We don’t have to give others so much power and ourselves so little. We don’t have to give others so much credit and ourselves so little there is a big difference between humility and discounting ourselves. When others act irresponsibly and attempt to blame their problems on us, we no longer feel guilty. We let them face their own consequences. When others talk nonsense, we don’t question our own thinking. When others try to manipulate or exploit us, we know it’s okay to feel anger and distrust and to say no to the plan. When others tell us that we want something that we don’t really want, or someone tells that we don’t want something that we really do want, we trust ourselves. When others tell us things we don’t believe, we know it’s okay to trust our instincts. We can even change our mind later. We don’t have to give up our personal power to anyone: strangers, friends, spouses, children, authority figures, or those over whom we’re in authority. People may have things to teach us. They may have more information than we have and may appear more confident or forceful than we feel. But we are equals. Our magic is not in them. Our magic, our light, is in us. And it is as bright a light as theirs. We are not second-class citizens. By owning our power, we don’t have to become aggressive or controlling. We don’t have to discount others. But we don’t discount ourselves either.
Mike and I arrived at Ellijay, GA yesterday for Mike to join a group for a “bike ride across Georgia” or BRAG. I decided at the last minute to join him and take in the sites that surrounded the bike ride. Today, I hiked a trail up to Amicalola Falls. It was a beautiful day. As I began climbing my way up to the waterfall, memories of Oliver came flooding back. The last time I hiked a waterfall was in Ithaca during Oliver’s stay in a mental hospital, the first of many visits in a hospital. That hiking trip was full of fear and hope at the same time. Fear that his suicide ideations would be played out and hope that we were getting to the heart of his pain and could now begin the journey to find the help that he didn’t know how to ask for before. Now, as I started this hike up the Amicalola Falls after losing Oliver to suicide 2 1/2 years ago, I felt a strength coming back to me. I sensed my mom, Oliver, and my Aunt Ida with me. It felt as though they brought me to this place saying, “we have you, move forward, you feel what we have all felt, and we are up here working on your behalf. You are strong enough to carry what we couldn’t quite do (and that I couldn’t do before I lost them). We are with you, and you are with us. As I took step after step, I felt them with me and me being carried by them. I am strong enough to carry this forward. I can commit to my current life. That doesn’t necessarily mean committing to a way. It is committing to my family; I can stay AND I can move forward. Staying doesn’t mean defeat or passive. It means making a commitment to family AND speaking up to own my own power. Oliver, mom, and Aunt Ida…. You are with me, and I am with you.