To Live The Life Of Another

· Personal Reflections

This evening as I sat at the park watching the sunset and reflecting upon some things as I often do, I saw something that I’ve seen many times before, something that troubles me. On a bench near where I was sitting, two girls were seated when an older couple approached them. Since the park was still and quiet, I overheard parts of the conversation. The couple apparently did not know the girls, but within a few minutes of conversation, they were telling these girls how they should live their life in order to solve all their problems. That made me think about all the people I have known who play one of two parts in a control-based relationship.

Why do some of us seek to control others? Is it rooted in a sense of fear? Insecurity? A lack of self development? Perhaps any or all of these. Perhaps more. Perhaps it is simply a comfort to have others, if even by our own force or persuasion, to think as we do.

Why do some of us so willingly submit to the control of others? Is it rooted in a lack of self-confidence? Laziness? A lack of self constitution? Perhaps any or all of these. Perhaps more. Perhaps it is simply a comfort to follow, if even by their own force or persuasion, in the footsteps of another.

As I see it, neither are strong or confident in themselves to make decisive choices and act upon them. Neither can step out and say, ‘I’m going this way’ without needing assurance, if even by force or persuasion, from the other. Neither is really free to live his life independent of what others think or do.

And so these dynamic duos take hand in hand, and for better or for worse walk forward. Whether into enlightenment or off a cliff, they go together, neither one really fully owning the decision.

As I mused on these things, I realized this truth: Offering a helping hand is not the same as imposing a controlling arm. To help someone means to encourage them in their own path of development rather than trying to force them into our own way. It means to not use them as a security device for our own uncertainties. And sometimes, it means pushing them out of our shadow so that they can find their own place in the world.

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