So I see you put our last letter out there as I had some response and even a comment or two. The comments, they are the reason I find myself again committing pen to paper. You see, there was a question that came back and it asked: “…do you think there are people who are just meant to be written off?” I initially gave a quick response and then spent more time pondering as, in truth, it was a question that had come to me as I wrote the last letter.
You know my capacity to overthink things? Well, you’ve guessed, I’ve looked at this from every angle. Run numerous scenarios and my answer to the question is, helpfully, yes and no. The reason is that we are all different with differing histories and experiences. Likewise, the victims spoken of in our last letter came in many flavours, each with unique experiences that have brought them to where they are now. No two exactly the same.
Let me divert with a story. I once owned a dog, a big black dog. She was a rescue animal and had clearly been abused when we met. So we worked away at healing her history with kindness and time, the so called ‘Great Healer’. There was tremendous progress but one trigger remained. Whenever she heard a milk float (you remember milkmen and their electrical vehicles?) she’d be thrown into panic. I can only guess that in her past this was related to her trauma. I could never help her with this.
Likewise, there are many unique events that haunt the lives of the victims of abuse. Like me and my dog, there will be people you are just not going to understand and the same with the how and why of their situations. But there will be a person out there who does, maybe because they’ve walked the same journey or been close to someone who has.
And, this is my yes. There are people who know the experience and have either bested it or assisted in besting it. These people can help bear the pain and offer the insights. They may not be me or you but remember you and I have both come through a particular series of experiences, have a history that enables us to understand a range of people and with hand on our hearts can say: “I know”. Here I have empathy, insight and ability to assist. Yes, I can help this one but no I can’t help that one because their pain is foreign to me. I can do many things for that person including accept them, be patient, be kind towards them but I can only go so far. Like my dog I guess.
The person who posed the original question goes by the title Companion and I have to thank her because in being challenged to write this I have had to think seriously about issues and realise that there exists potential for me to harm myself should I rush headlong into pain I have no way of understanding. Again, you know me, always wanting to save the world. Who said blogging wasn’t an education in itself?
So I must choose my battles carefully if I’m going to be effective and care for my own well being. I have loved Mark Manson‘s books and the first one deals exactly with this issue. Choosing where we place our energy, our care, situations we should not put energy into, and when to say no. Believe me, as I’ve thought this through there really is a time to say no, and it’s best for everyone’s sake. Show kindness, be patient but don’t take the person on.
You can’t be an important and life changing presence for some people without also being a joke and an embarrassment to others.
There’s also another book that has come to mind as I have been writing. I’ve mentioned it before. Dr David Hawkins’ book Power versus Force was a real game changer for me. If you are persuaded to read it persevere with the first two chapters as it gets good from there. Quick overview, Hawkins postulates that everything has a vibration, you, me, trees, animals, everything. And that vibration can be calibrated. So he suggests a scale of 1 to 1000 with 1 being as low as things get and 1000 being God consciousness. Then he and his team calibrate states of being such as fear, self loathing, hate which as you will have guessed are way down near the bottom and kindness, courage, love which are found to have higher, much higher vibrations and calibrate at the higher end. Hawkins’ research then lead him to state that people who dwell at the higher end, that is who calibrate higher, will positively effect people at the lower end. And people who are really up there can effect people just by coming into their presence. That there are people who really can touch the lives of those who are pained and hurting, who have no self esteem left and feel beyond love. Think, did Jesus reportedly transform the lives of the lost? Was his presence enough to cause them to start over, or as put, to be born again? And there are others who have climbed the scale and have had similar impact in the lives of people.
Love is the energy that silently transfigured every situation.
So I want to suggest that there are those who are spiritually enlightened enough, or whatever you would chose to call it, to positively impact victims. The higher up the scale they have gone the lower down they can reach. It’s said that situations always sink to the lowest common denominator. This may be true up to a point but there is a place where things are actually lifted. Call me crazy, but if you really want to impact the hurt and the lost, then climb the ladder. Seek spiritual enlightenment but be in the world as you do it. Believe me, the higher you go the more you will impact those around you on a daily basis.
There. Yes I can help victims if I recognise my limitations and work within them. And yes, if I pursue what the Bible calls righteousness, I call enlightenment, if my spirit soars I can reach others and so can YOU!
And, no, I can’t help those I have no knowledge of, whose pain I don’t know. But there will be someone else who can do that. If I choose to limit my own spiritual experience I choose to limit my ability to help even those who’s pain I do understand. If I am satisfied with mediocre then I will only have mediocre to offer.
Finally, let me add, none of us can help those who don’t want to be helped. I quoted the example of the Rich Young Ruler to Companion when I answered her. Here was someone even Jesus couldn’t help because he didn’t want the help he needed. There will be those who don’t want the help, just the attention. Learn quickly to recognise these otherwise they’ll suck you dry. You can’t help them so show them the door and save yourself.
Sometimes walking away has nothing to do with weakness, and everything to do with strength. We walk away not because we want others to realise our worth and value, but because we finally realise our own.
I hope this was all useful. We are all learners in this life. Best thing is to learn the lesson first time around.
Yours, doing my homework,
3 thoughts on “Yes and No”
This most certainly WAS very useful, and very well said. I actually own the book that you linked Mark Manson too, and there was a lot in it that fed my soul.
Sadly, I have to agree that there are people who don’t want to change, but just like the attention of having you run around to help them… I’ve actually just been through this with someone, who I love dearly, but have had to re-evaluate my friendship with, because it’s doing me more harm than good.
I also think that our ability to truly help others comes from our own experience (and triumphs) regarding their problems. I know that when I face something difficult, the person I appreciate the most is the one who can come to me with advice and encouragement out of a place of empathy – they actually know how it feels. Although, in my experience, this has also been somewhat odd – because we are all different and so we all experience things differently. But at least there is the knowledge that they understand the situation.
Strength in the strangest of places 😉
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Excellently written as always. Thank you for such detailed answers. You have brought more food for thought.
Great Post. I haven’t read the book ‘Power vs Force’ but I like that vibrations theory, especially how the negatives vibrate so low. The part that stuck out most is how you can’t help those you don’t know about. I think we are always so caught up in doing big ‘great’ deeds and ignore to start with the small ‘great’ deeds.