How many times have you found yourself fighting battles that weren’t yours? How many other people’s responsibilities have you made yours? How many times have you decided to take on your shoulders some weights that were not due to you and each time the weight was more and more?
You were hoping to help others, to do a favor, but in reality you did violence to yourself because those who saw you strong, strong enough to bear the weight that rested on others, confused you for an unshakable rock and did not believe you when you said “Enough!”, When you were collapsing, when you were falling apart.
Maybe it’s time for you to lay down your arms and let the other fight his battles alone.
To each his own battles
Each of us finds himself walking a path that is proper to him in life: he will have particular encounters, experiences, will face tests that will change him in a specific way; no path will be the same as another because each of us is unique. During this long journey, of an entire life, each of us will be called to develop his skills, his talents, not without proving his worth by fighting his own battles on the basis of the tools I will have developed along the way.
Each path is unique and is outlined according to the times, the rhythms of those who live them: we do not all experience the same phases in the same moments; that’s why we sometimes see someone reaping the fruit of their labor while we’re still fumbling with the spade. In that moment, it’s easy to lose control of your emotions and think that the great joy the other is experiencing is unfair and undeserved. The temptation to judge him, to pour all our frustration on him is strong and instead of continuing to work at a good pace to be able to reap the fruit of our work, we hurl our envy , our repressed anger, our feelings against him. our fears, pouring all our emotional junk onto him .
But what do we actually know about his path? Who tells us that what he is reaping now is just a stroke of luck and not the result of years of hard work, trials, failures, sometimes dashed hopes? On the other hand, it is likely that behind his success there are many steps invisible to our eyes that have brought him right there where he is at this very moment.
And we, while we are fighting the other, at what point are we on our path?
“BEFORE YOU CRITICIZE SOMEONE, WALK A MILE IN THEIR SHOES.”
(NATIVE AMERICAN PROVERB)
How to recognize when we are engaged in other people’s battles
There is an almost infallible clue that can help us understand if we are wasting time and energy in one of these useless battles : if we suffer when someone is happy, if their joy awakens in us a strange desire to see them fail or a great feeling of ‘injustice, it will be useful to become aware that the heaviness we feel inside us has nothing to do with the other, but with ourselves. It is our battle, not his.
It would be enough to broaden our gaze on the path of the other and recognize that everything he built before, brick by brick, with dedication, played an important role so that he could finally enjoy the fruit of his many labors, and recognize that what we try to throw at him against it does not concern him as it resonates with the echo of our impatience. We are simply undermining someone else’s peace, and ours, by a distorted perception of reality.
Similarly, if someone provokes us when we reach an important milestone , trying to diminish the value of all our important work or make us feel undeserving, it will be good not to accept the provocation : we would risk weighing ourselves down the path, fighting a battle that is not ours and which would take away the possibility of continuing to move forward on our path. Let everyone walk on their own path and remember that the battle that the other wants to carry on does not concern us.
We have the power to choose peace
The funny thing about life is that it often pushes us to find ourselves on both sides of the path: sometimes we find ourselves on the side of those who suffer, other times on the side of those who throw the first stone.
This alternation of position helps us to understand a fundamental thing: no one can or must take charge of the battles of others because it can be harmful both for those who implement a mechanism of moral disengagement , and for those who take on the responsibilities of others by often paying the consequences.
The best way to live in peace with oneself is not to fight the wars of others, to avoid “crossing the Rubicon” by responding to provocations that we know are unfounded: there is no need to react, to lose one’s center for this. which is not real.
Don’t defend yourself. When you try to defend yourself you are giving too much importance to the words of others and giving more strength to their opinions. If you accept not to defend yourself, you are showing that the opinions of others do not influence you, that you “listen”. That they are simply opinions and that you don’t have to convince others.
Your inner silence makes you peaceful. “
(Thich Nhat Hanh)