Monday, November 14, 2011

The Art of Allowing

I was flipping through emails recently when the phrase 'The Art of Allowing' caught my eye.  This concept proposes that we allow people, things and events to be as they are... not as we want or wish them to be.  In doing so, we free ourselves from the need to 'fix' things to our own predetermined sense of rightness.

Think of how much time and energy we expend in frustration and anger over people not doing as we want, as things not going how we'd like.  I see this wasted energy a lot during coaching sessions, where clients vent their frustration over someone close to them not behaving as a 'good' mother, sister, spouse, friend 'should'.  This type of thinking of course presupposes that we know the correct way to be, do or act in a given situation. 

In practicing the Art of Allowing though, we need to suspend this judgement of people and events.  We are asked to recognise that others have the right to choose their own course and that those choices may not always be in support of our desired direction.  Not choosing to move in our direction doesn't make them 'wrong', it just makes their path different.  As soon as we adopt the view that they are wrong though, we begin putting thought and energy into fixing or changing their choices and direction.  We engage our energy and action into 'correcting' their course and certainly get angry, frustrated, disappointed when they don't.

Most of us struggle at coming up with the energy we need to chart and stay our own course, let alone expending energy into plotting everyone else's.  The Art of Allowing though, frees us from fixing or changing events.  We learn to accept things as they are, not to expend energy wishing them to be different.  We fight for the right to make our own choices, to lead our own lives... the Art of Allowing asks us to remember that others have those same rights.  Learning to respect those rights is a natural corollary.

In short... I don't need to like or even approve of your choices, but I need to learn to acknowledge your right to make them.

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