We often find ourselves at the outset at a time when priorities, work, and relationships start to shift into a mind-boggling display of maintaining a circus act.
We play our part, acting for the most part of keep the world around us satisfied.
Growing older makes a sudden shift into priorities — decisions come with a leverage of consequence and collateral damage.
It is human nature to act out of sympathy and subdue ourselves into matters that are better left to the worry of others. In acting in such a manner; you’ll often find the words ‘Selfish’, ‘Cynical’, and ‘Lacking Empathy’ — dropped within a millisecond of denying a favour to another.
Be it friends or family.
Not too long ago; a friend contacted me regarding a loan he needed to secure to be able to afford a mortgage on a house he intended on owning. Since his assets were lacking and he had no collateral to pose, he found himself in a position to contact every friend or family member he could for help regarding this matter.
He was hoping to secure a loan of 10,000$ so that he could fund this mortgage. He laid it all out; like a business pitch he’d been regurgitating for days.
“It’s pretty simple.” He explained. “I’ll secure the 10,000$, and rent the house. Once the rental income starts pouring in; I’ll be able to pay the money to the bank.” It seemed simple enough, considering the position he was in, that the idea might just work for him. But I had to be the unfortunate bearer of bad news; a realist at hand, to explain to him the consequences it would have if he failed. The lack of a contingency plan and no savings meant if I were to secure a loan for him on my behalf; it wouldn’t be his assets the bank would be gunning for — it would be mine.
He somehow failed to recognise what seemed so blatantly obvious to me. I have my own priorities and I wasn’t willing to risk it for him.
He would, what most people in desperation do, succumb to a very favourable form of manipulation. Playing with the psychological nature of the conversation and the effects it would have on his family — seemingly making me feel as though I was responsible for his failures.
This isn’t an uncommon occurrence. People often use this strategy knowingly or unknowingly when they’re in a desperate series of unfortunate events.
I did feel guilty. I would let his problems consume my thoughts more than they should have. Which is when I began to realise that there was no catharsis to this situation. I had to learn to walk away. For a friend would not impose his problems on another when he himself is responsible for his losses.
Such a momentum in life will often lead to failure. If you let other people’s problems consume your life; you will indefinitely become responsible. An accomplice to a murder; hypothetically.
And should the suffering befall upon them; the suffering is now yours to share. And so is the blame for it.
But it isn’t always friends who seem to have this nature; even families do and they often act out in a way that can be more cancerous than the one this friend has proposed.
I’m not married; and have no interest in having a family of my own for the foreseeable future. But a few of my friends from college are happily married now and I wish them all well. Recently, I was having a conversation with two friends of mine; who’d recently married. They were reminiscing about the times they first met through me and confessed that if the relationship had fallen apart; they would’ve blamed me for it as I had played the cupid in the situation. Thankfully it didn’t and as such I never took sides when they had arguments; often keeping my opinions to myself. With the simple standpoint in mind, “It’s not my life. And as such it’s not my business.”
This strategy helped me gain focus of what’s most important to me and my progress within this world. Over-involving oneself in other people’s lives is never a good thing.
I often get told off by elderly people for smoking cigarettes. Though I try my best to not smoke in a public places and make sure that I do not smoke around children; adults seem to react to it more rapidly and aggressively. In these situations I simply agree, smile, and thank them for their concern. What I never share with them is that whilst they’re busy educating me on the harms of smoking cigarettes and how I’m damaging my lungs, or even going as far as to make assumptions about my character whilst their own children are up to no good.
People such as these often are too concerned with other people’s lives and advocating their opinions on others that they miss what’s going on right beneath their noses. So if it means being lectured for smoking a cigarettes with a realisation that these people probably do not show much interest or concern about their own kids is a trade I’m willing to make. For I’m not a preacher or a social justice warrior; it isn’t my job to regulate other people’s lives.
Within my business I make sure to let people know that I do not care what they do outside of the office. As long as it doesn’t affect their behaviour within the work place. People find that often upsetting — I get called out on this behavioural management strategy more often than I should.
I’ve had to deal with complains from other staff members about how person X may have gone to Club Y last night. And that person X shouldn’t be doing so. All I simply ask them is to compare progress reports of their own with the accused. Whilst there are serious concerns and problems which should be dealt with — behaviour that doesn’t affect me or anybody else is none of my concern. I don’t have time to judge what a person’s sexual preference is or whether they’re cheating on their partners. That’s their personal life. What matters is if they’re bringing the same behaviour to my workplace; and then IT IS MY PROBLEM TO DEAL WITH. But as long as their behaviour doesn’t crawl into my work place — it simply is not my concern.
— I won’t get married to satisfy my parents’ sense of loneliness or shortcoming of their parental duty for the sake of their happiness. I’ll do it when I’m up to it.
— I won’t have kids just because my parents feel as though they need children to play with.
— I won’t walk five meters to lecture a person for smoking cigarettes in a smoking zone.
— I won’t school people for not raising their kids properly or teaching them proper manners.
— I won’t take a loan from the bank and risk my financial security just so that I can satisfy a friend in need.
— I won’t take the blame for a relationship that didn’t work out simply because I was the medium though which they happened to meet and fell in love.
— And I simply will not concern myself with problems that have no detrimental effect on my life or anybody who I care about.
I will never feel guilty for acting towards my own best interest and wellbeing.