Fighting for People’s Comfort

In 2009, after I had been through over a year of different rehabs and AA meetings, I relapsed. It was worse than ever within the first day, and I was smoking crack and heroin within 12 hours.

After one week like this I was a few thousand dollars in debt, and my friend Zach that I’d avoided all week found me. I told him what had happened, and he told me he was going to turn me in to our treatment center and my parents. I literally cried and begged him not to because I didn’t want to disappoint them, and I absolutely didn’t want to stop. He looked at me and said, “I don’t give a fuck about your feelings. I just care about your life.”

Once he turned me in to everyone I got clean again quickly. It was still early enough on that I had the sense to quit and get back on track.   Had that friend been worried about me sobbing and keeping me from being “sad” I might still be using.

Today those words have a much different meaning to me. Our friend Annie articulated it better than I’ve ever heard. To paraphrase her she said “Rather than fighting for people’s comfort, fight for their excellence; fight for the highest version of themselves.”

What it means to me is that we should hold people to the highest standard possible. Support them in growing in every aspect of their lives.

To be totally cliché, since I’ve met Adee I feel like I’ve made as much or more personal growth as any point in my life. Yeah “she makes me a better person.” It has to do with that idea I just mentioned. She knows my biggest dreams and passions, and I’m clear with her about the man I want to be. So when I do things that are not in line with those dreams, or I’m NOT being the person I said I wanted to be she calls me out (in many different ways). She holds me to the highest standard possible. Some moments I absolutely hate it because it’s uncomfortable, but it’s always worth it.

I have two goals related to this that I highly recommend to anyone reading:

  1. Always hold people to the highest standard possible. If I see them “hiding out” from growth in one area of their life (physically, emotionally, career, etc), I make them aware of it and support them through it, even if it makes them mad at me or even hate me for some time.
  2. Surround myself with people that do that for me. Rather than just befriending people that make me “feel good,” spend a significant amount of time with ones that challenge me, argue with me and make me a better person.

Learn to embrace the discomfort. It’s just a sign of growth.

6 comments on “Fighting for People’s Comfort”

  1. I love this Michael.

    Realizing that you were raised and believed in a cult, well into adulthood, will humble and humiliate you, like nothing else. It will force you to see the magnificent beauty in being wrong. The ability to course correct which can force you to shake up your life and make you begin to live the biggest, best and fullest life possible. Some call the last few years of my life a mid-life crisis. I like to call it an awakening. What it is, is a gift.

    However, since I left the Mormon church, I have really struggled with this idea of fighting for people’s comfort. What do I do now? With my loved ones? Those still caught in the cult? Not the same as a drug addiction for sure, but I see them, day in and day out living their lives devoted to a lie. Giving 10% of their income, which at times amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars every single year. And for what? Are they hurting themselves? I suppose not. They say they are happy. Comfortable. But are their beliefs hurting others? One could argue they are. LDS LGBTQIA youth are certainly dying over the policies. So I’m caught. Between this idea of live and let live, and feeling like I need to save all my family and friends who are still caught up inside of it all (or fight for their excellence). Many of my friends and family who still believe wonder why I can’t just let it all go. The truth is, just like your family and your friend Zach loved you, I also love mine. I just love my people and want them to be free of dogma. I want to save them. From their own comfortable existence. I feel like Annie does. I love that quote. I want them to know what I know. I see them as really comfortable. Like I was for 34 years. I refuse to remain silent, and not talk about the weird parts of the history of their church because it makes them uncomfortable. I want them to be excellent humans. I want them to think for themselves. I want them to be the best versions of themselves possible. However I have found what Mark Twain said to be true, ” it is much easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”

    Anyway, many thoughts to think on this. I hope I can always continue to constantly and thoroughly examine my own beliefs and opinions so I don’t fall into the trap of “knowing” anything again and remain constantly humble.

    Thanks for this blog Michael and Adee, it makes me a better human every day. I love it.

      1. Yes, absolutely. Always striving to be better. I know I have blind spots and probably huge ones, especially in this particular situation because the whole thing is so close to my heart. I’d love any input you may have.

  2. I would recommend leading your loved ones by example. SHOW them how to live a happy, wholehearted life by doing it yourself. Engage with them. Spend time with them. Let it organically rub off on them.

    Trying to convince them that what they think is wrong is not only ineffective, it probably distances you from them. You can debunk some of their beliefs about non-believers by just being happy, serving others, etc.

    We can’t control what our people believe and don’t. Trying to is exhausting. Just be the absolute best daughter, sister, cousin, friend, mother, wife you can be to all of your people, and if they are open to learning and evolving they will. You’re an amazing person Amy. Glad to know you.

    1. Thanks Michael. Everything you said about trying to convince others is so true. Great advice. Glad to know you as well. Keep doing what you are doing. Love this new blog. Still loving the Brute podcast. Loved when Adee interviewed you recently. She is a wonderful interviewer. If the new zennjuice podcast will be anything like that, I can’t wait. Inspiring to see you chasing your dreams. Thank you, thank you again for the words of wisdom.

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