Let me be
I've been meaning to write this for a while but was never able to because I never had the right mood when I was in front of the keyboard.
Today I was thinking about someone at work I somewhat frequently spar with because of his programming designs. I won't get into my specific reasons as that'll sidetrack what I want to talk about, but suffice to say I highly believe I'm right and that he's highly wrong. But today I was getting excited about planning for a programming task. All these ideas I've had in mind for a while I'll get a chance to implement them. It's fun! That's also when I started thinking about this other guy. He actually really enjoys development as much as I do. But I was thinking today how boring it would be if someone like me were constantly telling him to not do something the way he wants, but this other way instead. These opinions of mine I do believe are valid enough to bring to his attention to change, and I do. But...I'm killing his joy.
There really are some lessons in life that others can't learn for you. You can read it in a book until you're blue in the face, but you'll never grasp it, not really, until you live it. It's as if you need to be given a chance to do what you think you would never do. Until you have that real visceral choice, an experience that makes you truly question yourself, the learning doesn't really take root.
The overarching lesson for me in all this is a proper, or balanced, way of expressing myself. Not impressing my will upon others. The sun has enough energy to burn, but it can moderate it to warm. It's a tricky thing finding that balance between being a doormat and not expressing myself, and becoming a tyrant and lording over others. I think the thing I learned today is the importance of letting others be as they will be. It's their joy to experience and live as they please, regardless of what I feel about their form of joy.
An image that's always come to mind when I think about this concept are children in school. I imagine an 8th grader correcting a 3rd grader, frequently. While the 8th grader may be absolutely right in his teachings, the 3rd grader isn't learning, isn't enjoying being alive. Someone else is appropriating their joy of discovery from them. Besides, at some point the 3rd grader will become an 8th grader. The lessons will be learned, regardless of the road to get there.