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March 03 • Who Owns First?

Day 237

Being able to be one's self may be almost as important as allowing someone else to be themself. Yet, we are taught to always put the other person first; to sacrifice for their good. Don't judge others.

And then there are those things that could genuinely 'bother' us and at the same time be a legitimate problem for the other person. Would anyone argue, for example, that we should not express our concern and even take action to help someone with a sexual addiction or drinking problem? When do those become power struggle issues trying to mold everything into one's view of morality and projecting that onto another.

But we cannot abdicate our selves, our responsibilities, or our concern for the other person without crossing that line from time to time, or at least dancing on it. On an airplane, we are supposed to take care of our needs first when the oxygen mask drops in front of our face. Only then do we help others. Who owns first on the ground, and why can't it be just as clear as in the plane?

Again — like so much of this — balance seems to be what we seek. Yes, I want to be myself, but I also want to know what I can do to improve my relationships, and I don't want to be afraid of expressing my opinions about another's behavior that could make our lives better together. I feel so much conflict and fear and shame around this whole quandary; it drives me to places I do not want to go, and I still don't know how to live with honesty and integrity in this dynamic.




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