A few years ago I worked with a woman who taught me a great deal about staying in my center. I never understood the value of staying out of the fray of another’s drama until I noticed this woman’s uncanny ability to remain in peace regardless of what was going on with another.
I met her on a cold icy night in a pediatric clinic where we both worked as nurses. The clinic provided services to neighborhood lower income families most of whom were not English speaking. Many of our clients would come to see us with stories of why they had not been able to get prescriptions filled, keep appointments, and often times threatening to leave when we would not cave in to their demands. I always viewed myself as having compassion often being pulled into their stories and doing everything in my power to fix whatever problem or drama they were handing me. I would stand listening to the same saga over and over often ending the night feeling exhausted and emotionally imploding. I watched my co worker turn away a young family in need of a vaccine for school the next day. Totally unaware they had been given numerous appointments to receive the vaccine and had failed to show for them all. Now here they were the day before demanding the vaccine be given. All the pleading in the world would not make my friend change her mind as she calmly scheduled them an appointment for the following week. All the tears and pleas from the mother fell upon deaf ears as she merely said “I am sorry” and walked away. I stood in awe of her no nonsense approach and marveled at her ability to remain detatched. I felt a sense of responsibility and sadness for the young family as they turned and headed into the icy night. I watched my friend and co worker remain silent as others full of drama would regale her with stories of their woes simply utter the words “I am sorry things are that way for you.” That was it, I am sorry.
Everyone of us who breathe and walk the planet will have disappointments, frustrations and stories to tell. We are human and many of us come with drama. Although we may want to support our friends and be viewed as a kind and compassionate entity, sometimes it just does not work and we get bogged down in another’s arena of life. It takes a well grounded and strong individual to ascertain where our drama ends and another’s begins. We can be compassionate and caring and protect ourselves at the same time. I like to use the term “fixer” to describe those of us who feel a need to make the world OK for everybody else. Sometimes we just cannot make the world Ok for some. Self preservation was the gift my co-worker gave me. I learned from her. I still have my moments of taking on something that is not mine but I now recognize it much earlier. Be kind, caring but take care of yourselves.