You be you & I’ll be me.
“All this delusion in our heads is gonna bring us to our knees. So come on let it go, just let it be. Why don’t you be you & I’ll be me.
Everything that’s broke, leave it to the breeze… Why don’t you be you & I’ll be me. & I’ll be me.”
Let It Go — James Bay
This describes the way I’ve been feeling for the last few months.
I think that sometimes in our good intentions we can become a little too wrapped up in another’s choices. What they’re doing or not doing & what we think they should be doing, when really it’s about them & ultimately up to them, not us. Lately I’ve been feeling some pressure from a lot of people. Maybe they’re just curious, perhaps they don’t know what to say, & maybe they honestly believe I’m incredibly lazy; but the truth is that their attempts to help have done more harm than good.
One week in particular had been filled with a lot of these interactions. People would say, “Are you in school or working? What do you do with all your time? I couldn’t just sit around all day like that. I think you should take some classes, why don’t you try that? I bet you could find a job if you tried. You’re not going to get better until you start doing things.”
These stories came up in a conversation with a friend & tears fell as I explained how much it hurt that although I’m doing everything I can right now, giving all I’ve got, it doesn’t seem to be enough. That although I’m running on empty, so many are demanding more. He stopped me & said, “Makayla, how do you respond when people say those things?” I told him that I started to explain everything I do in a day. That because they don’t understand how hard it is I try to be kind & help them understand. I tell them that I run, study the scriptures, & help around the house when I’m able, but I don’t have the energy I used to & often need to rest. He stopped me again & said, “Makayla, why are you explaining yourself to them? You don’t have to. You don’t have to justify or rationalize your decisions to people, especially to those who are not directly involved or invested in your care.”
I’ve been so concerned about what other people think of me & what I’m doing that I neglected to acknowledge how I felt about those suggestions. I almost let the opinions & unkind words of others dictate my choices. I was considering school & a job; second guessing the knowledge Heavenly Father had already given me & compromising what I knew was right; & that’s wrong.
He reminded me that the only opinions I should truly care about are Heavenly Father’s & my own. It’s important that I feel good about how He feels about me & how I feel about myself. Of course there are important people in my life who I respect & value the opinions of, but I deserve to be a bit skeptical of unsolicited, uninformed advice. I owe myself the confidence of wondering about what others say instead of immediately second guessing myself.
You know, no matter what you do people will tell you how to live your life. Less as you get older & seem to be filling your time with things that are normal & accepted by society, but they ask & they’ll keep asking, almost as if your worth is contingent upon how you spend your time & if you’re doing things they consider valuable.
Please don’t misunderstand, I think education is invaluable & hard work, whether through a job or weeding the garden is necessary for happiness –both of which I’ll do when I’m healthier & in a better position to do so. But until then, I’m doing what I can. I’m doing what doctors have suggested for healing & trying my best to follow what I believe the Lord would have me do in this situation. So that’s what I’m doing with my time, hopefully the same thing you are: something you deem worthwhile, important, & in your best interest. For some that’s taking 15 credits & working part-time. For others it’s staying home with the kids. For me, right now… it’s healing, studying the Gospel, writing, & adding more & more things as the Lord gives them to me.
Really what I’m saying is that my honest belief is we’re all just doing the best we can. You are, I am, & so is every stranger you see. Sometimes our best is winning races & receiving awards, & sometimes it’s just surviving the day. We try & keep trying, learning that our best is different every single day.
So, to the Seniors stressing over those looming life choices, the sweet mamas trying to keep their heads above water, & everyone facing the challenge of feeling like they’re giving all they’ve got while everyone around them seems to be demanding more:
Just breathe. Be forgiving & understanding of another’s good intentions.
& most of all, get to a place where instead of second guessing yourself with every unsolicited piece of advice about your life, you can say: “Right now I’m doing what I honestly believe is in my best interest. I’m doing what I can & when I’m ready I’ll do more. But until then, why don’t you be you & I’ll be me.”
Having said all of that, I urge you to be kind to yourself. Be patient when it’s hard to stay awake finishing your homework, when you don’t think you can run that last mile & it’s difficult to feel like you’re measuring up.
“And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength…” –Mosiah 4:27
The human body is somewhat of a funny thing. We are given so much freedom & opportunity… to walk, to run, & do incredible, magical things. If you don’t believe me type ‘People are Awesome’ in YouTube or just think of the complexity of the brain. I love the brain. God is incredible & I cannot fathom the process of creation. I don’t understand how everything works perfectly; that we can think, how we can evolve & improve and become more than we were yesterday.
However, I truly believe each one of us will have an experience in this life which will cause us to more fully appreciate the Creation, the body, the mind, & the Resurrection. God is like that. We are often given lessons which encourage us to learn about & appreciate different aspects of the gospel: Patience, The Resurrection, The Plan of Salvation, The Atonement, etc.
Sometimes all the cards are stacked against you. The ice pack popped while you were sleeping, dark sheets are covering the windows because light causes pain, & your favorite sweats are more red than gray from a recent nosebleed. Maybe your neck is so sore you can’t find a comfortable position. You can’t relax, read, work, sleep, or find relief from the pain. Your prayers are feeble & every attempt seems insufficient & full of pleading. You’re tired but cannot rest. Maybe your life isn’t headed in the direction you wish it was & your attempts to change the course seem worthless. It can be unpleasant & often it’s less than ideal, but there’s purpose in it. I promise. When you are discouraged & feel you’ve given your last effort, learn to rest, not to quit.
Celebrate those tiny victories & achieving your daily goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if your “To Do” list got longer instead of shorter. Remember that it’s those small righteous acts that build good habits & really make a difference in the end. — “By small & simple things are great things brought to pass.” Alma 37:6
“You’ll often have the choice between things that are easy & things that make a difference. Easy is enticing, but effort is empowering.” –Unknown
So, I repeat. Be kind, not only to others but also to yourself; you’re doing the best you can. & remember that everyone else is too. Sometimes the greatest act of charity is withholding judgement, & that includes withholding judgement from yourself.
Don’t judge yourself more harshly than He would. Be kind, set goals, & move forward knowing that it’s really between you & God.
You’re doing the best you can. We all are.