Months ago I was invited to celebrate the birthday of a friend’s daughter. As the fourteen-year-old went to blow out her candles, she paused, looked at all the faces around the table and asked, “Can you make wishes for other people?”
I was stunned and touched by the question. “Yes, of course,” I answered. She pondered for a moment, squeezed her eyes shut and blew out the candles in one, deep exhale.
I felt the weight of her wish—how important it was to her that it come true, how desperately she felt this wish would help the person on the other end of it.
It can be a powerful thing to make a wish for someone we love. It’s a silent prayer that puts no pressure on the individual as to what it is you want, while sending a potent message to the Universe.
Though it can be a beautiful sentiment and done with the best of intentions, it reminded me of one key thing.
When we wish for others, we must be careful to leave our judgments or particular outcomes out of it.
I thought of the countless times in my own life when I made wishes for the people I love. They were usually incredibly detailed and specific.
For instance, I’ve wished for friends to leave a disastrous relationship within a certain time span.
I’ve also wished for loved ones not to suffer as much as they were going through something difficult and for them to change the situation in a particular way.
On the surface, these seem like loving desires for the people I was thinking of. And they were. I truly had the best of intentions as I wished, prayed and hoped for the outcome I wanted for them.
At the time, I thought my prayers would be the best thing for them, but now I realize how narrow-sighted my visions were.
With time on my side, I can see that my friends crossed paths with these boyfriends for a specific reason. In those relationships they grew and learned about themselves and what they wanted from a partner. Had the relationships ended when I wanted them to, it may have been premature.
As for watching loved ones suffer—through bad jobs, financial struggles or heartache—I also see now how these events all helped push them to a better place. They needed to experience the rough times in order to come out on the other side stronger and wiser than ever before.
Of course, I understand it’s easy to look at someone’s life and paint a picture we like more. The brush strokes are filled with colors with names like, “they should do this,” “I would never do that,” and the best one of all, “if only they would listen to me!”
But deciding what we think someone else’s life should look like can be damaging. It’s not only damaging for the person we are thinking about, but it’s also destructive to our own spirit.
Because the thing is there’s a very good chance the person will make choices and live a life that doesn’t look anything like the vision we created. And when that happens, we can be left feeling angry and frustrated. That anger and frustration may build up to a resentment so strong that eventually it causes a deep fissure in the relationship.
That happened once with me and a friend.
One day my friend sent an email, unleashing her true feelings about what was happening in my life. It turned out she didn’t approve of who I was dating, how I was conflicted about a job offer, and a bevy of other things.
When I didn’t heed her advice, we stopped talking. She didn’t like that I wasn’t listening and I didn’t like knowing how different her views were for me from what I desired.
Because that’s the other thing. We have to remember that sometimes what we wish for others, isn’t what they are wishing for.
This lesson impacted the way I look at my loved one’s lives and decisions. I constantly remind myself that what I want, or what they want, may not be what’s ultimately the best thing.
After all, maybe the dream is beyond both of our imaginations.
When we wish in details and specifics we may be doing more harm than good. We may be limiting the possibility for something far greater than we can envision.
So now, when I find myself wanting to make a wish for someone else, I simply ask the Universe to work things out in a way that would serve the person’s highest good. I wish for the best possible outcome, the one that will ultimately bring them the most happiness, health, abundance and love.
When I looked back at the birthday girl that day, I could see the despair in her eyes. I had a feeling what her wish may have been. I started to say a silent prayer that her wish would come true, but then I remembered this friend from years ago, the lesson it taught me and instead, I asked for something else.
I wish for the situation to resolve itself for the highest good for everyone involved.
Angie Sarhan received her M.F.A in Creative Non-Fiction from Emerson College. She currently teaches college writing. When she’s not teaching, she enjoys traveling, cooking and writing—especially her inspirational, positivity-packed, sometimes humorous, always lighthearted blog. For more inspiration, you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Image courtesy of freestocks.org.