the worst piece of advice you might ever hear

I was having a shower last night and as is often the case - I tend to get very philosophical when I'm completely nude and sopping wet. Random thoughts led to more random thoughts which led to some thoughts that were slightly more coherent. And here is what I thought.

I thought about one piece of advice you might hear in your life that looks OK at face value but lacks a helluva lot of depth. It's the idea that in order to get anywhere we should remove the obstacles that get in our way. And specifically here, I was thinking about this idea and how it applies to people around us.

In essence, this well meaning 'advice' purposes that to develop, or to evolve, we should remove the people from our lives that 'drag us down' or 'hold us back.' I've heard this idea often and I've read it alot.

But what does it really mean to walk away from those people who are at a different stage in life to us or maybe need our help the most? Surely our evolution is about having, developing and demonstrating compassion and tolerance for others. Not walking away and pretending the world's hurts do not exist. Treating 'problem people' as things that get in our way is ultimately a selfish and irrational view that removes the thinking, feeling and relational human been from the context of real life.*

I know many people who have actually chosen the path to work with other people's problems. They have committed to serving others in crisis and have not looked the other way. And importantly, this is where they find ultimate fulfillment.

I think we find meaning in the colours and in the shadows, on the surface and in the depths of life. We will never find meaning in perfect isolation where obstacles do not exist. They are not to be stepped around but to be walked through.

*We might choose to re-frame from 'problem people' to 'people's problems'. Then can we look at the problem objectively. We can then choose to remove ourselves from the problem, but not the person (unless of course the person is in a severely stressed state and threatens to axe your chest. Then, let common sense prevail and get the hell out of there!)


kristy said...

wow p that's so philosophical - perhaps if you showered more often you would have enough material to create your own theoretical reasoning.

i dunno if removing people from our lives that 'drag us down' means that you still can’t care for people or that you actually choose to look away. i think you can find a happy balance between the two. i believe that there are certain stages in your life when you do need to take a good look at yourself and your surroundings and remove various elements that prevent you from being the best person you can be. but i think you can do this and still be a caring and compassionate person.

what made you think of this anyway?

Eliz said...

Hiya Phillip! Just reading your blog as directed, hehe... anyway, normally happy to just read but what you wrote here I so agree with...I keep coming across this same notion of people wanting to ditch friends when it all gets abit too hard or doesn't fit where they're at and I just don't understand it, how people usually think about friendship as what they get out of it and not what they can contribute... as a person who believes in a bigger picture it makes sense that its not always about people being their for us but for us to be there for them, maybe there is a purpose which you don't understand, but for one reason or another your meant to be in their life... you put it more articulately than me... but it's nice to hear someone else feels the same, not so much from a career prospective (whilst I do respect that) but from a personal one.