Boulders and Backpacks

Elephant Rock State Park, Missouri

Elephant Rock State Park, Missouri

There are times in life that you need a helping hand. Sometimes the helping hand is in the form of moral support when you are going through a tough time. There really isn’t anything that anyone else can do for you except letting it be known that they are supporting you in their thoughts, prayers, and occasionally deeds.

We all have those times in our lives that we need somebody to lean on.  I needed support when my mother passed away.  It was a difficult time emotionally and being her caregiver and executor of her estate did not allow me the time to grieve.  I felt abandoned by friends that said they cared,  but in my time of need were busy.

It really hurt when five months after my mother had passed and the dust was beginning to settle with family and estate matters, a friend who had expressed their care came up to me and asked how my mother was doing.  I kept it together for about an hour until I could get safely to the privacy of my own before the deluge of tears began.  Months of pent-up emotions poured out.  Tears of loss,  tears of pain, frustrations of  strained family relations, anxiety over  hateful words that were spoken by my mother; it all came pouring out with that final straw  when it became apparent to me that while I considered this person a friend,  I was not in their circle but rather a blip on the outskirts near the horizon.  It’s ok.  I get it.  It hurt at the time,  but I’m over it.

To me that time of my life was a burden.  The type of burden that you need your friends to come along side of you. The type of burden when you may need others to support you because you feel yourself buckling under the weight of that burden.  These are  the boulders.

Boulders require the help

of others to move.

Then there are the burdens of life that each of us are expected to carry daily. Work responsibilities, family responsibilities, personal goals and dreams, home maintenance, career development are all examples of personal daily burdens.

How many times have you had a coworker come to you to help them with  their work?  How many times has the boss called on you, handing off an urgent project that needs attention NOW? How many times has the ever needy friend called you to help with their latest crisis?

For years I was the goto person for several friends and coworkers that dumped their daily burdens on me.  My compassion was showing and they called on my good nature to help them out.  I don’t mind helping people in fact,  there are times that I get a great amount of pleasure from doing so.  My problem is that I have spent  a tremendous amount of energy in helping others at the expense of my own burdens.

Human nature will take advantage of a well-intentioned person.

Last year, Aedan asked me some pointed questions about a couple of items that I shared on my personal blog, Quotidiandose.  At first it ticked me off but I had to admit,  I had asked myself the same questions that he asked. Maybe it was time to address them instead of  brushing them under the rug again.

One of those issues was the fact that I always did things for  other people at the expense of not finishing my own goals, specifically in finishing writing projects.  WHY? The bottom line on that was that I never made myself a priority. In my mind,  I mattered less than everyone else. Truth hurts. One of these days, I’m going to give Aedan a huge hug for asking the hard questions.  I’ll probably punch him in the arm first, but then hug him and  get his shirt wet with tears because I can be an emotional sap.

Is it wrong to help others?  Absolutely not!

The problem is twofold:

  1.  I struggle with a poor self-image and don’t make myself a priority.
  2. Generally people want you to carry their backpacks, not help with their boulders.
Hiking the Missouri trails.

Hiking the Missouri trails.

The daily responsibilities are our backpacks.  The friend that is in constant crisis is in constant crisis because they act irresponsibly.

 Is that my fault? NO! 

By facing this one area that Aedan pointedly asked me,  I have  learned a great deal about myself and  about why I do certain things. More importantly, what I can do to change it.

4 TRUTHS I HAVE LEARNED:
  • People will treat you like you let them treat you.  I’m the one allowing them to monopolize my time with their requests. It’s not my job to ‘fix’ them.
  • Everyone needs boundaries in their lives – personal boundaries, physical boundaries, emotional boundaries, and spiritual boundaries. Victims of  abuse often struggle with boundaries because their boundaries were violated, blurring the line of  their own boundaries.
  • Carrying someone elses backpack doesn’t help them. This is a harsh lesson to some, but necessary for your own peace of mind.
  • Nothing will change until you realize your own self-worth. I’m not ‘fixed but I’m working on it.  Better than I was but still a long way to go.

Isn’t it ironic that the friends that always come to you to carry their backpacks are nowhere to be found if you ask for help? Suddenly you could hear a pin drop. Reciprocation goes a long way!

I have goals and dreams that I want to accomplish. I have my own path to travel.  Other people’s paths cross yours regularly.  You may even travel the same path for a while.  When I get to my final destination I don’t want to have regrets of not trying.

If I try and fail then at least I tried.  I may slide in dirty and grimy, barely  making it through the door, but by darned I am going to give it all I’ve got! No more excuses, nor more whining, no pity parties –

it’s on!

Live it – Own it – Love it!

Live your life with passionate pursuit of your dreams – nobody else will!

At the end of the trail is a beautiful view.  It’s hard work to get there,  but WOW is it worth it!

Big Springs, MO

Big Springs, MO

Till next time,

Ellie

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