What if others could hear your struggles with your conscience? That tug of war between what you think you should do and what your really want to do. Or, sorting out words that shouldn’t even be roaming around your head let alone said out loud. What if people could hear you thinking “Can I say this? That’s probably inappropriate no matter how true.” I have recently decided that I need to keep a thesaurus handy for those moments when my appropriate words fail me and my conscience is on mute.
I was sitting next to Thing 2 while she practiced her piano and she was being particularly goofy. She was complaining about having to repeatedly play each song so many times; stopping and starting and stopping and starting. Usually this is not the case and she willingly practices without much urging, but this particular night was not that easy. I reminded her that if she would just sit down and focus, she could get it over with in no time. Still she dilly – dallied. Suddenly she stopped, looked at me and said “You hear that voice? That’s my conscienence.”
“Your conscienence? Do you mean your conscience?” I asked.
“Yes, my conscience.”
For a minute I wondered if she really thought that her conscience is supposed to be heard outside of her head. I also wondered if she might be hearing voices and losing her mind. Then she said “It says focus! focus! and then I focus on my piano playing.” That was about the time that I realized that I heard it, too and looked up to see her sister, Thing 1, standing on the stairs whispering “Focus! Focus!” Not your conscience at all, girlie. Just a sister who wants you to get done with piano practice because she desperately wants to play mermaids with you.
Lately, I have been pretty much consumed by a few situations where what I want to do is vastly different from what I believe I should do. I have always been one to be governed by doing the right thing. Rise above it all and take the high road. Yep, that’s me in a nut shell. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to question my motives and if, in fact, what appears to be right is really right. Here’s the thing – sometimes when you do something just because you think it’s the right thing to do, you end up sacrificing so much of yourself that it doesn’t benefit anyone. You feel drained, unappreciated, bitter and angry. Often no one even notices how it’s affecting you, including you. It’s after you step out of the situation that you feel relief from pressure that you don’t even realize that you’re under.
Admitting all of this to a friend or a loved one who has grown to expect a certain response from you isn’t always easy. In fact, it might even feel a bit like you’re failing someone who has come to depend on you. You’re not. I’m not. I’ve had to learn this for myself. Of course, there are times when doing the right thing is absolutely necessary, regardless of how you or I might feel about it. However, I’ve had to learn that at times, what I’m listening to isn’t my conscience at all, but some crazy notion that I have to be more than I really am. I don’t. There will be times when what I say and do may seem to be selfish or self-serving and it might actually be true. I’m okay with that because for the first time in my adult life, I’m okay with not needing to be everything to everyone in my life. I have absolutely nothing to prove. I’m 47-years-old and I’d say that it’s about time.