Personal development v duty to others

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Personal development v duty to others

Postby dermot » Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:20 pm

if i were to suggest, without wishing to cross other debates here, that the purpose of life was to further ones own personal development (ie to become the most realised person that you can)....which i think it probably is, how do you deal with the problem of reconciling that with duty to others (ie family etc).
Seems to me that its almost inevitable that a situation will arise where the choice is between duty to self and duty to others.
How do you deal with that, and how well do you cope with your decision (s)?

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Re: Personal development v duty to others

Postby Heidi » Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:58 am

It all depends on the duty and the people involved.

Let me give you an example that has caused a lot of debate in the Greek media lately.

A few months ago, a very beautiful, young and famous Greek actress decided to become a nun and she entered a convent on a remote island. Her mother was desperate, and whenever she was interrviewed on the radio or T.V. she begged her daughter to reconsider and come back home. Her friends and colleagues did the same, but she remained firm in her decision.

Personally, I fully support her decision and I think she is absolutely right to follow her heart and not to listen to her mother and friends, and I don't think of her as insensitive to others' feelings.

However, I would be totally against her following such a path if she had left her children behind.
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Re: Personal development v duty to others

Postby Ryan » Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:05 am

Yeah, I agree with Heidi. The only people I have a duty towards is my kids and my wife. My kids because I played a roll in putting them on this physical existence and it is my duty to make sure I do everything the best I can to make sure they are healthy enough to take control of their own lives when they are ready. My wife because I made a promise to her. Other than that I have no duty to anyone else other than to not impose my will upon them.

Now then... the above is not to say that I do not help others. I certainly do, what I am saying is that I am not obliged to. I will help everyone I can as long as it does not complicate my responsibilities as a father and a husband nor cause my kids or wife any problems (and of course me as well). The way I see it... my wife, kids, and I are one... we all want the same things in essence. So when an issue arises we talk and come to a solution together with which we are all going to be happy and then follow through.
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Re: Personal development v duty to others

Postby dermot » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:49 pm

Thanks Heidi, thanks Ryan, yeah i can see that the circumstances you both describe are easy to reconcile. I guess im thinking of circumstances where its maybe even more personal.

There may be a circumstance where after trying many times to be respectful of others, you decide that now, in this circumstance, you need to withdraw your support to respect your self and further your own being?

I am just wondering if you think this is possible, and would you actually do it?

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Re: Personal development v duty to others

Postby Heidi » Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:03 am

The family we create, as Ryan described it, and especially our children are the ones we should never abandon, or withdraw our support from, in favour of our personal development, whatever that development may be.

But every case is different from the others. Not two cases are similar, so we cannot generalize.

For example, if a woman had to do with an abusive husband, towards her and her children, then her duty is to break the bond with her husband and make sure her children are safe.

Dermot, if you have something more specific in mind, then we may be able to discuss it.
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Re: Personal development v duty to others

Postby Ryan » Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:17 am

Again... I have to agree...paint the picture and let's have a look.
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Re: Personal development v duty to others

Postby dermot » Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:19 pm

Actually i dont have a particular picture to paint...or do i ?
Ok, maybe this will help.....i have a brother and the lady he is married to (so family) has been less than honest in dealings around me and my children. This has caused upset, and in the short term (i hope) i have had to withdraw trust from them.
This i did, after trying to be supportive as a father and with regard to family ties etc.

Bottom line is, i took action to further my OWN peace of mind and integrity, rather than engage in a dance conducted by another, at my expense.

I found it hard to place my own needs first in this scenario, nevertheless i am more comfortable with the situation now even though its not resolved. I am wondering given that every situation delivers a message of sorts........if the message i needed to learn was to honor myself.

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Re: Personal development v duty to others

Postby Ryan » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:54 am

Dermot wrote:..if the message i needed to learn was to honor myself.
Very possibly, I have ... I say I... "we" are in a similar boat with my wife's sister and her family... quite a mess... for almost two years now it has been going on. But then again when it started we knew it probably wouldn't be a short term thing as before this last time there were already long term problems.

Here's the short version... as it is told to me, each time in the past that there were problems between my wife and her sister (my wife is the oldest by 4 years) she was always coaxed by her parents to be the bigger/wiser one, since she is older, and give in to the younger. From my understanding it has always been this way until the latest incident where the younger sister said something she probably didn't really mean, but rather than my wife just making excuses and going back to her sister and making everything "OK" she decided it was time she allowed her sister to do it. To come and admit she said something she didn't mean to say and express the desire to want to work things out... as I said, it has been two years.

You talk about waves!! Man, we caught **it from all sides. The grandparents couldn't be together with all their grandchildren, the kids couldn't go see their Aunt, Uncle, or cousins. It has calmed down in the meantime. There were moments when it seemed as if it would be easier to just give in but each time it came down to it the question came... would it help anything really? the answer came back... no. It would help others get what they wanted but it wouldn't help my wife or her sister actually work through the conditioning of their past and develop into a sincere relationship. We (us as a family - Me, my wife and kids) talked about it all, understood what we were doing, why we were doing it, and we all agreed that it was the right thing to do and we would deal with whatever came as a result together.

All in all, you could say this is for the greater good... Ok sure, but in essence this is for my wife in the sense that she always cherished the relationship she had with her sister and after all these years she realized that there were so many things her sister was holding between them that my wife's perception of their relationship was all her imagination. They never really had a relationship as she imagined it. The only possible way for her to even have a chance at having a relationship like she thought they had is if they can talk with each other openly and honestly about their problems... and so far it has been proven that they cannot.

Now then, I can imagine that the contempt you may have for your sister-in-law is quite large and I can imagine that you are not only removing yourself from the situation for your own peace of mind but also to not do something that you might regret, right? I would only say that it sounds to me like the smart thing to do, and the only thing I would add is to make sure that your actions are explained and understood by your children. Other than that, what else can you do? Why would you continue to subject yourself to such abuse who is to benefit from it? If you and your brother's wife can't work through your differences why would you want to "hang out" together?

I mean, if I had a problem with thieves why would I want to hang around with a pick pocket or a kleptomaniac... at least it would be easier to excuse the klepto's behavior as it is an illness...

Anyway... looking back at this I don't know if I really said anything to your dilemma... does it apply?
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Re: Personal development v duty to others

Postby dermot » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:50 pm

Actually Ryan, you got it spot on.
Its natural and right for people to show empathy and understanding, when you come up against someone (for whatever reason) who is unwilling or unable to play ball, then eventually doing the right thing may be unpopular but necessary.
I dont hold contempt for my sister in law, i outlined to her what i believed she had done and how unhelpful it had been to me as a father. She listened and made no attempt to change the dynamic, so thats fine, we know where we stand. Seems to me that sometimes we come up against ignorance in many different guises and we need to call it for what it is - and move on.
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Re: Personal development v duty to others

Postby Ryan » Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:39 pm

Well, you're a better man than I... I would probably have contempt as it is difficult enough being a parent to a child who is well on their way to becoming an adult without the additional help of others to undermine you as THE individual who cares most for them...
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