I first heard the slogan live and let live as part of a 12-step program. It took me multiple years to realize how fixated I was on letting others live versus figuring out how to live my own life, first. I recognized my fixation on other people by:
- How much I tried to not control, other people. It was an actual effort to not think about them.
- How much energy I exerted to distract myself from what other folks were doing, particularly those to whom I felt attached.
I knew I focused more on letting others live versus living my own life, which is the first part of that slogan, because my entire life, up until this last year, I acted as a caretaker: my role was to ensure that other people felt safe, protected, and understood.
But what happens when we let other people be who they are? Even if we think they’re shitty or struggling? And turn the focus back on ourselves?
What matters to you more than someone needing you or validating you?
Your purpose, your dreams, breadcrumb size or galaxy-sized, live in that question. And you won’t arrive on empty or by obsessing over others. You won’t arrive if your fear of moving beyond dependent, mediocre, and/or “they really don’t care about you” more than you care about the carrier of dreams, which you are.
How to live and stop controlling others
When what you’re committed to creating to serve the WORLD matters to you more than petty a*s folk needing, depending on or thinking highly of you, you’ll begin to soar.
You won’t arrive on purpose on empty or by obsessing over others who don’t truly care about you. Or have nothing to give because they’re empty and/or struggling too. It’s harsh and it’s true. Because it isn’t about them. It’s about you. It’s about you.
They take, you give and then you try to control. You cease to live your dharma and begin living in chaos.
Why is letting others live their lives important?
You have a purpose, mija. Your purpose is lived through you. You’re the vehicle. What shape are you in?
You and all the suffering you’ve ever been through are here as lessons, offerings, to share with others. To contribute if and when you’re ready.
And if you’re running on empty, then what the royal f*ck?
I’m not talking about “let’s take a nap” empty.
I’m referencing the kind of fatigue that comes from devaluing who you are, giving your time, energy, and resources away like a sample station at Costco, and fixating on others versus taking care of and investing in yourself.
This is the very definition of “not living and not letting others live”. People frequently focus on the second half of that phrase and forget the first part. I know I did!
Your purpose, the very reasons you’re here to serve others and live the beautiful life–as you define it–that is your birthright amor, resides in your ability to stand for yourself and live. No matter what someone else does (or doesn’t do).
You have a right to thrive, to walk away, and invest in the dreams dwelling in your beautiful heart. And if this is the first time you’re hearing this, write it on a sticky note and paste it on your forehead.
Remember: living is intrinsically tied to letting go of the chokehold you have on other people, places, and things. And then deciding where to place your hands.
Share this with a friend or two who could use the boost. And enjoy the journal prompt below to dive deeper.
Where in your life is everyone else the problem? And where is your power? Share your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to meet you.
Lalita Ballesteros is a speaker, comedian, director, and the founder of Haus of Lala, a creative agency specializing in personal branding. She stands by the belief that your voice matters and that authentic self-expression is our most important work. In the past, Lalita’s disrupted the publishing industry with Seth Godin and The Domino Project (powered by Amazon) creating six best-sellers and raising over a quarter million in revenue in only four months. She also worked at the American Embassy in Rome, created a 6-figure Airbnb business, and oversaw ambassador efforts at Lyft. She speaks three languages and is a regular contributor for Positively Positive, a publication with over 2.5 million followers on Facebook. Lalita’s been seen on the stages of TEDx and Comedy Bary as well as in the pages of Fast Company, Etsy, Forbes, Yahoo Small Business, Mashable, and the best-selling book End Malaria. She currently lives in Toronto with her dog, Luna. Follow her writings and comedy here and #100daysofcomedy here.
Image courtesy of Flora Westbrook.