Delayed reaction to my own unkindness
Tonight as I sat here working on the Holly Lisle writing course I began this week I was reading about how feeling can be a hindrance as much as it is a help to a writer, when my mind started to wander. Where it wandered now makes me cringe as in all of my efforts to be kinder, I failed myself last night. I can justify my behavior until the cows come home, but when the dust clears, I still failed myself and treated someone unkindly. My reasons might have seemed justified at the time, but there are many other ways I could have handled the situation rather than rude behavior and trash mouthing the woman. Some of my reasons certainly had to do with the way I’d been treated, but most had to do with the treatment of others.
What I realized as I tried to focus on the words in front of me was that I am not responsible for the feelings of my friends. I can care about them and be there to listen if they need someone to talk to while they work through their pain, but I can’t fix anything for them, and being rude to someone on their behalf, or in my twisted belief that it’s on their behalf is, to put it simply, stupid. It only makes me the small, nasty person.
More and more, my lessons smack me right between the eyes
I am in a bit of a quandary as to how to calmly explain to this person that I am really not interested in friendship, but my reasons would be filled with my own perceptions, which she is certain to attempt to refute. She is also an expert at playing the victim (another part of my reading tonight) and I have a knee-jerk reaction to victims which, again, is anything but kind.
So I’m doing what I often do when faced with a problem I can’t find the solution to: I’m writing about it. Granted, in the past, my mental gymnastics occurred in the privacy of a Word document stored on my personal computer, but I’ve learned that quite often, something which challenges me has challenged others as well, and though they might not have a solution for me, simply sharing my humanness shows others that maybe it is OK to be human and make mistakes and do unkind things now and then. Maybe it’s OK to not be perfect and to fret over things we can’t really change, or that are truly somebody else’s problem instead of ours. And above all, it is OK to care about our friends and take issue when we believe they’ve been treated badly. Even if it turns out that we’re completely wrong in how we see a situation, it’s simply part of being human and learning as we go.
My Lamaze teacher told us “Baby’s don’t come with a manual. You just have to learn as you go.” I think this applies to life in general. Our parents and our teachers try to give us some tools to help us along the way, but in most cases, it is up to us to exercise the trial and error method until we find what not only works, but what feels right to us.
Not everyone will set themselves a goal to be kinder, and it is not necessary for everyone to do so. Someone who is here to experience life as a murderer or a pedophile isn’t likely to count kindness as a necessary attribute.
I know I may lose a few people here so let me just qualify this by saying that everything I write in my blog is from my own belief system. I am not trying to convince anyone that my way is the right way, much less the only way. It is simply the one which works for me.
Our goals and aspirations change throughout our lives (or I hope they do!). I know that I could have cared less about kindness as I was trying to make my way up the corporate ladder, back when I actually believed that it mattered and that it was what I truly wanted. If you are lucky enough to have an epiphany at some point in your life, though, you can expect your goals and aspirations to change, at least somewhat, because that epiphany is going to change how you look at things forever more. Mine in particular made me take a good hard look at my career and ask myself “Why am I really doing this? Is it fulfilling in any real way? Is it feeding my soul?”
When the only answer I could come up with was ‘Well, it pays the bills and allows me to have more stuff’, I knew it was time for a radical change. Admittedly, I was fortunate enough to have some resources to carry me through for awhile, but there’s nothing like a dwindling bank account to make you think and rethink a radical life change.
But I leapt in with both feet and a heart filled with Faith in a positive outcome, and though I’ve had a million second thoughts, I have not yet looked back and asked “What was I thinking? Why did I do something so stupid and reckless?”
What I have said on many occasions is “I’m so glad I had the guts and the resources to make a dramatic change in my life and follow my passion. Life may not be perfect but I am so much happier with myself and everything in my life right now, that if I were to have the chance to go back, I’d make the same choice again.”
Each lifetime is a work in progress
I look at each day as an opportunity to do better, accomplish more, be a little kinder and add another goal to my list. I don’t expect to get it all right the first time, but it’s not really about the destination anyway. It’s about the people we meet and the mistakes we make and the lessons we learn and the adventures we take which really makes it all worthwhile. The fact is, before I dove off the deep end, my life was dull and bland. I took no risks and followed the same old pattern week after week. Now, every day is an adventure, and a clean slate upon which I can write, both literally and figuratively.
Adventures are amazing. I recommend them highly. Don’t wait until you’re too old and tired to test your own limits!
My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the mistakes I make. Without them, I would never learn anything.
2. I am grateful for adventures with no guarantees. It is me who makes them succeed or fail, and if I do fail, I do so gloriously and dramatically.
3. I am grateful for chocolate. Sometimes, it just makes things all better.
4. I am grateful for my weird schedule. I am not a morning person so I do all of my fiddling and fussing during the day to leave my nights clear to write and study.
5. I am grateful for abundance: mistakes, lessons, differences, successes, failures, adventures, inspiration, crazy dreams, friends, kindness, love, joy, happiness, health, peace, harmony and prosperity.