What Kind Of ‘Supporting Actor’ Are You In The Lives Of Others?
Humans love stories. That's why we love books and movies. Perhaps because we relate to the stories we're told because we are walking through our own life narratives. It's even natural for us to view our lives a bit like a movie.
It has a beginning and then the plot continues throughout our days. There are ups and downs, joys and pains, and yet the story continues. People come in and out of our lives --some stay for the duration, and others seem to come in for what feels like a "cameo" before they exit stage left and we never see them again.
The narrative of our lives becomes more evident once we get a little bit older and begin to reflect back on how people have affected us. Some of the supporting actors feel like great blessings. Others seem to have come into the picture to challenge and teach us things. Honestly, some feel like they are primarily the cause of turmoil, whether true or not. Whatever the case, it is common to see things from our own points of view and see ourselves as the "lead" character in our own stories.
However, it is interesting to reflect on the fact that in the lives of others, although not the central characters, we have the opportunity to play an important supporting role in their stories. Just like we seem to be the main characters in our own lives, it feels the same for each person on this planet. We have a choice in how we choose to "play our roles" in the lives of others.
Reflecting on this allows us to consciously decide to be better parents, more supportive friends, loving aunts and uncles, and even to have a positive effect on those whose life paths we cross only briefly--whether it's a romantic relationship that doesn't stand the test of time or even with the waiter we encounter at the coffee shop. We can choose to be loving, kind, or encouraging. We can also choose to be negative and difficult.
Of course, as human beings, we are all going to make mistakes, even in the closest relationships we have while we are here. In fact, going through struggles can deepen these relationships. There can be something strengthening to a relationship once we move past struggles together or have the chance to make amends to those we've wronged.
So, I'm not suggesting the goal is to live like Pollyanna-like automatons. For me, it's having the awareness of the role we play in their lives and to seek to take a birds' eye view of their story. What ways can we change the trajectory of the lives, days, even moments of someone else's story for the better?
This is something I try to ponder everyday, and I thought I'd share it with you. Whether in a lead or supporting role, here's to playing each of our parts well.
Break a leg. ;)