Recently, my voice-of-reason friend reminded me of a Yoruba saying that I have heard many times before, as it is who I am to be sometimes overly affected by the doings of those that are closest to me. In the midst of my frustrations, he always brings me back to the reality of most things really being none of my business.
I have had this conversation with him a thousand times and after a few minutes of unintelligible (for him) ranting/venting he usually, matter-of-factly (which I hate, of course) says:
There is a Yoruba saying: “Which one confines you?”
Me: (irritated that he is not revved up, too) What?
Him: Which one confines you?
Me: (I could think about it but, I usually choose not to) What is that supposed to mean?
Him: Why are you letting it bother you? (It could be anything and he would ask the same thing. He is so annoyingly right.)
What difference does it make to me the choices that you make in your life? Where is it my place to become bothered by your failure to act as I feel you should act, regardless of how completely logical my planned action for you is? Who am I to tell you how to do, what to do, when to do? The reality is, it is not my place. It cannot be my stress. Although I may be concerned over a given matter, it is not my concern.
I have been leaned on by so many people for so long that I am accustomed to carrying other people’s burdens even when they refuse to carry it themselves. My friends have watched me worry and stress over things that are out of my control for too long. I have watched and warned myself to stop letting these things bother me, telling myself: They are not your children. It is not your life. It is not your weight issue. It is not your health. It is not your relationship. It is not your job. It is not your plan…
I have preached to myself for years and still have to be reminded: Which one confines you?