I have learned many things in my life, some by force and some by choice. But no matter how I learned any of these lessons, I am thankful. One of the things I had to learn is that not every decision that a loved one makes is about me or for me. I often talk to people and they stress themselves out trying to figure out why people do what they do. Why are they with him/her? Why haven’t they left him/her? Why did they move there? Why did they have a kid? Why did they buy this or that? Why did they take that job? Why do they live in that neighborhood? Why are they friends with that person? The list goes on and on. I had to realize that I don’t need to like or understand every decision that my loved ones make.
I remember when one of my best friends resigned from a very stressful job and decided to take three months off to visit Spain and learn Spanish. When he told me that news I thought he was crazy. I just could not understand why on earth he needed to get away to Spain for three months to learn Spanish. I thought, “Don’t they have Spanish classes in Washington, D.C.?!” At that point I started asking all the questions. “Why Spain? Why three months? Why do you need to get away? What am I going to do?” Looking back at that moment, I realize now that I was being selfish and not very supportive, and really I did not need to know why he was making any of those choices.
Recently, another best friend shared some news with me that I was not expecting. This time the conversation was a little different. I don’t think I asked one “why” question. I just listened to what he wanted to share and gave him my love and support. That part of the conversation lasted about five minutes and then we moved on to something else. I trust that he is making the best decision for his life and I will be by his side no matter what the outcome.
We cause ourselves a lot of undue stress trying to figure people out and understand why they do the things they do. My role as a loved one is to offer encouragement, prayers, love and support. We all have our individual journeys and we must allow people to travel down their paths and make their own discoveries. It is not for us to pass judgment, get upset, ask a ton questions or think about how this will affect us. At the end of the day, it’s not about me!
Support your friend, even if you don’t support their decision!