This week I’ve been working on practicing lovingkindness and one of the phrases that Sharon suggested for week 4’s lovingkindness practice has really resonated with me:  

I wish you happiness and peace, and I know I cannot make your decisions for you.  

I love planning.  I love planning so much that that when my loved ones fail to make plans or decisions, I try to fill that empty future space for them. I imagine that this is helpful, but it often leads to difficult situations when my plans for them don’t reflect their personal wants and needs. My desire to help and my belief that I know “what’s best” for those close to me comes from a positive place—I want my friends and family to be happy. But when I don’t allow them to make their own decisions, it leads to anger, frustration, and disappointment for everyone.  

So for the past few days I’ve been practicing walking meditation and repeating the phrase I wish you happiness and peace, and I know I cannot make your decisions for you (with a special emphasis on the second half of the sentence!) as I walk. As each day passes, I’m finding it’s easier and easier to let go of the narrative that I know what’s best, and I’m learning to let life unfold for my loved ones, without constantly intervening.

—Rachel Hiles, Managing Editor

Dharma to your inbox

Sign up for Tricycle’s newsletters

Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.

Liberate this article!

You’ve read all three of your free articles for the month. Subscribe now for immediate access to the magazine plus films, video dharma talks, e-books, and more.

Subscribe Now

Already a subscriber? Log in.