On my way home yesterday, I spotted a neighbor stranded on the side of the road in her car. I pulled over and asked if she was O.K. She said the car was acting weird and she was reluctant to drive it the rest of the way home. I offered to drive slowly behind her until she got safely parked in the apartment complex parking lot.
I don’t see her often, and she is like me, she keeps pretty much to herself. I asked her if she had a good mechanic, and she said not anyone she could trust. I told her our other neighbor did have a good, honest and reliable mechanic, and I offered to get the info for her after the other neighbor got home.
She was very appreciative.
As I was relaxing at home, I became a little anxious, because now I had to follow through and do some legwork and get the info back to her by the evening or early morning.
I noticed I was feeling overly responsible, and it really annoyed me. I thought I had moved past all of that caregiving stuff. It was challenging to admit that I still had that reflex response that I was supposed to be there for others. Because it wasn’t just providing her with the information, it was the anxiety of, well, what if she needs a ride, or what if she needs other things now and I just don’t want to get involved.
I worked hard for my privacy and my sovereignty, and I wanted to make sure that was preserved. I feared becoming more involved than I really wanted to.
So, I just let my mind do its worst scenario, and decided that this was an excellent opportunity to drop the caretaking mode.
I had absolutely no obligation to this person. She is a grown woman and has family in the area, and is more than capable of taking care of the issue all on her own.
I decided that I would just let the whole thing go, since I didn’t want to go through the motions of assisting her. That was really hard to do, because all of my training told me I was being unneighborly, and I was being selfish, and what’s the big deal? Just do it.
And then there was a little bit of that sticky, icky stuff….”but what if I need help and then the neighbors won’t be there for me….blah blah blah.”
AND THEN THE GUILT
I did give into the voice, and I knocked on the other neighbor’s door to get the information from her, but there was no answer. I even walked outside a few times after five, because she often went out for some air during the evenings.
No luck. At that point I just surrendered to letting it go. And I noticed that there was this relief, that I didn’t have to do the caretaking any more.
I realized that it’s not just distancing myself from others, it’s also letting go of the notion that I had to make them feel more comfortable. I had to accommodate them.
There was a part of me that felt safe in that role. But that part of me was no longer serving me. Or anyone else. The part of me that responds to neediness in others.
I know it’s the light-worker gene, and the woman gene…a double whammy.
But a good friend helped me to see that it’s actually a gift to the others, when I allow them their own sovereignty. And not take on their unprocessed emotions.
So, I gave myself permission to just let it go, just let it all go.
This morning I walked outside to my car, and there was Amy, my neighbor who I wanted to ask about a good mechanic. She had one, gave me their name, said they were very honest and reliable, and said, to use her name as a reference.
And they also could tow Melody’s car for her.
I sat in my car, and began to write the information onto a piece of paper, and intended to leave the note at Melody’s door. Before I could get past the first sentence, Melody was approaching my car.
She was getting a ride from someone and spotted me.
I said I was just about to leave the note at her door, and she took the information with a hearty thank you.
So, there it is. Easy peasy.
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