Lessons of Life.
I had an entirely different subject written. Edited. And proofread. Before circumstances changed .What a difference a week makes. I prefer to listen to people’s problems and not share my own. In this way, I don’t think about mine. Too much that is. Recent experiences have left me feeling trapped in an emotional wind tunnel. I am still processing everything. Trying to figure out how I arrived where I am. Life can truly be cruel at times. I also know time is the emotional healer.
The nature of what happened is irrelevant. I realize this might lead to speculation. It’s okay. This post is very cathartic for me. The hope here is that readers will recognize a part of themselves. Perhaps realize what has been lost. Find the clarity that was always there. Hiding in plain sight. Akin to the white elephant in the room. Clarity brings transparency. Awareness. Forces us to own up. Remove the scales covering our eyes. And in the process learn painful lessons. It is possible that we were already taught these lessons. But needed the reminder. A refresher course. Following are some of the lessons I have learned over time, but were recently reinforced.
Lesson one: “When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future” ~ Bernard Meltzer. From 1998 to 2000, a US television network ran a show called Forgive or Forget. I watched it religiously. It lived up to its name. Guests talked about things they did wrong. To a family member or friend. The offended person had to make the choice on whether to forgive or forget. Initially, it was a highly rated show. Millions related to the emotional complexities of every story. At the end of each episode, if the offense was forgiven, the person would be waiting behind a door. If not, the room would be empty. It was good TV.
We make mistakes daily. Blunders which hurt. Abominably. Some are easy to forgive. Others take time. People forgive and move on. Others own the hurt. Clutching it like a lifeline. They feel justified in doing so. It is easier to forgive an enemy than a friend. Actions and words cannot be taken back. But we can lay the foundation for a better future. Forgiveness does not change what happened. It is not saying what happened is okay. It means not allowing the other person to control your happiness. And how you feel about yourself. It should change us. And how we respond to situations in the future. We must give and take. People are not perfect. We must not forget when the shoe was on the other foot. Doing so enables us to move on. To heal. To prevent irreparable damage to our most important relationships.
Lesson two: “The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than what you settled for” ~ Maureen Dowd. No truer words have ever been spoken! It’s imperative that you love yourself. If you do, you will not accept anything less than what you deserve. Throughout my life I have learned that if something, is not freely given to me, it’s not worth having. I speak in terms of our relationship with others. You don’t have to take this piece of advice. Go on. Settle. I can guarantee you the time will come. As it always does. When it will no longer be enough. You will feel a yearning. For better. Complete fulfillment. More. Whether it is a better, loving relationship. Attention from a spouse or loved one. A better job. A change of pace. You will be unhappy. Unless you make the change. And stop settling.
Lesson three: “We teach people how to treat us”~ Dr Phil. In words and actions. The situation develops gradually. Sneakily. Like a thief in the night. An inch here. A mile there. Complacency sets in. You keep forgiving. Behaviors become established. And change is hard to come by. We should establish and maintain boundaries early. Regardless of the nature of the relationship. Don’t assume everyone knows and follows the rules of social etiquette. Once a pattern is in place, good luck trying to change it.
A word of advice. Take each of the relationships in your life, and ask yourself: “How does …..treat me?” Furthermore, do some self-examination. Yes, we should expect to be treated with kindnes, love, and respect by those who profess to care about us. Caring about someone should not hurt. Nevertheless, self-examination requires us to consider the extent to which we have contributed to their behaviors. Have we put them on the edge because of our own behaviors? Are they reacting to the situation or the person? Molehill are easily transformed into mountains. The mole hills were always there. However, the last one was the mother of all mole hills. It got misconstrued. We cannot will people to change their behaviors. But, we can establish boundaries early. Or regret later.
Lesson four: “Change always comes bearing gifts” ~ Price Pritchett. We’ve all wished that we could bottle an emotion. A hug. A kiss. A tender moment. An unusually great day. Etc. Save them for later. When the going gets rough. When we need to seek peace. Why? Because people change. And so should we. Let me hasten to add a word of caution. I do not mean that you should change who you are. Your values. Beliefs. Personality. The essence of you. No. Never. However, if a behavior changes. And that behavior affects your life. How you feel about yourself. Then it’s time to put the gears in motion.
Something to consider, in all likelihood, the person might not have changed, we just know them better. Sometimes we need to change actions, attitudes, and ways of thinking to overcome a difficult situation. To stamp out vicious cycles. This is the type of change I am advocating. Sometimes it becomes necessary to do the necessary. One day I will look back on this past week, and be reminded that “good things fall apart, so better things can come together”.
Until the next post,