The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in. – Morrie Schwartz
I tend to be a controlling person.
This helps me a lot in life, but at times it can negatively affect my relationships.
It is not easy for me to “let live.” I want to help people live their best life, and sometimes, I swear they are set on doing the opposite. They make choices that negatively affect their health, their reputation and their future.
Watching that happen can be hard. It can be hard because you love them like crazy.
Maybe you tend to be controlling (“overly helpful”) and know what I mean.
As much as I try to let Mr. Right be the bad guy, sometimes I’m dying to put in my two cents. Even though my two cents won’t change my kids’ behavior. I have a hard time letting them learn from their mistakes.
As much as I wish I could force my loved ones to work out and eat healthy, sometimes they don’t. Even though they know they should … they just don’t want to. I have a hard time letting that go. I have a hard time not nagging them and acting like their Mom.
How to Let Live
1. Remember what you can control. It is not easy to put this into action. If it was, I wouldn’t be writing this post. I’ve found this mindset is a good start in order to let people live their lives.
When you realize your tendency to control will do more harm than good, take a mental break. Say out loud, “The only person I can control is myself.”
Natural consequences are part of life. Let live and control yourself, first.
2. Ask yourself if you’ve done your best. Sometimes, no matter how great of a parent I try to be, my kids make wrong choices. This makes me feel like a horrible parent, even though that’s not the reality. I am not a horrible parent.
Next time you feel burdened with the responsibility for other’s mistakes, ask yourself, “Have I done everything possible to make this better?” If the answer is yes, it’s time to kill the guilt.
It’s time to release yourself of their bad decisions and live.
3. Go to bed. Sometimes the best way to handle a draining day is to sleep on it, no matter what time it is. You are not a bad parent for doing this. It’s okay to say, “A new day starts tomorrow, but this day is done.”
4. Focus on the good. Can you focus on your sister’s loving personality, and not her poor eating choices? Can you love your friends for the way they make you laugh, and forget about their faults? Can you appreciate your parents for their love and support without criticizing their lifestyle?
5. Cultivate compassion. One of the most powerful ways to gain perspective is to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. This post on Zen Habits offers 7 practices to help cultivate compassion.
My favorite go-to thought is: “Just like me, this person has known sadness, loneliness and despair.” That really hits home. It reminds me what it means to be human.
No matter how old, we are all learning about life. You can’t make someone else live their best life. They have to want it for themselves. Just like I have made mistakes, those I love will, too. They will fall down, just as I have.
They will be there for me when I do again. And me for them.
How to Live (My Personal Advice)
Eat right, exercise, give more than you take, believe unicorns are real, work hard, relax often, nap, shop local, recycle, do something you love more than something you hate, look up, stare at the moon, read, sing, dance, tell corny jokes, tell your kids how cute they are, hug, kiss, high-five, be nice to animals, be nice to the Earth, have dinner parties, cheers to life, unplug, be present, be full, be beautiful, be you.
Live life alive.
Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography