“Letting people be who they’re gonna be”

Earlier this week I talked with a very wise young person.

She shared about her spiritual and political beliefs. Laughing a little, she shrugged her shoulders and talked about her brothers with very different outlooks on life. She traveled to visit them earlier this fall and shook her head as she described giving them little bits of advice about how to stay safe during the pandemic–all the time knowing they probably wouldn’t take her guidance.

As she told her story, I could see love shining out her eyes for her precious brothers. I also noticed how they did not think at all alike.

“One thing I ‘ve learned in this last year,” she said, “is that it’s about letting people be who they’re gonna be.”

Immediately my chest filled up with waves of love. My body felt what it would be like to love that fully. How utterly beautiful.

And how far I have to go before reaching that all-inclusive compassionate state where love trumps judgment. (no pun intended 🙂 )

How about all of you? Have you been taught by this pandemic (or other of life’s circumstances) to allow people to be exactly as they are?

Or are you still, like me, shaking your head at others who think differently? Wanting folks to think in ways that reflect what feels like loving values?

The problem seems to be that one person’s loving values are another person’s desecration.

Sigh…you can’t turn around a virtual corner these days without someone offering a contrary opinion or reckless action. Sometimes vehemently. Sometimes with more kindness.

It’s a conundrum.

The pandemic taught me that I’m not as spiritually advanced–not as compassionate–as I would sometimes like to think I am. Sometimes it’s possible to open my heart, other times it doesn’t happen.

What to do? It seems to go back to “one day at a time”. One minute at a time. Deeply listening to what another has to say and looking inside until we can resonate with where they’re coming from–even though our beliefs may not be the same. Finding the other person’s heart beneath the strongly held viewpoint. Continually deep-diving toward the Holy Heart.

This morning a Facebook friend offered a passionate rant. I did not agree with her. But I want to deep-dive into her aching heart this morning and see, just see, if my heart’s tuning-fork can resonate with her just a little bit. We shall see…

Day 35 of a seventy-five day journey to connect more deeply with God, Spirit, Holy, Love…to explore “What the Heart Knows” during the waning days of 2020.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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35 Responses to “Letting people be who they’re gonna be”

  1. I really felt this one, Kathy. The tenderness and frustration, the desire to expand and connect. I agree, it is not easy to deal with others who seem different, especially when we think they are wrong in a glorious way. But I suppose if we remember that there must be a reason for how they are, then we can hold on the judgment for a little bit. I suspect we all feel the same things and they just manifest in different ways. But yes, at the end of the day, people will be who they are and we will be who we are and it is respect, if not understanding, that will bring us together.

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, my friend. I like what you’ve said about respect–if not understanding–bringing us together. May we lean toward that as we go about our days… appreciating your input, as always.

  2. Susan D. Durham says:

    So timely as I struggle and struggle. I think about something else you said or wrote some months ago about “Do you want people to think like you, be like you…?” And the thought of changing people to be like me was repugnant. Who would want that?

    And now, I feel like a hypocrite. It is easy for me to let people be who they’re gonna be when their actions/behavior don’t affect me. So what? Live and let live, blah blah blah. Until I am living in the middle of a pandemic and people two or three doors down don’t take it seriously. Yes, when someone else’s behavior could potentially threaten my life, and the lives of others in my building, I sure as heck want to change them. It’s a gamble every day wondering if my neighbors are spreaders. They’re not going to change. So, I just try to avoid them. That feels awful, too.

    Conundrum indeed. Sadly, I’m not making much progress in getting past the block of resentment stuck in my craw. Must find a way to let in the Holy. Thank you for this today!

    • Kathy says:

      Hmmm, Susan, I have been thinking about this today. I don’t believe we’re hypocritical, even though it may feel like that. It’s just that there’s different parts of ourselves, as always. A part that holds the high ideals of love and compassion–and the human parts that struggle, especially when someone else’s actions may jeopardize the safety of others. The dance of the conundrum! Holy dances with some of our more animal or basic instincts. Hoping the stuck resentment may ease just a little bit in all of us… ❤

  3. Neelambari says:

    Great thought to ponder. Each one of us is cocooned in our own perception of right and wrong and this makes us judgemental about everyone who surround us.

    • Kathy says:

      Neelambari, what a good way to state this-how we’re cocooned in our own perception of right and wrong. Hopefully we can slowly grow out of the chrysalis of our cocoon and become the butterfly we may someday become.

  4. leelah saachi says:

    I have a friend who’s relationship is based on complete honesty and willingness to listen. It has taken A LONG time NOT to expect the worst – even though we have done this dyad for over 15 years – so when others react really harshly, often I just ask myself “when have I do ne that?” and as soon as I can forgive myself, compassion pours in – and even though I don’t like ONNNNE BITTTT the way she may blame and rant, I have noticed that when i am able to truly see where she is coming from – and how LONELY it is on those places where I have SO much to defend – I can look at her with a little more compassion – and allow myself to take time with it.
    It is beautiful to have this blog to “chat” on – Kathy♥

    • Kathy says:

      Leelah–that is a good question, indeed. Always turning back our indignation to “when have I done that?” And even if we can’t find a particular incidence, a similar situation can often be discovered. I find it very interesting that you and your dyad partner have had to reconcile different beliefs like this. And I so appreciate reading your input on questions like these!

  5. Larissa says:

    It’s a tall order, isn’t it?

    Moment by moment. With mercy for others if I can find it, and mercy for myself if I can’t. I need a lot of mercy these days.

  6. Sarah Davis says:

    “Letting people be who they are going to be.” Over COVID I’ve played by the rules to protect my elderly parents. They did not play by the rules. Just learned my father has been exposed. My sister just called, my nephew was exposed by his father, her ex-husband. I am angry and want to break down and sob.

    • Kathy says:

      Oh Sarah, I am so so sorry! This is so rough. It’s hardest when family is involved. Sending you a virtual hug, with a few tears for what you’re going through. ❤

  7. Stacy says:

    As always, I think it depends on the circumstances. If who a person is going to be makes another (smaller, dependent, vulnerable, etc) person frightened, for example, I cannot stand by and tolerate who that person is and not stand up for the other. But if they only hurt themselves, well, I am more inclined to let them be who they are. This doesn’t sound very deeply spiritual, does it? XOXO

    • Kathy says:

      It sounds honest, Stacy. I don’t think we’re meant to stand by and do nothing when we see bullying behavior. In fact, I think our spiritual conscience insists that we act in a firm and decisive manner. But there also seems that there’s a way of accepting them the way they are, even as we move firmly in the direction Spirit calls us to move. If this makes sense.

  8. aFrankAngle says:

    Friends can disagree and still be friends – and that’s when the compassionate ear and patience shows to the forefront. On the other hand, there are situations where respect and tolerance have deteriorated. Cheers to your listening ear – and her love and respect for her brother.

  9. In these divisive times, it is so HARD. I have always been a vey empathetic person. Beyond that, I have always been able to see both sides of a story, so much so that I worried I was “wishy-washy” or didn’t care emphatically enough about anything. Not in these days! I find it harder and harder to even LISTEN, not just turn my back on contrary actions and beliefs, not just walk away. Did the world change so much…or did I??

    • Kathy says:

      Cindy, it sounds like you and I are very similar. I’m always seeing both sides of the story, too, and that can be challenging in other ways! But these covid/political times have kind of changed it here, too, and I am always seeking understanding of other views but not really feeling it much yet. Good luck to all of us!

  10. That gem of wisdom, of letting a person be who they are going to be, holds true in most situations. The old adages of “you can’t change the spots on a leopard” and don’t try to make a prince out of a frog” has pretty much been true through the ages. By the time a person reaches adulthood most often their sway on life has been formed with the exception of a some individuals, although some folks actually change for the better and sometimes for the worse. I need to back up a bit on the adages since peer pressure influences many folks and when a situation such as politics comes into play then that is another ball of wax.

    • Kathy says:

      This feels right, Yvonne. Most folks are who they are going to be by adulthood. But some people do change for better or worse. Thanks for adding your thoughts.

  11. debyemm says:

    “It’s about letting people be who they’re gonna be.”

    I had such an experience at yoga last week. A woman who has not been a part of my current class before arrived. She spoke proudly of how she had gotten the coronavirus and how she knew she would (I assume because she was taking no precautions at all). She said she wasn’t afraid of getting it again. She didn’t wear a mask. The three of us were in the socially distanced front row. I have never quit wearing a mask in yoga since we were able to go back to classes. My teacher wore her mask and an elderly gentleman (LOL I guess I am one of those too) who was a former coach on the opposite side wore his also (and he had not been wearing it in previous classes).

    I struggled with this but she changed my perspective because I sought within my own self a better thought.

    She is a herd immunity volunteer. Fine. That was her choice. That is not my choice and I will continue to protect myself.

    So now that is how I am viewing such people – they have volunteered to get the virus. I don’t know if the concept of herd immunity is valid or the best strategy but I do know it appears to be the prevailing strategy with the federal government during this increasingly dangerous phase.

    • Kathy says:

      Deb, thanks for sharing this story. I like how you share how you struggled with this woman but was able to find a better thought within your own mind that allowed for her to be as she was. (That sentence sounds convoluted, doesn’t it?) I hadn’t thought of it from the angle that people may have volunteered on a psychic level to get the virus. WIll have to ponder this some more. What I like is that you found a way within yourself to make peace with her.

  12. Robin says:

    I struggle with this, so much. There are days when I feel openhearted enough to let people be who they’re going to be. I even get glimpses of the compassion that is possible. Then something triggers me and off I go, into the world of ranting (not always publicly or even out loud — I do much of it silently so as not to get anyone else involved in my spinning out). I have noticed, though, that when I spend more time present and with Presence, I spin out less. I even managed a 45 minute conversation with my father this week. Listening to the Conspirituality podcast has helped too. I’ve been learning how to remain open to and speak with people who have fallen into the cult (which is how I have to speak and be with my father because he went down that rabbit hole a few years ago). My biggest regret is unfriending people on Facebook because I’ve learned that people who are in cults need a way out. They need to know that there is someone who will accept them as they are and allow them to work their way out. Otherwise, they stay with the cult where they do feel accepted, even if it’s not serving them anymore. I guess it all boils down to wanting to feel as if we belong, no matter which side of the political spectrum (or cult) we’re on.

    Thank you for the opportunity to think about this some more, and for your openness. I appreciate a lot of what people are saying in the comments, too.

    • Kathy says:

      Even if we don’t speak out–the rants in our head can be just as loud and annoyed, right? Robin, I have discovered the same thing about Presence. The more time in Presence, the calmer things get. The less possibility of spinning out. It IS a struggle. I know people who are into conspiracy theories too, and that is a hard one. I am sorry you are dealing with your father in this way. Perhaps we’ll have to continue this conversation privately one of these days.

  13. jeffstroud says:

    Oh the forever dance of letting people be who they are going to be: in spite of our need at times to be other than they are. You remember the other day that I posted the Serenity Prayer? I did that because I needed the relief of my character flaw of getting my own way or at least listened to and not dismissed in a situation. The prayer was a breath, a letting go. The only control we have is on our own reactions or response ! Letting the prayer out into the Universe was a way to relieve that stress I was causing myself.
    Wisdom is to learn the difference and when to let go!
    Love you

    • Kathy says:

      Jeff, I always appreciate your honesty and vulnerability. Of recognizing when you’re getting in your own way. That is so huge. Remembering that our control is limited to our reactions and responses. Thank you so much for posting this. Love back atcha… ❤

  14. Joanne says:

    Kathy, I think I learned to let people be who they are going to be through my children. Each child has their own unique personality, and why would anyone want to change that? I think the key word in the current age is tolerence. Differing opinions don’t bother me one iota. It’s a person, or group of people, expecting everyone to agree with their opinions that I see as being a problem. There’s a new trend just now which bothers me greatly when I hear of it happening – cancel culture – whereby a person is ignored, disregarded, even condemned if they do not agree with very loud, very opinionated people, or groups of people. I simply do not undersatand why people can’t accept differences of any discription. Imagine how boring the world would be if everyone was the same!

    • Kathy says:

      Joanne, the woman who shared this story said the same as you. She said that some of her children think one way; the others think differently. Both of my kids generally think the same way about most of things, but that certainly wouldn’t be universal. Love what you’ve said about accepting differences here. I like sinking into your words and feeling the truth of them.

      • Joanne says:

        Thank you, Kathy. That is a huge compliment. ❤ Isn't it wonderful that we can share ideas and help each other? I knew your 75 day challenge would have this effect. 🙂

  15. sherrysescape says:

    Such an important thing to be able to do – to let people be who they are. That’s not something I can easily do if who they are is the antithesis of what I think is important. I try to turn off the judging part of my brain when I know what’s coming and know it will not be easy to take. Unfortunately, I don’t always succeed.

    • Kathy says:

      I can totally relate to what you’re saying here, Sherry. I don’t know if it’s possible to turn off our inner judges–but sometimes, just sometimes, it’s possible not to let the inner judge indiscriminately rule the roost. Most of us are in this conundrum together.

  16. Lori says:

    A wise young lady.
    I was the opposite when I was young. IOW, not wise. I’ve written blog posts before about how I thought something I could do or say would change someone to see it my way. Through my spiritual journey, I learned freedom to be who we are is essential for growth. We are each an unique expression of God, which means we have unique lessons. Judging or stifling others’ behaviors is cause for division, because it rubs against that freedom. Fear and emotion gives us the illusion that we have the right to want people to change because we’re only being compassionate. It’s why, to me, it’s not a good idea to make decisions based upon “feeling” and/or “emotion.” There is a difference between a spiritual gut feeling (intuition) and reactive feelings/emotions to what’s happening in our material world. It’s sometimes difficult to decipher, and that’s why those moments of prayer/silence/stillness are really important. At least to me. Sorry to repeat myself, as you’ve probably read this stuff on my blog before.

    • Kathy says:

      I couldn’t believe that young woman was so wise! The love shining from her was so beautiful. Many of us are how you and I were in our younger years. Thinking we could change someone. LOVE how we are each a unique expression of God–no two of us the same. Also have learned to better distinguish between intuition and emotion. It’s always a deeper listening game, isn’t it? (And I don’t mind if you repeat yourself–the better for me to remember!)

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