How do we protect the ones we love?
That's a question that we all must face at some point or another in our lives. Most of the time its a matter of remaining close and standing up even when they cannot or will not.
But how do you protect them when they are 850+ miles away?
Blame it on my sun sign (Aries), blame it on the strong upbringing I received, or blame it on whatever works for you. I know how I feel about my friends and family. I love them dearly. They are my solid points in a life of constant motion. The islands in the stream... I also become very protective of those I care about. More so even than I am of myself.
The things and events that I would allow to wash over me unhindered, to not stand up and say no... those same events when I see them affecting those I love stirs something very deep and very personal in me. It's like a fire being lit inside me. A ball of energy that I wish I knew how to focus and use as a shield for those I care about. There is also the desire to confront the offending event that is bringing negativity, stress, and upheaval into the lives of these wonderful people.
I know that we all have our faults, and I'm no exclusion for sure. But part of loving is the acceptance of these perceived faults and recognizing when they are to blame or when its an outside influence.
One of the hardest things I have had to learn to cope with since I moved to MA is that being so far away from my friends and family. I am not able to protect them, to stand up for them, to be there for them in the way that I truly wish that I could. All I can do is to try to lend as much positive support and energy as I can from this distance.
Today for example, I became aware of a situation where someone I love VERY much is being hassled and harassed by someone of authority in their life. Someone who seems to truly get off on trying to make others feel bad. The true meaning of compassion is beyond this individuals grasp. Their thirst for power and dominance is all encompassing. It's as though they are a giant walking cloud of negativity that looks to much of the world like such a ray of sunshine.
When I found out the level of interrogation into my loved ones personal life that had happened, the unwarranted intrusion into private issues, my first instinct was "HOW DARE THEY?! Perhaps they would have preferred to take the journey of facing their mortality and being reliant on the advice and counsel of doctors for survival, and THEN they can come in and dare to ask such questions."
I wanted to travel to them and face them, to say "you have no right to treat her that way. None! What business is it of yours if the doctors said she couldn't return until a certain date. The reasons are irrelevant, all you need to know is when the PhD and state licensed expert said it would be safe to return to work. Yes she traveled a bit in that time, but its not as though it was a sight seeing trip to France. It was time with family, of healing, and of rest - a time frame that they would have been gone anyway had they returned to work, because of APPROVED vacation. How dare you question the validity of what has just happened to her? Perhaps you would have preferred she didn't bust her ass TRIPLING her chemo doses to get back 4 FUCKING MONTHS SOONER?! Is there any recognition for the risk and efforts of healing that were made to prevent any further hardship on those around her? How Dare You!"
I wanted to face this person to make them feel the shame that they truly should feel. To bring to them a reckoning of what it means to be a human being, to show compassion, to share positive light and not this negative bull shit. Negativity that serves NO purpose for ANYONE!
I realized its a good thing I am nearly 900 miles away.
So then I urged this person I love so much to please take this to those in her situation that handle such things. Report the harassment. And a concern of retaliation came to light. One that might be true - but one that if reported not only to leadership but to human resources would be very evident if it was acted out. Still a reluctance.... I wish I could do it for them, I wish there was ANYTHING I could do. But I can't. I have to rely on the judgment of the one I want to protect.
So then we are back to the original question... how do we protect the ones we love, when they are so far away?
I can't take on the brunt of the negative feelings myself. It would only hinder my life. I can't allow the offending individual that amount of power to spread their negativity across states and lives. It can not be allowed to spread. So I am left with being as supportive as I can be. To provide an ear for discussion, and to send as much love and positive energy as I can back.
I CAN hope that there is a new and positive change in the situation. Perhaps a reassignment of this negative person. One more fitting their lack of people skills, where they are not responsible for individuals within a company.
I CAN hope that there is a strength felt by the one I love. A strength that has traveled hundreds of miles and continues to do so, with the sole purpose of helping to build them up. To remind them that they have done NOTHING wrong. That they are truly amazing and wonderful. That anyone who says anything to the contrary is either ignorant or jealous of them and should have no position or power in their life. To separate themselves from the situation.
A strength and love that will allow them to report for their actions with all that is required, and to do their very best and continue to succeed, to lift the worry of what others think, especially when these other people are wrong and are being vindictive for their own personal short falls in character and self worth. A strength to allow them to shine in their position in work and in life. To allow them to take the steps to ensure they are seen correctly and clearly and not through the smokey black veil of negativity spewed by this vampire of life and that which is good in the world.
I CAN say, "I love you Mom. You are one of the most magnificent people I have ever known and continue to astound me with your grace, beauty, and strength in the face of unimaginable odds. You are a bright and loving light in my life; and a source of great strength and clarity for me. I wish that I could make the negative in your life go away, but all I can do is lend you the support and comfort of unconditional love and energy."
"You have the power to make the changes you need to make, you've only got to reach inside and grab it and wield it with the expertise that I know you posses. Trust your instincts, trust yourself, trust that the power of positive force and determination can win out. Trust in yourself. I know that even if its not the decision I would see you make, that you will do what is right for you. You are closest to the situation, you know what can be done, you know what avenues are open to you and I urge you to do what speaks to you as the best course with the longest lasting positive affects for your life."
So how do we support and protect those we love even when we are at distance? We stand up and shout, "I LOVE YOU! YOU DO MATTER, YOU ARE SPECIAL TO ME AND SO MANY OTHERS." You may have to remind them of the strength within, and most importantly... you MUST be there for them. Allowing those you care about to have a place to vent the negative, to facilitate its expulsion into nothingness is key in protecting those you love. As long as the dark is within, it will seep without. When only light remains, their lives will shine as though to challenge the sun its self.
Three little words, spoken so often in casual happenstance. Often treated as light and trivial. Three little words used in negativity can carry enough power to send wars to country and end the lives of millions. Those same three little words used to support and to sustain can and do bring peace to even the most savage among us.
I Love you.