How much can you carry?
Recently I reached out to a friend of mine who was experiencing a lot of pain. She is a powerhouse Black female business owner who I have watched over the last four years grow, blossom and burst through glass ceilings. She is a true inspiration. But in this moment, she had run out of tears to cry and her pain had turned to anger.
She expressed her exhaustion. She expressed her frustration with ignorance. She expressed her disappointment in leaders she personally had relationships with who were completely missing the boat on how to rise up and follow through during this time.
I didn’t blame her. If I had spent my whole life trying to tell my perspective to anyone willing to listen, only to have people respond to it with words that told me my experiences weren’t relevant, believable, or worthy of change, I would want to scream too.
My heart hurt for her, but I was fully aware I didn’t have the capacity to feel the depth of her pain. I haven’t walked a day in her shoes. So I made her a different promise, one I hope you will join me in.
I will pick up my brick.
She has been carrying a heavy load, but it’s not possible for me to relieve any of it from her. What I can do is pick up my own load and go join her to get the work done.
It is so easy to hold an opinion. It’s even easier to click “share” on someone else’s opinion. What is not easy is taking action.
I would say it’s pretty near unanimous agreement that our world is hurting right now. Our country is broken. If for no reason other than we have developed deep-seeded divisiveness of one side against the other. But the solutions do not rest elsewhere. The solutions for a better future for America rests inside each one of us.
We are in the process of building a new house. A structure so large it can hold and support the diversity our beautiful melting pot of a nation has grown into.
And right now, we have a lot of people who are sitting in lawn chairs, sipping on Arnold Palmers, and telling the construction crew how to do their job. I can hear it now,
“You missed a spot”
“No, not that direction.”
“Hmmm…..I really disagree where that wall is being placed. Should be two feet that way.”
Not. Helpful. At. All.
If we want to live in a more beautiful version of America, then we all need to roll up our sleeves, put on some clothes we can get ruined, and start carrying some bricks over to the construction site. The crew doesn’t need our commentating, they need our help.
I am not here to tell you what your role in the project should be. When building a house someone has to bank roll it, someone has to be the architect, the plumber, the project manager, the landscaper, or even the babysitter for the guy/gal with a bunch of kids at home who wants to put in a 12 hour day. It takes a unified team effort.
It takes personal responsibility.
We each have a role to play. We each need to pick up our brick and contribute.
It may look like getting involved in initiatives in your local community. It may mean finding an organization whose work you fully support and sacrificing a few conveniences to donate to their work, or volunteer with them. It may mean something completely different.
If we want to unify our country and heal our country, it’s our job. There is no one else to blame. We have to each take personal responsibility for helping this nation through these most challenging times.
As Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
P.S. Personal responsibility overflows to EVERY area of our lives. I chose to write about current events today, but we could take this exact same conversation and apply it to relationships, health, career frustrations, or any spoke on the wheel of life that is struggling.
It’s no one else’s job to fix something in our lives. If we are experiencing frustration, the conversation of blame has GOT TO GO. There is no 50/50.
“Well, I did this but they did this, this and this.”
Nope. Their actions are not relevant. We need to own 100% of OUR END of the deal. Release any mental conversations around blaming anyone for anything. What action was within our control that would have created a better outcome? Own it. Period. End of story.
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