"If you're not with me, then you're against me!"
We take sides in family, friendships, politics, the workplace, and more! Often, we even take pride and puff out our chests at the divide of which we are at the root, when often we probably should be hiding our faces at the damage we have done – often irreparable. Sometimes we get so wound up in it that we can’t get out, and we collect other accomplices and victims in our ball of twine as we wind up to make sure we are not in it alone. Then we assume that those who won't join us are therefore on the opposing side. Is it worth it? Does it make us better individuals or life better when we support another person, group, idea, etc., so vehemently that relationships fall into a cavern of uncertainty or spiral down into oblivion? Did we actually provide a measurable service for anyone? Or, was it all done for a power-feed for our own ego or other personal gain?
Sure, sometimes we find we must let someone or something go (bad match, matters of safety, etc.), but that is not what I am talking about. So as not to justify butting in where we don’t belong, or so obtrusively inserting ourselves where we aren’t needed, I am specifically talking about occasions and instances where we are an outside party and have an opportunity to take a step back and “assist” only if asked. I am talking about times where a difference could actually be made by our absence and by keeping our mouths closed – where showing our support would look more like keeping our personal thoughts in our heads vs. putting them into someone else’s space. I am also talking about how allowing the outcome to be whatever it is going to be without interjecting or injecting our personal selves into it where matters do not require our attendance, literally or figuratively.
There is always more... or none!
Truth – this is hard to do sometimes! It is so easy to get caught up, especially if it involves someone/something/a group that we love or despise. We want to take sides! Sometimes we think we have to take sides. But do we have to? Instead of jumping right in, how different might the outcome be if we first took some time to assess the need for us to insert ourselves in some way, and then just opted out instead? Or in the case of family and friends, what if we just waited to be asked for assistance or advice, and then still only gave what was actually needed vs. what we personally felt? We might stop here to consider that when we think we are helping someone with our opinions that we might actually be putting that person in an uncomfortable position with us! They might really love us so much that they won’t say anything in order to avoid offending us. It happens! From there may come avoidance, distrust, dishonesty… you get the picture. Or, you may just get an earful, and then what? Once you have inserted yourself as someone’s steadfast ally, what will you do if they change their mind and go a different direction than what you want for them? How are you now going to react and respond with their once-opposing side, or yet another new choice?
What I am suggesting here is to think way ahead before you jump in feet first, eyes closed, and mouth open if you are considering taking sides with someone or on something. Once you choose sides you are dividing more than just the two entities in question. Your energy in the matter will cause a wake. There is more than one way to show your love and commitment to your person, cause, or group, and it does not always have to mean making the “other side” appear wrong. Do not expect everyone to jump on board with you if you choose to take sides; and when someone chooses not to, do not fall for the false dilemma that just because they aren’t “with you” that they are “against you.” Do not actualize an enemy or opponent where there was none. They may simply realize they have other options, as do you.
Here's an idea!