Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I once had a best friend who I'm no longer best friends with. There are a lot of factors that play into why we're not friends anymore, but one of them was how we used to fight. She didn't respect me enough to defend me, or to watch how she said certain things. It seemed she was always hurting my feelings and not even trying to hide it. This led to feeling like I was always doing everything wrong... which in turn, made her feel like she was doing everything wrong. It was hard for me and her to tell each other anything because we felt this way. I know, I don't understand why we were best friends if we were destroying each other. But it wasn't just her I felt this way with. I felt this way in general. Anytime someone presented an issue to me, it felt like I was just failing left and right..... but sadly, this didn't even happen often enough for me to be constantly failing. 

However, this all changed when my then best friend told me something.  It cut so deep that I couldn't help but swallow and digest it. But I will say this, it helped my friendships so much. It also helped the way I entered into the world and looked at it. It taught me to stop holding back from things I love.... and to accept that sometimes things are the way they're going to be. I'm still learning this process.... but that's where it all started. I'm betting you're wondering what she said. It's probably the simplest sentence, but it was the most profound.. and it was simply something to the effect of, "stop thinking that my intention is to hurt you". 

I didn't walk around carrying the baggage of thinking everyone is out to hurt me, but that's what my problem was. I couldn't accept constructiveness because I was doing it wrong. Friends couldn't be honest with me because I was doing it wrong. Things weren't happening because I was doing it wrong. It opened my eyes to see that I was playing victim with every sincere intention. 

Sometimes, this mentality likes to creep up.... but I have a better handle on it. Hearing the hard truths is never easy to swallow right away, but I'm able to. When we can approach the world knowing that it's not everyone's intent to hurt us, it really does have a great affect on everything. It helps your relationships... it helps your passions.. It helps you get over your fears a lot more than you probably could think. People will fail.... yes. That's inevitable. But when you start to understand that not every intention is to harm..... that can be the very place healing from this mentality can begin. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

I've determined to make my word this year, "gratitude". I like this word because it challenges me. I hate it because it challenges me. But it's an attitude I want to possess even when I don't like my circumstances. That tends to happen more than I'd like it to, so practicing gratitude seems kinda fitting.

The other morning, it was definitely put into practice in a way I wish it hadn't. I suppose that's how these characteristics work when you want to learn them. I found myself frustrated at how something had worked out on my way to work one morning.... Everything that was included in that frustration came through my mouth in a bout of telling God I couldn't understand why. Hmmmmmm..... Yup, I still have tons of those moments.

But then I thought of gratitude. Stemmed from a message I heard or a part in a book I read (I can't remember which one it was), I started thinking of how I have a job. I have a job I can walk to. I have a paycheck that pays for the roof over my head. I have legs to walk with, lungs to breathe with, and a place to call home. As you can imagine, I was frustrated with the transit system. The bus was almost thirty minutes late, which put me into a panic to get to work on time. I was still recovering from being sick and the cold air had made it hard for me to breathe before that. So, I decided I was going to take the bus because I wasn't sure how I'd do walking after having two days of rest. Only problem was, I decided to walk because of my panic... and of course, the bus flew by me a mile later. Luckily I made it to work on time anyway, but I'm not sure I'll try taking the bus again for that matter.

This situation got me thinking a lot about how we approach things. Our attitude is our choice to make. We can be unhappy about how a lot of things work out, but that wasted energy does not change the situation. If I had my guess, we huff and puff because we want something done differently. It's almost manipulative of us to act this way until someone or something bends for us. It's another reason why I want to practice gratitude. When we put things into motion as habit, it becomes our nature. And it stays our nature as long as we choose it to. It's crazy how much we can change if we just make the choice. I want to be more thankful for what I have... And I want to be thankful for it even when there doesn't seem to be anything to be thankful for.