I was in a conversation recently about how very few people love unconditionally; and even with the people who love with the best intentions, conditions become involved, subtly and on many occasions without anyone noticing. A common example of this being as simple as claiming to love a friend and wanting the best for them but when they choose a life partner you disagree with; the reaction is getting upset and forcing them into even more subtle ways of ultimatums because their choice of life partner is not someone you believe is “right” for them.
Continuing with this example, you, as the friend, really believes that you’re looking out for this person you love, you can see things they seem blind to and you “know them as well as they know themselves” so this therefore gives you the rights to make decisions on their behalf. From your friend’s side however, you love with condition; the condition being that they will have your love and friendship depending on who they choose to be with. You claim to want the “best” for the person; you want them to be “the best” they can be and then you proceed to tell them how they can do this.
Now, I’m not saying that you do not want the best for the person, but you want them to be the best they can be based on the journey you’ve outlined and your own experiences. Not theirs. Maybe the way they can get to their best version is by making choices you may not agree with or it may be through repetition of a certain action until they learn whatever lesson they’re meant to.
There are those people who want you to be the best version of yourself and understand that you’ll get there in your own time and in your own journey. Then there are those people who say they want the best for you because they think they know what is best for you. The only thing they know though is what has worked for them and ultimately they want you to the best version of you that they foresee; the one that fits into their world; not the best version of yourself that simply exists.
On reflection, this is the biggest learning I’ve taken away from coaching and the coaching journey I’ve been on for the past 3 or so years. I want to be the best version of myself. I want to be in control, but not of others, of only me. And if someone else sees me living this kind of life and it inspires or motivates them to be the best of themselves, then great! But this is a fine line isn’t it? We say we do not want to change others but in loving them and wanting the best for them, there is at times when a change in them is unavoidable. The question then changes slightly to us asking ourselves how we can allow others to be themselves and the best version of themselves without the expectation being that it fits our world.
If I could do this; allow someone to be the best they can be without holding them to any expectations, imagine the magic this would create? It reminds me of one of my favourite quotes, “Watch carefully, the magic that occurs, when you give a person, just enough comfort, to be themselves”. – Atticus.