Face challenge, learn lesson, move on. Repeat as necessary.
From time to time, the Universe “encourages” me to repeat a lesson when I don’t show evidence of having taken that lesson into my soul. Often, the repeated lessons come courtesy of someone else, and frequently, it is by example.
Today, I was presented with three previous lessons in one. The first, trust people and give them the benefit of the doubt, until they give you reason to do otherwise. The second: trust your instincts even when you can’t find concrete proof that you’re right. And the third, and maybe most important as I recently allowed myself to forget it: Don’t get involved in other peoples’ battles, especially if you don’t know both sides of the issue well, and have a right to make a judgement. Even then, Stay the hell out of the middle!
Several months ago, I was forced to set some pretty drastic boundaries for the sake of myself and my immediate family. Thankfully, those boundaries seemed to have done the trick…until today. I received a comment that seemed benign at first, but there was something vaguely familiar and disturbing about the second part…but I gave the poster the benefit of the doubt as I was unable to find evidence of the previous experience.
On the one hand, I feel I did the right thing by giving the benefit of the doubt, but as the dialogue continued, it became clear that my first instinct was not to be ignored. Clearly, some people’s lives are very narrow, and, I don’t know, maybe loneliness causes them to take up the sword for other people, even those they barely know. I am often inspired by people who face challenges in their lives I can’t even imagine, yet are able to rise above them and actually do the world some good. Unfortunately, a lot of us are not able to rise above our own pain and misery (and in all honesty, I can’t say beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could, if faced with the challenges some of these people face), and seek some kind of outlet.
For some, the outlet is to just crawl into ourselves and close the world off entirely. For others, it might be to act as an advocate for others. But some just use it as an excuse to start fights and breed hate wherever they go. If they can’t find a cause of their own, they’ll adopt someone else’s, in fact, anyone else’s. I could go all goody-goody here and say that I give them tons of compassion and send them love and light, but the fact is, when their target is me or mine, the best I can do is to refuse their invitation.
There comes a time when the best thing to do is build a better boundary.
I may not have learned everything perfectly, and I certainly still let myself get sucked into someone else’s drama on occasion (but I’m working on that!). The one thing I have learned, though, is that when someone finds it necessary to repeatedly attack with no valid reason for doing so, and in spite of previously established boundaries, it is simply an indication that I need to re-establish my boundaries with a bit more strength.
One who engages the irrational is also likely to try to teach a pig to sing…with much the same results.
It’s taken a lot of time and a lot of lessons, but I’ve finally learned that yelling back (literally or figuratively) at someone who isn’t rational never ends well for either side. While I can’t do anything about the choices others make, I can choose not to lower myself to the level of a mindless robot who goes on the offensive just because someone told them to. What I can do is to try to learn from their actions as I’m going on about my business.
I’ve heard it said that if you find someone else’s behavior offensive, it’s because it is a mirror into something you need to work on in yourself. So I am grateful for these reminders, and truly do take them to heart. Every time I have an experience which raises unpleasant feelings within myself, I know it’s time to do some soul searching. Everyone truly is put into our lives for a reason, even if it is only to show us where we need to make improvements in ourselves.
My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for those people who remind me of flaws I have not finished fixing.
2. I am grateful for opportunities to show that I have actually learned and retained some of my lessons.
3. I am grateful that I feel no need to try to make others miserable when the better choice is to make myself and others happy.
4. I am grateful for opportunities to be a better me.
5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, challenges, opportunities, kindness, health, happiness, joy, beauty, love, harmony, peace and prosperity.