Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday Musings: Tectonic shift occurring


No, we're not having an earthquake. But I'm having an internal one. Ever since I could walk and talk, I've been taking care of others. I felt it was my job to make my parents happy, for starters. Then, every relationship, every friendship, I made their well-being my responsibility.

A recent revelation showed me that there was an unconscious motivation for this: I wanted to be loved and that was my way of ensuring that would happen. Only it didn't and doesn't. I also realized that I don't like it when people step in and offer me unsolicited advice, so isn't it rather arrogant of me to assume others want mine?

This has been a mega part of my persona, and letting go of it makes me feel unsteady. Where I would normally phone or email someone I haven't heard back from to make sure they are okay, I'm not. If someone tells me their problems, I'm not coming up with solutions--unless they ask.

That is the key for me -- wait to be asked. Or ask if they want to hear my thoughts before bursting forth with my wisdom.

It is a delicate balance to recognize when I want to step in and assume responsibility for something that isn't mine and not do that -- and to remain a loving, caring person who likes to help others. I'll keep sharing as I figure it out.

What are you musing about today?


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen .. it's a good lesson to learn, but a difficult one .. like you I know too well. As someone said to me .. look after yourself, everyone else will look after themselves in the way they feel they need to ...

So care and be loving as you know how .. with many thoughts .. Hilary

Odie Langley said...

A very good post Karen and so true. I guess the strongest thing on my mind this morning is my new adventure that will begin next monday as I start school again for the first time in 44 years. Exciting and a little scary.

Manzanita said...

Dear Karen, Now that you aware of your challenge, it is a steep up-hill climb. What you are trying to overcome has been ingrained since childhood. I'm on your page as I've been through the same struggles. Soon the hill won't seem so steep. I'll meet you at the top. :)


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The very first year of marriage I learned not to offer my opinion or a solution unless asked. Now I just listen. My wife is very happy with that arrangement!

Julie said...

It's so interesting that you posted about this today, as I was wrestling with this issue over the weekend. In the past I've always been the one to call or e-mail someone I haven't heard from in a while, and I was going to do it again over the weekend, but I decided to let it go as it's not my responsibility and I've already tried my best with this person. It's kind of a liberating feeling to let go of that feeling of obligation.

Great post!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Good advice...I'm frequently guilty of trying to be a problem-solver and some folks just want to talk about the problems!

Karen Walker said...

It's so nice to know you're not the only one dealing with a particular issue. Thanks, Hilary.
Odie, I went back to school in my fifties and it was one of the best things I've ever done. Good luck!
Manzanita, see you at the top!!!
Alex, yes, men seem to learn this rather quickly if they want a good relationship. Good for you.
Julie, we can support each other thru this change in our behavior.
Elizabeth, it's really changed how I am moving thru my world.

Evanir said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Suze said...

I like your wisdom, Karen. And am very happy to have crossed paths.

I look forward to getting together for another coffee once I am back in town and the little one is back to school.

Inner tectonic shifts are major and sometimes require a proper coffee and a listening ear to sift through to satisfaction. Onward.

Your friend,

Karen Walker said...

Thanks, Suze. I am happy we crossed paths as well. Would love coffee when you get back.

Pearson Report said...

Hello gorgeous red head...by the way, how is that new look doing?

Seems like lots of changes are going on, both externally and also internally - ah...the ebb and flow of life!

Steady as she goes, mate!

This post really hit home for me...I'm a wee bit of a here-let-me-do-it-for-you kind of gal! But, with great determination I have been making some headway in this area too.

They say recognizing there is a problem is half the solution!

Hugs, Jenny

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Pass some extra caring my way, Karen. I tend to be the opposite - I get so wrapped up in my own world, I forget about others. It's not that I don't care, reaching out just doesn't register on my brain when I'm busy.

Karen Walker said...

Hey there, Jennny - missed you. Thanks for the compliments. Nice to have a fellow traveler on this road.
Diane, sending it thru cyberspace as we speak. And I get that when we're so busy we just don't think the same way. Maybe I need to find more things to do (LOL).

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

It's a tough lesson to learn, isn't it? I've always tried to mother the world, always felt guilty if I haven't spoken to XYZ in awhile. But I finally realized: the phone works both ways!! Woo HOO!!!!

Michelle Fayard said...

Although it took several years of backward-sliding New Year's resolutions as I tried to convince myself it not only was OK but it would be beneficial if I were to "just" let go, I'm very slowly starting to put this theory into practice. And you're right; it works and beautifully so! Even though I've seen the proof of it, why is it so difficult to remember to act upon? LOL

Arlee Bird said...

I think I've been almost the opposite of you. I did a pretty good job of taking care of my daughters when they were growing up and I tend to listen to friends when they need someone to talk out their concerns with, but I also enjoy being catered to and doted upon.

Tossing It Out

Jules said...

I am the same way, always helping and soliciting, still haven't learned that "ask first" part. Maybe one day. It's hard for a hillbilly to not give advice. :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

I always relate to what you say! Our dear friend, psychologist Bernie Katz co-authored a great book called, "Actually, It IS Your Parent's Fault!" It's about how our relationships are so formed and influenced by our earliest ones - the ones with our parents. I think you'd like it, as it speaks to the kinds of things you say here. Being responsble for other's happiness. I do it too! But I've realized, it's not my job! I love your willingness to share - I always find the really "human" blog posts get the best response.