There is one essential ingredient missing in most of our relationships — one that is definitely required if we wish to continue in our own development and help others to do the same. What is this powerful catalyst that only we can provide for each other? Room in which to grow.
We can help others reach higher by simply agreeing, consciously, to give them space to go through their changes even when these changes may challenge our sense of self and its well-being. As just one simple example of how to help in this way, we must each learn to keep ourselves quiet when the actions of someone close to us start to disturb us. Why is this new kind of self-silence so important for the growth of both parties involved?
To begin with, the disturbance that we feel in these moments is caused by a tremor in us. This is to say that our shaky sense of self is an effect of some picture we have held of this person as it hits the ground and shatters. Apart from our children, whom we must guide through their developing years, we need to learn to leave people alone with their decisions and corresponding actions. There is already a truth, a wisdom that supports this conscious course of action.
We already understand that no action of ours ever goes without its commensurate reward. This eternal principle is best known as karma, the great, inescapable law of cause and effect. This means it is our own nature — as the backstage parent of what prods us along in life — that determines what we experience as our life. So too is it with our family and friends… each receives what he or she is — no more, no less. This truth tells us why we must not only give them room to make the choices that they will, but then leave them alone to realize and experience the unique results of being who they are. How else can they learn and grow beyond themselves?
Understanding these truths mandates that we back off from being secretly on everyone’s back, that we give them the inner room they need to grow and discover themselves. The difficulty here is that in order to give others this space they need, we must first make room within ourselves. To state this same idea differently, we must remove ourselves from our habitual inner places of judgments, opinions, and knowing better than anyone else. We have always called this place that must be left behind our “self.”
This conscious sacrifice of self — of who we conceive ourselves to be for the sake of who our friend or loved one is yet to be — gives new meaning to the beautiful ideal of “laying our life down for our brother.” This is how we help others to help themselves go higher… by daring to grow beyond ourselves.