Watching a loved one or a peer traverse a path littered with stumbling blocks can be immensely painful. We instinctively want to guide them toward a safer track and share with them the wisdom we have acquired through experience. Yet all human beings have the right to carve their own paths without being unduly influenced by outside interference. To deny them that right is to deny them enlightenment, as true insight cannot be conveyed in lectures.
Rather, each individual must earn independence and illumination by making decisions and reflecting upon the consequences of each choice. In allowing others to walk their paths freely, you honor their right to express their humanity in whatever way they see fit. Though you may not agree with or identify with their choices, understand that each person must learn in their own way and at their own pace.
The events and circumstances that shape our lives are unique because each of us is unique. What touches one person deeply may do nothing more than irritate or confound another. Therefore, each of us is drawn to different paths–the paths that will have the most profound effects on our personal evolution. If you feel compelled to intervene when watching another human being make their way slowly and painfully down a difficult path, try to empathize with their need to grow autonomous and make their own way in the world. Should this person ask for your aid, give it freely. You can even tell them about your path or offer advice in a conscious loving way. Otherwise, give them the space they need to make their own mistakes, to enjoy the fruits of their labors, to revel in their triumphs, and to discover their own truths.
The temptation to direct the paths of others is a creature of many origins. Overactive egos can convince us that ours is the one true path or awaken a craving for control within us. But each person is entitled to seek out their path leading from the darkness into the light. When we celebrate those paths and encourage the people navigating them, we not only enjoy the privilege of watching others grow–we also reinforce our dedication to diversity, independence, and individuality.
Written by Madisyn Taylor and published on dailyom.com