You can perceive your want for independence either as a hostage situation or as a negotiation. Let me paint you a picture:
When you hold people ransom, it’s your way or the high way. When they speak your views your response is like a bank robber placing a thick cord of sellotape on each of their lips. If you feel threatened by their gaze you kick them with your words. You say you don’t want to hurt anybody you just want the money. That is when independence is an arm wrestle.
If it’s a dance you are more like a negotiator. So what do you do? You know that it’s not about your way or his way. It’s about mutual satisfaction. So before you speak about your views you listen. You listen cause see yourself in them. Wanting your views to be heard. Wanting your time to be respected. You see, you are not you! You are independent from you! So you listen until their heightened shoulders lower. Until their fierce gaze softens to a glow. Now they are willing to listen. This is the dance, everyone leaves smiling!
My time to Our Time
The hostage way is what I narrated in part one. Simply put; I know for sure there is an impending skirmish, but who am I? I am the owner of my fate both good and bad. No one will dictate my time, you see, I am independent now.
In this way of thinking, we perceive what we want to do with our time as my time and everything else someone may ask you to do in this time as inconsiderate. We wonder internally why they never ask us what we had intended to do. It feels like an imposition. So on most days, we acquiesce as we value peace over conflict. When the burden of peace proves too much we push towards conflict like we chose to do.
How do we guide ourselves in such situations? Firstly we perceive that how we want to spend our time in a day is a desire, not the reality. So we should never get attached to it. This is difficult to do. It is one of the greatest battles in life. You fight it every day. You get wiser but situations will come to show you that you and this wisdom are separate.
To connect to this way of viewing time. Stop saying ‘your time’. Why you may ask? Well take learning from two of the most important times in life. Time of death and time of birth. You never choose them. So understand time from a purpose perspective. The purpose I want to achieve with this time is rest.
To bridge the gap between you and this view more, record the number of times in a day something else other than what you intended to do happens. You will realize this will always be many. When you think you can predict them, they shock you. Be ready for them, smile when they come, don’t shrug. Cause the emotion you attach to this time is more crucial than what you spend this time doing. When you are happily distracted you find that you start appreciating those moments. Cause sometimes when you are out running an errand instead of working you get your best ideas.
Secondly, start your day by asking yourself who else may need you today. Who else will I share the purpose of time with? In our first article our want to be more independent, it’s is your mother. So as you visualize rest understand that she might need you to do things for her. While you do these things you are actually still resting. Think about it? How can you cook supper in a restful way? If you are me, play music while you cook. Break out in dance once or twice. Make these efforts playful. When you play your brain rests. That’s why though dancing is engaging, post a dance experience you feel rejuvenated. Rejuvenation remember is the purpose of rest.
Once you identify who else may need you today, instead of waiting for them to instruct you, ask them what they would want you to do beforehand. How do they feel when you ask this? They feel valued, they feel important and significant. Feelings that you want to feel from them. Interestingly they are now more likely to consider what you want to do. Instead of saying; At 10.00 o’clock I need you to clean the carpet. An hour later wash the dishes. They will say I was thinking that I would need you to clean the carpet and wash the dishes probably before lunch. That response would be less fixed. Less controlled. Giving you room to discern the best and fastest way to go about this.
The more you keep asking yourself who might need you today, the more you start seeing patterns in activities. You will realize every Saturday from around noon Mom rarely asks for things. As a result, you will nestle your book reading and binge-watching there.
Instead of the wrestle, you would have danced your way to rest. Just remember it takes two to tango!
Two truths can exist at the same time
In Nairobi, in every Matatu you board, there is a person who is experiencing a fairytale love story and a person who is the epitome of the big bedroom phenomena. What you need to understand is both realities coexist. We are not those views, those views are outside us. The view we chose is experiential.
So accept the beauty of your views and your views. In fact, seek opposing views. So instead of arguing with Tedd and Eddie ask them, “When did you start believing Nairobi is one bedroom?” Then just like the negotiator, you will realize that his shoulders will start moving downwards. His positional self will become a more reflective and nuanced self. Without you pushing he will tell you that deep down, every person in Nairobi’s bedroom is looking for an escape love story and he is the author of those stories.
As you dance instead of wrestle, you will realize that mentally you should be dynamic. Just like dancers are, moving from one position to the other. Realizing that every position has its truths and realities.
From defending emotions to generating emotions
This time. You don’t seek to have your friends be empathetic to your emotions. You seek to understand what makes your friend’s happy? You seek to ask why are they perennially unhappy?
So when they call you to tell you about their bad week. You stop them when you realize that they skipped that part of the story where they got a promotion. You stop them to tell them that they skipped that part of the story when they finally started talking with this girl they have been chasing.
What do you become? You become an empowering social mirror. Instead of showing them what they don’t have, which is you being happy when they are unhappy, you show them things to be grateful for in their lives. You tell positive stories. You see them as people who will find happiness, not people who are perennially sad. Through your stories, you connect them to happiness.
As you do this, you remember, when you are happy and someone else is not, it is not that you being happy denies them happiness. Happiness is not a commodity stocked on a shelf that ends. Happiness is something we can tap into at any moment. So all you do is you help them find it.
From the arm wrestle to the dance
Independence is not a fight. Independence is rhythmical. Melodious. Independence is when you understand that just like a dance no position is yours, time is shared, and just like music emotion is a vibration. Good vibrations are the ones you should choose to spread.
Don’t fight for it. Dance your way to it!