Fighting Against Someone’s Free Agency

Way back in the 4th grade at Lincoln Elementary in small town America, some 40+ years ago; I remember seeing the anti smoking video of someone with a hole in their throat who didn’t let that stop them from smoking.

It horrified me so much I ran home in tears begging my Mom to PLEASE STOP SMOKING.

“Do It For Me! Please, Mom. Can’t you see I need you? Can’t you see I’m scared you will leave me then who will take care of me? Because if you leave me I will have a lifetime of fear of loss and will spend immense amounts of energy to avoid loss”

– the inner child of Samantha Waters.

I didn’t actually say all that. But now I know that my fear of losing people begin with that moment, only to be followed by the lesson that it’s not just losing people I have to fear. I had countless pet dogs run over by cars on the busy main street we lived on. Oh, how I mourned each of their deaths. It didn’t matter how much I vowed to keep them tied up, or behind a gate- NEVER in the house!; they always seemed to get out & became infatuated with chasing those moving black tires. As I sat beside each dying dog, with tears streaming down my freckled little girl face; I vowed to do better next time. To love harder. To be more responsible.

To control the actions of another so that I can feel better.

I really thought I could control the universe or at least those around me. Not in a domineering narcissistic way. I’m as far from that personality as can be. (Some might disagree) but my intent is the same, I suppose: to help ME feel better.

You see, when faced with these losses, every single time throughout my young life, I didn’t know how I was ever going to get through it. I felt incompetent to handle it, to forge through those uncomfortable emotions. Losing my brother, my hero, my protector, when I was 14 was my biggest devastation. It shook my whole confusing world even more and left me feeling more alone than ever. I would avoid working through those emotions for a period of 10 years at least. I accomplished this denial by not talking about it and using other behaviors of co-dependence and “clinginess” to specific people and things to give me that sense of feeling relevant and in control. Relevant enough to make things and people want to stay……

Of course that doesn’t work, which creates a wounded soul with somewhat of a inferior ego and victim mentality. I’m not going to go into the psychology of these terms, but to me it just means that the world is harsh.

After watching Netflix’s: Sensitive, the untold story, I realized that my sensitivity to the harshness of the world was a unique minority but certainly not rare. I would like to say that the losses and tragedies in my life have made me stronger, but I’m not so sure because I still feel incompetent to handle traumas as they come up.

Of course we all have thoughts of “if only”. I do know enough that those thought are NOT helpful and keep us stuck in the past. Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of “time is not linear” thoughts. This helps me feel better because it relieves the pressure of:

“I should know better”.

If our experiences fail to teach us how to react and feel “the correct feelings” then what excuse do we have? What if it’s just a matter of clumping certain experiences together as a journey themselves, not in a particular timeline? I like that.

I’m not talking about defense mechanisms. Our experiences drive those. I’m referring to the positive coping skills and healthy thoughts that “should” happen with each new drama and trauma we have.

My mom never did quit smoking until her diagnosis of lung cancer in her early 70’s. She was very lucky to have that long of an earthly life with the tobacco habits she maintained. And I was blessed to have her in my life and my children’s life for that long. I took care of my Mom, emotionally and in a lot of physical ways my whole life, and it was an honor, not a chore. It helped make me who I am. Had she “changed” into the person I wanted her to be back then, I may not be the person I am today.

At the time of that little girl running home to beg my mom to quit smoking, was all I wanted in the entire world. When my brother died, all I wanted in the entire world was for that not to happen. When each of my kids did things against what I wanted for them, I pleaded and bartered with my God to change their minds. When people rejected me, I suffered in silent anger and bitterness. Luckily hindsight 20/20 is almost always forgiving with wisdom and clarity.

I now can forgive all those who didn’t ‘do as I wanted them to’, but mostly I forgive that little girl who was just struggling to survive, just like everyone else.

“The very person you find it hardest to forgive is the one you need to let go of the most. Forgiveness means letting go. It has nothing to do with condoning behavior; it’s just letting the whole thing go. We do not have to know how to forgive. All we need to do is be willing to forgive. The universe will take care of the hows.” – Louise Hay

Where does “free agency” and doing things for others’ benefit meet? Many battles have been fought for this idea. I mean, sure – a parent shouldn’t smoke for or around her kids, but there’s that dastardly word: Should”.

Lots of things shouldn’t happen, but they do.

It’s out of our control. We have heard in modern psychology for years to take care of ourselves first. To fill our cup. We instinctively know that people can’t be responsible for others’ happiness. It just never works. There are too many variables. The person who runs around trying to please each person they interact with is not called being polite, it’s called exhausting. In these moments of confusion when I don’t know which master to please, I turn to Matt Kahn’s wisdom of loving the girl in me who doesn’t know what to do. Loving the crying girl, the girl in mourning for her brother, for her parents now gone, and for the unraveling of her family due to the effects of substance use. It’s ok to not know the answers or the outcomes. It’s ok just to LOVE the one who wonders.

At this moment, the Universe wants you to know….
It’s not a matter of what happens, but how we choose to respond, that determines our level of consciousness. Whether able to act courageously in the face of despair, or continually shut down whenever change arrives, self-love is always the answer.
It may not lessen the pain or change your reality on command, but it will always give you everything you need to be the unwavering support, unlimited compassion, and irrefutable source of forgiveness absent from the past. From honoring the one who needs to know every detail about the future before stepping forward, to embracing the one who only knows doubt– and even acknowledging the one who yearns for love but has no idea how to feel worthy enough to receive it, every experience offers countless opportunities to deepen our relationship with our hearts as a gateway into the oneness of Source energy.
Rather than attempting to embrace the past,
what if you took the time to honor the
one it happened to?
Instead of trying to passively accept the injustices of life, why not passionately acknowledge the authenticity within you that cannot be okay when anyone is denied, persecuted, harmed, alienated, shamed, or judged for any reason? What if you didn’t blame yourself for being so sensitive, but cherished how naturally open you are to receiving the gift of life, no matter how daunting or delicious any moment seems?
Even when you are unable to love, simply resting in the blessing of “May this moment help me learn to love as never before” inspires milestones of growth that uplift your experience, while energetically assisting in the transformation of others. On behalf of the Universe, when the world seems cruel, we become more caring. When witnessing the unthinkable, we respond with greater thoughtfulness. When the world denies its pain, we dare to turn towards it. When life appears to be at its darkest hour, we shine our lights to brighten each perspective. This is the way of the new spiritual paradigm.
All For Love,
Matt Kahn