True freedom is understanding that we have a choice in who and what we allow to have power over us.
Each individual’s day-to-day level of agency varies with lifestyle and a host of socio-economic factors, where at any given moment some people actually have less choice than others.
But many of us only think we are lacking in choice.
(The next time you think you “can’t” be outside because it’s too cold, think about a prisoner who really does not have the choice to go outside).
True empowerment is about recognizing where the choice is and then moving in directions that reinforce not only our joy and presence but also this feeling of knowing that we have choice.
To me, that has everything to do with who we interact with—how we treat others, how we are treated.
We all have to deal with—welll, a**holes—sometimes. That’s just a fact. Thickening our skin is necessary. We can’t hide from the world just because people are jerks; to an extent, we have to learn how to deal with them. We have to learn this to survive.
There will always be jerks.
But life is too short to feel small on a regular basis, to be in close proximity to this kind of energy any more than is necessary. We may try to be tough, but it can wear on us—especially the extra-sensitive souls.
This quote has been floating around the internet as something that Meryl Streep said (wrote), but should be attributed to Portuguese self-help author José Micard Teixeira.
“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me.
I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping.
I hate conflict and comparisons.
I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals.
And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.”
So it’s still not 100 percent clear who said this originally, but I’m not sure that it completely matters. I think we just need to read it and remember to push ourselves towards those things and people that really make us shine.
Here’s to Meryl’s grace and beauty.
Author: Renee Picard
Image: Bobby Mcdobbin at Flickr