We humans like to tell ourselves stories. Some of them are even true. And a lot of them are about what other people should do. Those are tricky words: what other people should do. When we think of what other people should do, we are getting off our path, distracting ourselves from what we need to be doing on our very own path, and playing god for them. Truly, we have no idea what someone else should be doing; that’s their path, their life, and they are just where they need to be. And we don’t have to understand it . . . and probably won’t. After all, it’s their path, not our path.

And some of the stories we tell ourselves just entertain us – endlessly. Sometimes for years on end. We even tell ourselves stories about people we love: friends, partners, children, spouses. We like getting off our path and trying to get on someone else’s path. It’s a very good distraction from our own life. But not useful, and a transgression of the Law of Individuality, which basically says, mind your own business. And ultimately, straying off our path and not minding our own business causes us to suffer.

We can wish people would be different, we can ask them to be different. And we may have to grieve that they are not what we would like them to be, or what we thought they were, or what they promised to be. And then we have to let it go. But we don’t give it up and let it go until we are tired of telling ourselves that story.

Fall is the time of letting go and making space to allow more good to come into our experience. The emotion that accompanies this season is grief. It’s sad when we realize this is just how this person (or perhaps ourself) is going to be. Sometimes we grieve because we have wished or expected for years that someone (or ourself) would be different. But in that awareness, we can make a choice. We can stop telling ourselves the story of how wrong this person is, and decide if we want to have this person in our lives, decide if there is enough good here. We can give up the story, give up the expectation, give up the anger, give up the disappointment. Gradually, in baby steps, with a lot of giving up, willingness, letting go and sadness, as we are ready. We do this according to our path. Our higher self knows the right time. And eventually, we get tired of the old stories and they no longer entertain us.

And when we are ready, we may even tell ourselves a new story of how much compassion and tenderness we have for ourselves. Which then allows us to have compassion and tenderness for others, for how hard our journeys can be. And that makes it easier to let go of the old, tired stories that truly don’t serve us because they block our flow of loving kindness. That’s when we suffer and are in pain. When we restore our flow of love and good feeling for ourselves, then it naturally fills us up and flows to those around us . . . even to those whom we find so challenging.