I always remember this scene: My cousin, much younger than me, was three years old. I was about twelve… We were in the dining room at my grandmother’s house. My cousin came running and took the coffee table ahead. He fell sitting on the floor crying. He had hit himself hard and soon after a small lump the size of a peach stone appeared on his forehead.
My aunt who was in the room ran to hug him and while he asked me to bring ice she said to my cousin:
Poor thing, bad the table that hit you, click on the table … while she patted the furniture inviting my poor cousin to imitate her …
And I thought: What is the teaching? The responsibility is not yours that you are a clumsy, that you have three years and that you do not watch where you walk; blame it on the table. The table is bad.
I tried to understand, more or less surprised, the hidden message of the bad intentions of the objects. And my aunt insisted that my cousin hit the table …
It seems funny to me as a symbol, but as a learning it seems sinister: you are never responsible for what you did, the fault is always on the other, the fault is from the outside, not you, it is the other who has to stop being in your way so that you don’t hit yourself …
I had to go a long way to get away from the messages of the aunts of the world. It’s my responsibility to get away from what hurts me. It is my responsibility to defend myself from those who harm me. It is my responsibility to take charge of what happens to me and to know my share of participation in the events.
I have to realize the influence that everything I do has. For the things that happen to me to happen to me, I have to do what I do. And I’m not saying that I can handle everything that happens to me but that I am responsible for what happens to me because in something, even if it is small, I have collaborated to make it happen. I can’t control the attitude of everyone around me but I can control mine. I can act freely with what I do. I will have to decide what to do.
With my limitations, with my miseries, with my ignorance, with everything I know and learned, with all that, I will have to decide what is the best way to act. And I have to act in the best way. I will have to know myself more to know what my resources are. I will have to love myself enough to privilege myself and know that this is my decision. And I will have, then, something that comes with autonomy and that is the other side of freedom: courage.
I will have the courage to act as my conscience dictates and to pay the price. I will have to be free even if you don’t like it. And if you are not going to love me as I am; and if you are going to leave my side, just as I am; and if in the longest and coldest night of winter you are going to leave me alone and you are going to go … close the door, did you see? because the wind comes in. Close the door. If that is your decision, close the door.
I’m not going to ask you to stay a minute longer than you want. I tell you: close the door because I’m staying and it’s cold. And this is going to be my decision. This transforms me into a kind of being unmanageable. Because self-reliant people are unmanageable. Because you only handle a self-reliant if he wants to.
This means a very forward step in your history and in your development, a different way of living the world and probably means starting to know a little more who is next to you.
If you are truly self-reliant, some of the people next to you are likely to leave … Some may not want to stay. Well, you will pay that price too. We will have to pay the price of supporting the games of some around me and preparing to celebrate the arrival of others (Perhaps …) ”