Can you hold others as Able?
This is a powerful concept that is desirable but must be handled with extreme care – it is as sensitive as gelignite.
It is faith-based. That is, you believe it or you don’t, you want to move in that direction or not. It’s completely up to you.
It is validation of another person.
It is the position that that person is capable, in all respects, to deal with what comes their way. They are Able, in your consideration.
One obvious example is: babysitting. Let’s say you are the parent of twin 14 year old daughters. One is studious, makes her bed in the morning, is organized and already knows a lot about cooking; the other is slovenly, inattentive, irresponsible. If you let the first go babysitting in the neighbourhood, you are holding her as Able. Able to get along with the kids, able to handle tasks like getting them to bed, able to handle any emergency that might arise. That is holding her as able.
The odds are lower on the other twin, but it’s one of the mysteries of life that holding someone as able even when you have doubts can sometimes have surprisingly positive results.
“It takes love to hold on when you want to let go. It takes love to let go when you want to hold on.” ― Kate McGahan
We’re faced with this choice frequently, in our family, among friends, and at work.
Choosing to hold one as able is the executive dream: appoint someone smarter than you and let them do their job – with your help and to your mutual credit.
In our personal lives this comes up as a disagreement, as an illustration, about what a friend is about to do. I’ve found in life that you can say – and justify – anything you want to your friend. Just on the basis that you’re their friend and want the best for them. Once. Be clear, be persuasive if you want, make sure they “hear” you. Then: Shut Up. Anything more is nagging. And, I suggest, you take it a step further.
Inherent in seeing another as able is: Trust. I was taught many years ago that trust must be earned. That’s not always true, people sometimes misplace their trust on incomplete information. Along the trails of life, trust grows; wise adults have been burned often enough to invest their trust sparingly and by degrees. Just because you can babysit doesn’t mean I should trust you to drive a car. With youth it’s parental responsibility to guide decisions with an insight not possible in younger lives. And as your child is capable of more, it’s parental responsibility to give more autonomy on a progressive scale.
“Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.” ---Deborah Reber
Trust is not the only component of this concept. Among adults, at least, Respect is part of the equation. If you want to be trusted and respected yourself, you have to treat others the same way. This doesn’t disparage helpfulness, but in the end you have to accept the choices of others: they are adults with all their faculties; even if they make a mistake in your eyes, there is never a time for “I told you so.”
There is also: Accountability. “You didn’t get the results you wanted – what are you going to do differently?” It is not your job to judge others’ decisions. It is a spiritual maxim that the worst things in our lives may, beyond our ability to see, become the foundation of the Better. Again, you can only require this of yourself, but it is fundamental in life that accepting accountability for your actions and words is unavoidable if you are to grow and improve your life. Considering life from a Victim mentality gives away all your power.
“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” ---Albert Einstein
And the final injunction is: Support. This has guided the military for millennia. Many have input on a decision. But once the decision is made, everyone swallows their objections or works on resolving them within the larger framework – once the decision is made, everyone gets behind it. In daily life, this means support for the decision maker, whatever the issue. Don’t make it a, “I was against this but since we’re/you’re doing this, I could…” Just take the second half. Make suggestions to help the decision succeed, sure. Help fix it if it all goes wrong. Put yourself in gear to make positive contributions, and treat the decision as if it were your own.
You can see how this concept is dangerous. Not everyone is able, so the concept benefits by selective application. As with children, people grow their abilities; discernment (not judgment) is needed.
To practice it, try using it on yourself, the only one you control. Hold yourself as Able to handle whatever comes your way. Take time to recognize the results. Hold yourself as able and accountable and you’ll find these are building blocks to make things better; you’ll never regret the time you put in.
“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” ---Golda Meir