Does anyone remember the line “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility?”
Whilst sitting on the plane to Bangkok and having the pleasure of watching the 2002 Spiderman Movie (think Toby McGuire and Sam Raimi – I was feeling a little adventurous) I heard the famous phrase, as quoted by Peter’s uncle just before his untimely demise.
Now I’m sure that everyone knows that within the context of the movie, that this spurned poor old Toby to become your friendly neighbourhood Spiderman, and the rest is history. And we may all be aware of the fact that life has an uncanny way of connecting a seemingly disparate series of events; insomuch that they seem completely exclusive of one another through our educated and conditioned human minds.
However, what about a situation or set of circumstances the recipient is not an unfortunate victim, but has the free-will (subject to interpretation) to make choices that may negatively affect them?
Before I got married some of my family members stayed quiet about their reservations, and only told me how they felt after my marriage had ended. Although they did keep asking me if I was sure that I was making the right decision for myself.
After hearing this I had some brief frustration, but shortly afterwards I came to the realisation that going through the experience was somewhat therapeutic, and that I would not have fully acknowledged by own inner demons and state of being, if I had not gone through with it. In fact, I probably would not have understood the ‘substance’ of their reservations or acknowledged my own; it would have merely been a decision made based on the approval of family and friends, and nothing more.
Going back to the title of this blog, both my friends and close family were in positions to influence my decision making, but in this particular circumstance it was not their responsibility to stop me from going ahead with the marriage, because it was within my own gift to change my own mind and course of action, unlike Peter’s poor uncle.
The majority of our social interactions with work acquaintances, friends and family are likely to revolve around every-day situations, in which they have the ability to influence their own circumstances (even if those changes require some level of discomfort). In such circumstances we should not be expected to make decisions on behalf of the other person.
It is not our responsibility to make their own decisions; rather, it is the individual themselves that must come to their own reasoned, and heart-felt conclusions in every-day life.
As the outsider we should be there to impartially listen and discuss (not debate) the mechanics of the situation; congratulate them if things work out, or comfort them if things don’t without judgement. In this way do we often learn because the experience allows us to better understand themselves, and by extension others. Whereas a purely intellectual, or conditioned response will never give us the insight or empathy to help others facing their own every-day dilemmas.