Getting and Giving a Break

by Bob Schwartz

Everyone is someone else’s pain, or at least pain in the ass. We don’t always know this or acknowledge it about ourselves, thinking how we are put upon or suffering at the hands of others, yet unwilling to see how others are overlooking our own silliness or meanness.

We are constantly getting breaks from family, friends and particularly from those in loving relationships. Since we can’t actually count the number of breaks we get—most are silently and even unconsciously given—the best path to balance is to give breaks to others as infinitely as possible. This can seem painful, because we are convinced it is our duty to make the world or someone we know and love “better.” Except that more than we realize, others are making the world better by allowing us to be who we are without comment or critique. Compassionate criticism has its place, but so does giving breaks, more often than we do.