It really does matter who you spend your time with and who you expose yourself to. You get sucked into the throes of whatever goes on for people. That does not mean you can’t be there for people. Being there and empowering them OUT of the ditch is completely different from being there and being sucked down with them. Once you are drowning in the boat with them, you’re both doomed. I had a wise woman once say to me when I was post-partum that she will sit by the ditch with me, but she won’t get in it with me. Being exposed to someone like that snaps you out of your funk pretty quickly. If it doesn’t, then you’re in deeper than you probably should be.
I’m not a fan of superficial living. I do over-analyze things to the nth degree, sometimes to my own detriment. Learning to balance that with things that keep you from falling into the depths is a skill unto itself. Part of that is being willing to reflect on what you’ve allowed into your life and what you believe about the things that people say to you. There are a lot of wounded souls traipsing through these concrete jungles. Keeping their wounds separate from your own can become complex.
If you can’t sort it out right away, be gentle with yourself as you navigate the waters of uncovering the truth. When it becomes too much, do something that nurtures you and shut down that brain. Some of us actually have to be told to do so. Being mindless is truly difficult. If it feels like manure, then get out of the corral. Take a breather. Give yourself and the situation some time and space to breathe and have a chance to sort itself out. If you find yourself OVER-EAGER to control the results, then that is all the more reason why you need to step away. Letting go is the key to solving the problem.
All of my problems always came from my need to control. Rather than control, I create layers of opportunity so that there isn’t one single thing that can sink me. The moment I start feeling that something can, I have to step back from how heavily invested I am in it and diversify. Never be loyal to anything that looks at you as optional. If you need diversification to prevent catastrophe, then loyalty is poorly placed. You can now take this down your myriad of systems dysfunctions and see how this applies to your loyalty and personal investment in them.
Take your pick, sexism, racism, misogyny, classism, employee, etc – it truly doesn’t matter. If you choose to participate in the system that throws you into a category, then you’ve opted to play the game. Remove yourself and do so in a manner that makes you untouchable. Sure, people think wealth can offer that, but it isn’t true. Wealth and power just make you a larger target by a larger group. There is no “safe haven” from humanity’s dysfunctions. The only safe haven is what you create for yourself and what you choose to engage in.
Heaven on earth is fleeting, but here when you want it. It’s hard to “keep” it as we swing on the pendulum of needing to control and letting go. Be gentle to yourself. It takes practice. The more you do it, the easier it gets and the better you become at it. However, just like music, you never know it all and there will always be something more challenging to learn. Keep practicing the skills that help you to tackle the upcoming mountains. The only way you’ll come out well is if you maintain, or at least work diligently, at your own self-awareness between control and letting go.