I’ve been doing tons of thinking lately about life. We only get a blink here on this earth and then we are gone — be it at 20 or 100 — it is still just a blink. I’ve spent a lot of my life working to find the positive in my experiences, even the painful ones.
Recently, I realized that I had fallen from the place of happiness and joy into a place of unhappiness and fear. It is okay to be unhappy and afraid, but those thoughts can become toxic if you swim in that pool for too long of a time. Without an effort to differently choose your thoughts, they can wind up drowning you.
How did I go from living life with the mantra of “it’s all good” to “I don’t know if I can face another day?” Some might say life happened. I would say that I forgot what I learned. I didn’t ask for a slap up side the head, but a couple of weeks ago I sure got one.
Someone I love hurt me very deeply. The pain sent me reeling and forced me to take a hard look in the mirror. At the end of the day, I had to reevaluate — who I am, whom I allow in my life and where I want to be. I have no doubt that you have been here too — in some way or another. So, after the hurt what do we do?
My first step was to say to the person who hurt me…I love you and forgive you. My second step was to find that place inside of me that knows we are supposed to be grateful for everything. Yes, I know, being grateful for pain is about like being grateful for a case of bronchitis. But, I thanked God for the pain anyway. My third step was to realize that not everyone in my life is good for me. The biggest aha of all was to see that I, more than anyone else, had become toxic to those around me and myself. I was drowning in negativity, anger, and fear. To those of you who have put up with my negative side and loved me anyway, please accept my sincerest apology. I promise now that I know better, I will do better.
People don’t intentionally hurt us or bring us down. My thought is that they don’t even realize it most of the time. I didn’t. As a matter of fact, I was doing a pretty good job of being the victim of my pain until a recent conversation with a dear friend. I hung up and thought, “If I died in the next minute, I would have spent my last moments here on this earth complaining and being unhappy.” Like a ton of bricks it hit me. Oh my Lord, I’ve become Granny!! I am missing everything good because I am so caught up in the things that seem so bad. Don’t get me wrong, Granny had some good qualities — she was loving and giving. But she could be like the character Linus in the cartoon Charlie Brown. I wanted to choose to live life differently. I had learned how to do that, but somewhere in time I had forgotten. Thankfully, the pain, instead of pulling me further down, somehow propelled me upward. I felt electrified…in an awesome kind of way.
I suddenly became more aware than ever of the influence we have over others. Our actions can either lift them up or bring them down. Sometimes they can be the difference between whether a person lives or dies — like with Griffen. This is a pretty big responsibility when you get right down to it, isn’t it? I had delivered that message to thousands of young people and never really “heard” the message until now.
It was enlightening to see how I had fallen back into some old toxic patterns and in with some toxic people I had let go of long ago. I knew that I could only control me and it was on me to put one baby step in front of the other. When the urge to tell my pain story arose, I could feel an uneasy feeling inside. My little voice would chime in ”don’t go back, go forward.” This is where life is. I want to choose my moments and be conscientious of who I am and whom I welcome in my space. I have to tell you that it is a little nauseating to think of putting some distance between some of the people in my life and myself. Some have been there for a very long time. I feel guilt when the phone rings and I see their name and I make the choice to let it ring off to voicemail. The last thing I want to do is hurt someone’s feelings. The truth is that those who know me best know that I would suffer myself rather than cause suffering to another. I don’t have that place in me that some do to just say, “Hey, I can’t be around you if all you are going to do is complain, be angry, or put me down.” With that in mind, I have tried to see it in a different light. If I knew I had one year to live how would I choose to live it? How would I spend my last days — my precious last moments of my time here?
Would I finally be able to accept that we all choose our attitudes, our moments, and that some people will always be like Granny? Would I finally be able to love me enough to let them go? I sure hope so! Only time will tell and that will be a story for another day.