How Many Donkeys are you Carrying on Your Back?

Before you roll your eyes, let me explain why this question does make sense. It came up in a recent conversation with a friend. No, neither one of us raises or plans to raise donkeys; it’s related to a retelling of an old Aesop fable that goes something like this:

A grandfather and his grandson are walking to the market with their donkey, and they pass a man who berates the grandfather: “Look at the young child with his short legs: he can barely keep up with you and the donkey, why aren’t you letting him ride the donkey?” This makes sense to the grandfather, and he hoists his grandson onto the donkey, and they continue down the road, the grandfather walking on the side of the donkey, and his grandson riding it.

Another stranger passes by and says: “It’s sad to see an elderly man strain to keep up with the donkey, while a young, healthy boy leisurely rides the donkey.” The grandfather agrees that he shouldn’t have to struggle on the long walk to the market, and so he too mounts the donkey and the three continue, grandson and grandfather on the donkey, heading to the market.

A third stranger passes by and says: “What has the world come to that two healthy humans are riding a miserable looking donkey who’s straining to move forward with that great weight on its back.” The grandfather and grandson exchange a sheepish look, stop, dismount, and hoist the donkey on their shoulders, continuing down the path carrying the donkey… 

My friend and her husband are in the process of making one of those life-changing decisions which she believes will be better for her, for her husband, and for their children long-term. I believe she’s right. But most of her family and friends are berating her for the decision, with veiled and not-so-veiled threats, guilt trips, and warnings, mostly stemming, she tells me, from them not wanting her to go forward with it.

And each one of those guilt trips, each one of the ominous warnings is now a donkey she carries on her back. Because, like the moral of the fable tells us, when you try to please everyone, you end up carrying a donkey on your back. And so we talked about which donkeys she’ll willing to continue to carry, and which ones are just not worth it. The decision isn’t easy for her even without so many second-guessing her, and it’s more difficult still since some of the donkeys she’s carrying are a potential rift between her and her family and many of her friends.

What do you think? Do you carry any donkeys on your back?

For more on this and other Endless Weekend topics, please visit us at our personal blog, The Endless Weekend, the journey begins here.


78 thoughts on “How Many Donkeys are you Carrying on Your Back?

  1. I carried a donkey on my back most of my life 😕 I am finally learning to speak up and to do what is best for me – well, most of the time. Sometimes I still catch myself carrying that donkey, rolling my eyes that it has happened AGAIN, and gratefully (sometimes resentfully) putting it down. I love a good fable. There is always so much wisdom in them. I wish your friends the strength it requires to do what they think is best, even as the people surrounding them feel they have a right to think (and dictate; even threaten) differently. It can take a great deal of courage to follow your own heart…🙏💕

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing and for your wishes to my friend: she is going ahead with her decision, and I know she’ll gain a drove of donkeys on her back as a result 🐴 🐴 🐴… May I ask you how you learned to shake some of those off so I can share with my friend on her “journey to the market”?

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      1. I have done a LOT of soul searching… I have always been a people-pleaser; had a major epiphany a few years back and discovered I am codependent. I read a lot about it at the time and have been learning to speak up for myself ever since. It’s not easy – and I have days where it’s one step forward; two steps back – but I have made SO much progress! I wrote about it, awhile back. If you think my story can help your friend, feel free to share it:
        https://wednesdayschildca.wordpress.com/2022/11/17/part-one-the-epiphany/

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      2. Hi Patti, thanks for sharing this! Like you, I’m a people pleaser. I don’t like conflict – or any form of it if I can avoid it. But, I also learned as my first marriage was failing that I was codependent as well. I joined Al-Anon and learned so much! That was years ago, but sometimes I still break out my books and relearn things I’ve either forgotten or passed over and found myself in the “two steps back” rather than forward. It’s definitely still a learning process for me. But, I’ve found it’s way better for my mental and physical health to try and not pick up donkeys as often as possible. Thanks again for sharing your story! Best wishes!

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      3. Indeed! Remember that saying “a problem shared is a problem halved”? I think that’s one of those rare situations where not only is the problem halved, but it helps the people you’ve shared the problem with as well.

        THANK YOU for sharing (caps intentional)!

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  2. Thanks, EW. I think the quote you’ve offered, “Not everyone will understand your journey” is such a good reminder. It’s important to make our own decisions and often I’ve let input from others (sometimes spoken, sometimes not) do the driving, the navigating. I don’t mind a co-pilot 😉but in my life? I need to be behind the wheel…or as you so wisely shared with us this morning, decide which donkeys, if any, I’ll carry. xo to you! 💕

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    1. Thank YOU, Vicki! That portion resonated with me, too! I admire the self-knowledge and awareness you’ve had, and the strength of character that it takes to recognize a donkey before hoisting it on one’s back and the courage to reject them! Was this something you were able yo do since you were a child? Do you think it was because of moving frequently in your childhood? Something else?

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      1. You are such a love and you ask great questions. I don’t know how you hold all of these nuggets from your blogging friends in your head and heart, but you’re right on! Lots of moves while I was growing up and tending to my mom with mental health issues and my sister’s disabilities taught me that I needed to be very deliberate about my choices because I tend to pick up burdens that aren’t mine to carry. Way too easily. You are a marvel, EW – and I love the comments that I’m seeing to your post…such a potent reminder, my friend. xo! 💕💕💕

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      2. The marvel is you, Vicky. It seems like almost without trying you can make deep and lasting connections, so it’s small wonder I remember the wonderful, touching, and sometimes painful stories you were so generous to share.

        It makes me wonder now, if the only way to learn some lessons is “the hard way”? What do you think?

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      3. Hello, dear one. ❤️ I do think I found my way to empathy because of challenges…and because I found loving people – just like you – around every corner. 🥰

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  3. I have carried a few donkeys in my life. I once had an unhealthy guilt complex about what I did or did not do enough of or what I did too much of. I think guilt is a learned behavior (both giving and accepting) and has no business in a healthy relationship. I learned to follow my instincts and take away the power of guilt hoisted upon me. If carrying that donkey was so important to family and friends, I felt they would have offered to carry it for a while. I wish your friend determination in what is best for her.

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    1. Wow, that’s awesome! Could you share a little about your journey of learning how to shake off those pesky donkeys off your back? Taking that power back is a marvelous thing, I’d love to hear more about it!

      As an update, she is moving ahead with her decision…

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  4. Thanks for this, EW! I always appreciate to Aesop’s fables, and I had forgotten this one. When I was younger, my decisions were largely based on what those around me expected and I rarely had the courage to stand up for what I felt was best. Then, I developed chronic illness and lost the energy needed to worry about what others thought, and it was so freeing that I’ve learned to be mindful not to fall back into those old habits. Wishing your friends all the best if choosing and standing behind what they feel to be right. 💕

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    1. Thank you, Esoterica! It is awe-inspiring how you found a silver lining in the midst of such adversity! What reminders do you use now not to fall back into hoisting donkeys on your back? My friend is moving ahead with her decision, and, like her, I believe it’s the best course of action for her. But I already see a whole bunch of donkeys making a home on her back, and I’m not sure how to help her. Any thoughts?

      And I appreciate good fables, too, maybe that’s why they stick with me and pop up at times like this?

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      1. I will say that I lost a lot of relationships–friends, family, and more–because I didn’t have the energy to maintain a relationship, and those individuals were not understanding. It hurt for a time, but I realize now it was not my loss. So, how to help your friend? Hmm. I think am helpful approach is asking yourself a few questions:
        1) Will this decision matter 5/10/20 years from now?
        2) How will *I* be impacted by this choice versus those criticizing me? Do they have any skin in the game? If this choice will improve my quality of life by 75% but decrease my critic’s quality of life by just 10%, should I really bend to their will?
        3) What is my heart/gut/intuition pointing me toward? Where do I feel drawn?
        Backtracking to #1, another exercise I find helpful is looking back on something that 5 years ago I *thought* would matter today. The criticism, betrayal, loss, and life changes… I survived them, and I don’t carry those donkeys anymore. In retrospect, I carried them much longer than I had to. Recognizing that helps put things into perspective and gives some distance from the current situation. “This too shall pass,” and often more quickly that one might expect.

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  5. I doubt that anyone is donkey free EW. I certainly have carried many over the years but I think I’ve finally let the concept of allowing everyone else to influence my decisions go from my life. It certainly never hurts to hear other opinions- but ultimately the decisions have to come from the individual. It’s about responsibility isn’t it? And even autonomy in following the path that you choose, even when others aren’t thrilled with your choices. I wonder if those are the same people that are likely to come back later, if things don’t work out, and start in on the “I told you so…” game.

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    1. Those are two extremely astute observations, Deb!

      Yes, it is about responsibility and autonomy. I can see the difficulty my friend is facing in following her decision, which is what she’s decided to do. This will take her away from the bounds of the norm in her community (her identity?), and her entire life she lived within them.

      And double yes, even her parents are already naysaying about her decision and using the very phrase “I told you so” on the difficulties she’s facing in following through!

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      1. I’ve been on both sides of this- ie: at times being judgmental of my kids, adult kids that is, trying to parent and interfere because I of course knew better. Something woke me up though, probably when I had people telling me what decisions to make and I didn’t like. You realize what you’re doing to others in those ah-ha moments- although I shouldn’t generalize here, because not everyone will realize and then relationships are lost…

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      2. Wow, those are wise observations, Deb! Over the last few years I’ve realized that much of the advice I discarded from my parents was spot on. I would have saved myself a lot of grief if I had been able to absorb their words without a painful lesson in between (ok, that needs to be plural, many painful lessonS :D).

        I once read an article written by a lady who’s spent her 20s moving from one startup to another, each one starting off with a great promise and ending a year or two later in failure. She was now working in a large company and said that she now can consult with wise experts who can point out the “gaps” in the plan before they have to make the mistakes. She said that almost all those startups could have been successful if only they had that sage advice delivered to them before they fell on their faces and couldn’t recover the startup. But they didn’t know better, so they failed in what were, in retrospect, obvious pitfalls.

        So I know that SOMETIMES advice can be helpful, though I wonder if those startups got the advice, they would have embraced it or just said “ok, boomer” 😀 Maybe the only way to learn some lessons is the hard way?

        What do you think?

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      3. I would say a definite yes to that EW! Of course, I was perfect in all ways so never had to stubbornly find out how much easier life might have been had I just listened to an adult 😉 How I wish…

        I think every parent has had those moments where you just have to walk away, knowing that your kid is likely going to come crashing down into reality and there’s nothing you can do to stop them. In related thoughts to the article you mention- my son has worked for 2 startups. The first didn’t fully crash but it was never a smooth experience there for him and so he left. His current position seems more tentative but he took it for the experience that will help him in the future. When he was telling me all this he also shared just how routine it is in tech that people and companies seem to come and go- He has little expectation of staying anywhere for more than a few years at a time, rather by his choice or because the company failed. My brain couldn’t wrap itself around that lack of job security! He is not a risky guy so I’m simply trying to believe him when he says this is all “normal” and hope I don’t have to put on the “I told you so” face in the future.

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  6. I will say this for me, once I busted through the glass ceiling of fearing what others would say, it got easier the next time. (First big one I remember was when we left the church denomination my wife grew up in.) Talk about family pressure. Next big one was moving 1000 miles away from home with 2 little ones so I could go back to school in my late 20’s. (I walked away from my share of a family construction business) There were a couple of more big ones after those, but as I said in the beginning, it gets easier. I think the culture as a whole is harder to live in than even 10 years ago…Woke stuff, political stuff, etc. etc.

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    1. Hat off to you! May I ask how you came about busting through that very thick ceiling of what others do (not just may…) say? That very first time? How you dealt with the many donkeys that were thrown at you at these clearly big decisions?

      I can see the fat donkeys that are being hoisted on my friend’s shoulders now that she decided to go ahead with her decision, so I’d really like to share with her!

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      1. I remember the fear, the long conversations between my wife and I (we were both on the same page,) and neither one of us wanted to do something so radical if there was another option. I don’t think most of us go looking for conflicts, but life has a way of bringing us to forks in the road, and either we stay stuck in fear or decide the alternative (stay stuck in some situation that is killing our soul) is just too much of a price to pay…once you’ve done that a time or two and see later that life goes on..and experience the freedom of not being enslaved to other people’s opinions, it gets easier the 3rd or 4th time. There is a book called Dark Horse by John Fischer, that changed my life on this topic. Tell your friend to get herself a copy. https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Horse-John-Fischer/dp/0800718399

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      2. There is much wisdom in what you’re saying: avoiding conflict altogether may backfire in the long run, the price may be too much to pay. Certainly the policy of appeasement that Chamberlin tried to practice in WWII would have cost the world too high of a price, I’m glad Churchill came along to save, well, the world. It sounds bombastic, but I do believe that Churchill is one of the few people who did save the world, so I’ll stick with it 🙂

        Thank you for sharing the wisdom and the advice!

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      3. Churchill is one of my heroes! His attitude in the face of Nazi invasion has long intrigued me. I remember reading how he would retire to his farm in the countryside to re calibrate his soul…paint, talk to his pet pig….yep, he was an amazing man! (even if he was a little eccentric)

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      1. These are powerful words, VJ! I believe you’re right, and yet we are social creatures, and we need our families, our tribes, to survive. I wonder if the answer is in finding a metaphorical way to domesticate those donkeys, because the other choice might be to travel completely alone?

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      1. I think it’s just a “protective bubble” mindset we won’t be burdened anymore by what anyone thinks. It doesn’t matter. You have to really believe that to stay “donkey-free.” People simply have to accept you and your actions for who you are, not who they want you to be or do. If they don’t like or accept the real you, that is solely their issue…whether friends or family or both.

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      2. Those are wise words, Bruce. I believe she’s making the right decision, so it’s clear to me that she should shake off those donkeys. But I wonder if I felt differently, if I felt she was making a terrible mistake, would I be a bad friend in not trying to convince her to move forward with her and her husband’s decision?

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  7. I love that fable. Thank you for sharing it. I have found I don’t carry as many donkeys as I used to. i care less and less what people think of my choices. I believe the COVID shutdown and isolation from everyday life was helpful to getting rid of donkeys in an odd sort of way.

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    1. Thank you so much, EA, I love it, too, and I find it amazing that when it was written, thousands of years ago, people faced the same struggles we do now?

      Would you be willing to expand a little more in how the Covid restrictions helped you care less about what people think about your choices? It’d be helpful (to me and to my friend!)

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      1. My thoughts are that our lives were turned upside down. We were living in fear and isolated from each other. I wasn’t worried about what other people thought of me, partly, because we were only around immediate family. Less donkeys all around. Also, as we came out of the shut down life was different. We were more focused on getting back to normal and enjoying being with neighbors and friends.

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      2. Thank you, again, EA! What’s truly sad to me about what my friend is going through is that she’s seeing her relationship even with her parents and her siblings change (weaken?) as she shared her decision with them. And it’s likely to change even more as she goes through with it. I’m not sure how to help her, given that those donkeys are from some of her immediate family?

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  8. I love this post, EW! And what a great friend you are to be able help your IRL field and also us name what that weight on our back is. If we can name it, we can tame it and this post is so good!

    But now I’m thinking about donkeys. I want to claim that I don’t have any at present which makes me think I need to think about it more because I have a long donkey-carrying history. 🙂

    Thanks for the great piece of writing, EW!

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    1. Thank YOU, Wynne, I’m so glad you liked the name: tbh, I was t sure if it’d be well received… I guess my donkeys are not so dominant otherwise I may not have been “allowed” to write this by them? 😁

      And thank you for the compliment: I feel a little (a lot?) unable to help my friend. I understand her decision, and think it’s the right one for her, but also understand her angst… She feels she’s already losing some (most) of her friends over this decision, and even her parents are showing preference now to her siblings … And I’m not sure how to help her. Any thoughts?

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      1. Oh, that’s so hard. If I understand it right – she can make the right decision for her and experience an impact to her relationships OR she can make a wrong decision for her and maintain relationships. There’s a quote from Jocko Willink, “Most of us aren’t defeated in one decisive battle. We are defeated one tiny, seemingly insignificant surrender at a time that chips away at who we should really be.”

        For me, it’s regrettable that others are behaving that way but there is only one person living her life and that’s HER. Others will come around if the relationship is real — which it can only be if she is. Right?

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      2. Wow, that’s a powerful quote and an even more powerful message: she can pay a price of a portion of her very core and make the wrong decision to maintain relationships. It makes one wonder what relationships are worth maintaining at that cost? What’s so painful is that she told me that she already has seen an impact on her relationship with her parents and her siblings who strongly disapprove of her and her husband’s decision. I only wish I could introduce you to her…

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      3. Oh, that is so tough. I wish I could shore her up too. But I’m sure you are doing a wonderful job of being a friend and I’m sending great thoughts to her and her husband as they walk their path. May it all make sense somewhere down the line!! ❤

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  9. Great post, EW! I think many… most… all of us have stories about carrying donkeys on our backs now and then. I would like to think that I’m currently donkey-free but they can appear out of nowhere at any time. Btw, my sister-in-law raises miniature donkeys… they are very small and cute (but I don’t think I’d want to carry one). 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Janis, very much! I know I’ve carried my own share of donkeys, but as I’m trying to support my friend in her decision (update: she’s moving ahead with it!) and I can see her struggle, I find I’m not sure how to help her. Any thoughts?

      😆 love that your sister-in-law raises miniature ones! What got her started on it? I never heard of miniature donkeys before: imagine where I could have gone with this analogy had I known about them…

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      1. I’m glad you are supporting your friend. Sometimes just listening and encouraging is enough. We like to be able to do something tangible, but that’s not always possible.

        I don’t know how my SIL got into raising miniature donkeys. She has a lot of property in North Carolina and, now that she is retired, time on her hands. I haven’t seen them in real life yet, but we did a video link and they were adorable. I guess people buy them from her for pets (like a big dog or something).

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      2. Thank you so much, Janis! These are wise words. It _feels_ like she wants to me to say that she’s doing the right thing (which I think she is), I’m trying to stay neutral in my discussions with her so she doesn’t feel I’m landing another donkey on her. I’m not sure if I’m being helpful, tbh…

        How awesome: I never heard about miniature donkeys before 🙂 Can they be kept indoors?

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  10. Hi EW, thanks for this story. I’m not saying I’m donkey-free, but learning about boundaries and how to set them has helped me on this journey of life. Sometimes, I don’t realize I’m carrying more weight than I should until I hit a wall ….feeling overwhelmed and/or frustrated or bitter….then I try to stop and really think about things. I wish your friend the very best!

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    1. Thank you so much, RBTL! I do believe that sharing can alleviate some of the weight we carry, but I’m still not sure on how to set boundaries to make sure those donkeys stay off my back. Any advice you can share?

      (and thank you for the good wishes to my friend, too <3)

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      1. Only from experience have I learned about setting boundaries and even then, I’m often not great at it. When I start feeling geared up and anxious, I try to take a minute and reflect on the situation. I ask myself Is this mine to deal with? Is this mine to be accountable for? Am I trying to control things outside of my scope? And if the answer is Yes, I’ve probably not set great boundaries for myself or others. I try to think of the Serenity Prayer, too ❤️

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      2. Being able to do it even sometimes puts you, I believe, way way ahead of most of us 🥰

        These are great questions to consider, and it’s taken me a long time to realize how these seemingly “simple” words of wisdom are often so difficult to full grasp and even more so, to follow?

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  11. When it comes to living your own or your best life, everyone is an expert. It reminds me of the song Garden Party by Rick Nelson. If people ask for advice, offer it. If they don’t best to keep quiet. Happy Friday. Allan

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    1. Thank you for the introduction to a new song, and for the wise words! Those are words to live by “If people ask for advice, offer it. If they don’t best to keep quiet.” I need to remember that: thank you!

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  12. Isn’t it funny how we can all be surrounded by experts. No one except your friend and her family know all of the circumstances needed to consider when making this decision. Two things come to mind here…
    Everyone knows what you should do, AFTER you’ve done it.
    There is always someone who is willing to sell you something you want or need for a cheaper price and those who consider price alone are his lawful prey.
    We all have donkeys to carry. That’s life. And occasionally, we meet a jackass.

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    1. You’re bringing up an absolutely fantastic point and I think Carl Sagan said it beautifully when he said “All of the books in the world contain no more information than is broadcast as video in a single large American city in a single year. Not all bits have equal value.”

      It is true and sad that sometimes we fall into the trap of counting all opinions as being equally valid. Imagine if a healthcare professional recommended to the grandfather and grandson to be more active and walk more, and the trip with the donkey to the market was their way of doing that. Listening to the laypeople along the way instead of to the expert hurt the goal. Imagine if the grandfather way helping his grandson, a young Usain Bolt (greatest sprinter of all time) train by encouraging him to walk to the market. Again, the laypeople’s advice may have been well intentioned, but counterproductive.

      We should be employ more critical thinking for sure, and I’m so glad you brought that reminder up, it’s certainly important to carry with us!

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  13. I love that tale (tail). 😊

    I used to be the type of person who was concerned about what other people thought about the decisions I made. I was also the type of person who had no problem telling family and friends what to do in the face of life-altering events.

    Reading posts like these remind me of how much I’ve changed since then. I hope the person going through this difficult time is able to overcome their challenges and find some comfort.

    Thank you again for the reminder. It’s good to have those now and again.❤️

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    1. Thank you so very much! And I do love a great pun 😊

      May I ask how you made the change from being concerned about what other people, especially those closest to you, thought about decisions you’ve made to … not being concerned about it?

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      1. I’m glad you asked!

        In 2020, I was going through some personal issues. I was looking for a better way to deal with the stress in my life. I happened to be reading the book , The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. To cut a long story short, one of the agreements stated  “Don’t take anything personally.” When I started applying that to my life, I realized that everything I thought was personal was just people going through their own lives. It completely changed my way of thinking. There were other things, of course, but that book inspired me to begin making changes in my life.

        Nobody is interested in my life. They are concerned about their own lives. So I stopped caring what others thought because they weren’t thinking about me. Does that make sense? 🤣

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      2. I wish there was a “love” button. I think, in theory, it makes all the sense in the world! I was fond of the Eleanor Roosevelt “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” for a long time, but it’s more “in theory.” In practice, well, I find it hard to put it in practice — does that make sense? 😀

        Was the fun that was poked at Charles Darwin not, well, personal?
        Was William Harvey not mocked before we all accepted his wonderful description of our circulatory system?

        Would you recommend that book?

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  14. Now wait a minute… I just answered this question on your blog. I am confused [more than usual] about where I’m supposed to talk with people when you write about the same thing in two places. Regardless, good post.

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    1. First, thank you very much!

      The confusion is all my doing, not yours. I figured I’d try something new, and reblog the post I did for Heart of the Matter on my personal blog. I’m not sure if what the ad agencies have been trying to convince us that “new” means “improved” is true 🤷‍♀️ I’m thinking you’re telling me this experiment is less than optimal?

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    2. The app crashed just as I hit “reply”… Think the AI overlords are trying to tell me something? 🤪

      The confusion is all my doing, not at all yours. I tried a new experiment, and reblogged the post I wrote for Heart of the Matter on my personal blog. But I’m thinking that what the ad agencies of been trying to convince us for decades, that “new” means “improved” is not necessarily true 🙃 I’m thinking you’re telling me this wasn’t one of my best experiments?

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    3. First, thank you very much!
      The confusion is all my doing, not yours. I figured I’d try something new, and reblog the post I did for Heart of the Matter on my personal blog. I’m not sure if what the ad agencies have been trying to convince us that “new” means “improved” is true 🤷‍♀️ I’m thinking you’re telling me this experiment is less than optimal?

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      1. I’m not the person to ask about reblogging. I can barely get one post up on one blog, let alone make it show up elsewhere. I’m not sure if your experiment worked in your favor or not.

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  15. I think people should stop counting donkeys and let the poor woman do what she feels is right, whether that means riding one, carrying one, or walking beside one. I got enough grief the first time I made a life-altering decision to know that it does no good hearing others weigh in on something that doesn’t concern them, and in effect, only strengthens my resolve to follow through with my plan, as hare-brained as it may seem.

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    1. Two most exquisite points that I can’t believe I missed on:
      Yes, the problem are those would-be experts that dispense unnecessary donkeys that mostly do harm … ok, pretty much all the time 😜

      And, yes, Aesop didn’t considered women in a role of decision making…

      I’m glad to hear that the donkey-dispensers only strengthened your resolve, though I’m very curious: how do you deal with them when they’re in your closer family or circle of friends?

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  16. I don’t know that I’ve heard that fable. It’s a great one. I don’t think I’m carrying any donkeys, but now that I’ve said that… it probably just means I need to think harder. Great post! I sure hope your friend is able to figure everything out in the best possible way and that her friends and family will accept her decision and get over it!

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    1. Thank you, Becky! ❤ I know there are wise people who shrug off the donkeys they meet on the roads, and I can see my friend bent over with the weight of the donkeys she's carrying. And while some are imagined, some are, sadly, real, and I can see the impact it already has (from what she's told me) even on her relationship with her parents. I'm glad she's able to still carry forward, I wish I had more wisdom to share with her… Maybe you can offer some by sharing how you duck the donkeys on your roads?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think for me it’s the benefit of growing older and caring less what people think of me. It helps that I like me. I’m secure in who I am. When I moved across the country after college, my dad gave me a really hard time about it. He made me cry, but I was certain I was doing the right thing, even if he didn’t like it. I’m sure he eventually realized I was right. I met my husband here after all, and I’m still here! Hopefully your friend’s family will eventually realize the same thing, assuming her decision is correct. But ultimately, the opinion of her husband is the only that really matters. He should be her priority, and vice versa. Everyone else can shove it.

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