselves. I am learning the huge distinction between helping and supporting, and in my own discerning, am seeing when to hold which space. In fact, I’m learning even more how to hold blank and open space without any expectations or attachments.
In some cases I hold the vision, and articulate the vision, but my need to transfer the vision is about me, not about them. If they can catch the vision and articulate it for themselves, then we have a way to get to the destination from a different path and we’ve both grown because of it.
So thank you for being who you are for me and to me. You allow me to grow in my own way because I become more clear about what my own way is. And I work every day to support others in their own learning as well. It may not be as fast or as clear as the way you see the world, but for me, the messiness is part of the adventure.
And, consequently, today’s message on my perpetual Tao de Ching calendar is this:
March 1: With the greatest leader above them, people barely know one exists.
With immense gratitude,