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Inside Out Mystery
Are there quotes or messages that especially fit for you? I love quotes & uplifting messages & subscribe to several sources for these gems daily. Don’t you find that it is the easiest thing in the world to wake up in a certain mood with or without a reason that is obvious & have it at least initially affect our attitude? If the initial attitude that we have in the morning is a negative one, do we hang on to it or not? We each answer that question for ourselves. What works for me is in the knowing that I can discard a bad attitude at any time during the day by my own decision. For sure there are situations that are challenging yet I try very diligently not to fall prey to a woe is me kind of state of mind. There is a warrior within each one of us I believe. It is incredible to see & listen to the struggles that many people are experiencing & yet they never give up. That is the spirit of a true warrior in my mind. I am not talking about putting on a faker mentality & going out into the world in an almost denial state. Instead, it is the people that are struggling, feel those struggles fully, are honest about them & they go ahead & find a way to give encouragement to others & love. They do something loving with the struggle & become selfless by choice. Most of us will know people like this & find them to be amazing.
This morning one very long quote that landed in my email inbox spoke about the behaviour of reducing ourselves within the world by choice in an attempt to fit in or not to be a burden or bother to anyone else. Have you found yourself in this behaviour before? Until about a decade ago that is pretty much where my actions landed me. As I have shared before, my nature left unchecked gravitates towards being a people pleaser. If you remember Rex the dinosaur from the movie, “Toy Story”, you may laugh too when he says the line, “I don’t like confrontation.” My name literally means “peace maker.” In the perfect world that lives only in my mind, everyone would get along by implementing the golden rule. Thankfully we each have free will to choose to do exactly that. There is the choice though as well to not live with the golden rule in mind & action. If we get hurt as a result of someone else’s decision not to follow the golden rule, what do we do with that & about that? Do you know any or maybe even several people who will not apologize period? To me there is almost not even a word that properly describes that situation especially if we tell the person that what they did or said hurt us deeply & the other person still chooses to not apologize or be in the least remorseful. I personally do not intend on becoming less than as a result of another person’s choices. I know how it feels to shrink away from expressing my own hurt feelings due to the people pleaser peace maker within me. Thankfully, over a decade ago I made a decision that I was finished with becoming smaller, less me or a Gumby-spined person. It was one of the best decisions that I have made I have come to realize. Along with this came the need to find a way to deal with hurtful behaviours that are received in life. It was really something important to get a grip on because as I have shared previously, God gave me a profoundly sentimental & sensitive heart so I feel everything big time.
Most of us will be very familiar with the saying, “it is important to learn to forgive for the apology never received.” More & more I am learning that we do not have an accurate idea of what is going on inside our own physical bodies, in some cases our families, to an extent our schools, workplaces, and the lives of others around us. The saying of “each person is fighting a tough battle” is very likely profoundly true. In so many instances we have little to no idea at all what our human family around us are going through. We are each usually going through something though that we determine whether we will let reduce us, define us or strengthen us. We will each leave some sort of legacy. The great news is that we get to decide by our attitudes, and actions what our own legacy will be to a large degree. I remember taking the “7 Habits” course many years ago & the participants each being provided with time in nature to answer an essay question about what we see our legacy being. Even then I thought, “hmnn, this is not it so far” because I was such a “yes man” type of person & described time & again as nice & sweet. There is nothing wrong with that yet I knew there was more & that if I went ahead & let myself stand up tall & be exactly myself & have a voice & even confront situations that were not right or okay that I would get closer to living fully. One of the vital things for me along the way was learning to get better & better at accepting apologies I never received. Let’s face it, it is easy to get beaten up emotionally along the way. Once type 1 came into my life 7 years ago, I was at least glad that I was firmly on my feet as far as knowing what mattered most to me & what hills to die on even though I still prefer peace. The accepting an apology never received is a work in progress truthfully. I am making progress though & plan to continue. It is coming in handy with life with type 1 as well. Have you too had countless experiences of people saying insensitive things (and inaccurate for that matter) about what you can & cannot do or have with type 1 diabetes? How about if you have told the other person that you found that action or statement hurtful & they give a snide remark instead of an apology? In life & with type 1 there are likely going to be those times when people say or do the most offensive, insensitive things & do not have the grace, good judgment, intuition, humility or courage to apologize. Or how about if you are left out of an activity altogether because someone makes a decision that you are not well enough to participate since you have an illness. I feel totally like a 5 year old when that happens. Then I go ahead & work on forgiving the person & accepting the unreceived apology. Let’s face it, there just may not be enough life times to wait for some apologies…some will never come. That is a decision that some people make & we just cannot get inside that other person’s head to figure out why that would be his or her choice sometimes & more than that, we cannot make someone do anything that they do not want to do. All I know is that I refuse to become reduced by someone else’s decision to be mean spirited or to develop a bitter attitude of the world as a result. I firmly believe that there is profound beauty & goodness & I will see more of that if I keep that picture in my mind & live life from that point. It may also seem counterintuitive but I have also come to realize that a self governor is needed to provide a mini time out for my reactions to be on track with what matters most. In other words, if someone ticks us off, what would our natural unchecked response be? Would it be fair to say that it would be to hurt back? Whether the answer is “yes” or “no” to that question, the main thing is that we have the full ability to choose our words & actions in every single circumstance. How big time excellent is that! Here’s the counterintuitive part…when someone hurts me with words or actions, I choose to forgive them with or without an apology & to not return hurt for hurt. If I return hurt for hurt, the poisonous cycle continues & I do not want that to be a part of how I live my life. None of this is easy yet it is worth it to me. It does not mean that I will shrink from telling the truth or accept a perpetual onslaught of mean-spiritedness from anyone. I will forgive though & in the situations where the other person chooses to continue his or her hurtful behaviours, I will do the forgiving from a distance. We are each beautiful originals so we each find our own way of not being reduced to such smallness that we practically become invisible & less & less ourselves. The world after all needs each & every one of us.
A quote that I am very fond of is by Mother Theresa & essentially tells us that rather than bothering someone who is going through a struggle by asking them what we can do for them that we ought to figure out how to be compassionate & caring & act on that instead. In some cases I have found that fits with life with type 1. Many times I have heard people say, “oh I wish there were something that I could do to help you to feel better.” The thing is that there are things that would really help but I first use my gut to determine how genuine the statement really is. Sometimes people feel the need to just say something. And sometimes people want to seem like they would like to help yet are not prepared to put any actions behind the words. Those situations in my mind are instances of empty words. Please don’t get me wrong, there are times when people really do want to help yet have not used his or her creative juices to act on coming from a good heart. Another quote by Mother Theresa that fits is “do small things with great love.” If someone puts in love & care in a heartfelt way, I feel so loved. Here’s a small, big thing…receiving a meal or baked good with all the carb per serving written on the meal. (Or even the measurements & list of ingredients so that we can do the math). How thoughtful is that! Or how about a hand written letter from the heart? Or a phone call to say I care or was thinking of you? Or some flowers picked from our own garden & given to someone who is having a tough day? As a wee aside, my heart was filled to the top with love received recently from friends in exactly these ways. One friend quietly went out into her garden while I was sharing tea with her at her home & picked a large, gorgeous bunch of my favorite flowers (hydrangeas), tied a lovely bow on them & gave them to me with a smile. It touched my heart so big time big! There are some dear friends that have this way of placing the loveliest of telephone calls throughout the year & they called recently. They are these incredible surprises from the heart that mean more than words could possibly describe. There is an infinite list of small, big things that would make a difference. The point is that it makes a huge difference when we & others put some thought into doing something caring using our big hearts & creative abilities. To think of doing something thoughtful & then failing to act on it is such a waste in my mind. Acting on the kindness could have sent out such a far reaching ripple of care that then went on again & again. Choices to do something kind do matter. As a humourous aside, the ingenuine offer to help someone out is illustrated in the movie, “Christmas Vacation” in the scene where Clark’s Dad offers to help him out with the Christmas lights by saying, “if you need any help, I will be upstairs asleep.” Let’s not any of us be like Clark’s Dad in life seriously though. That’s the thing about type 1 though. Don’t you find that living with this beast of a disease provides us with such a magnitude to think outside the box especially when it comes for caring for others. Dealing with the minute to minute demands of type 1 teaches us so much. If we turn our struggle into reaching out to others in creative ways of care then that is in my mind a pretty big time beautiful part of our legacy.
I too believe that we are each struggling with something whether it is a physical challenge, emotional struggle, spiritual wrestling, family challenges, school struggles, friendship difficulties and more. If we believe this then what are we doing about & with this knowledge? It is a choice to follow the golden rule, do the opposite or do nothing at all. This becomes a part of our individual life stories too. We do not know what goes on to a large degree within our own bodies physiologically or other people’s nor within the minds & homes of others. Do some people look like they are “living the dream?” If they do, please get to know them better & when you do, there is sure to be a struggle of some type. We get to choose how to treat others & how we live. My choice is feisty love. Yours will be all your own. Let’s not live life on the fence though in the neutral zone.
It must be the sociologist in me that notices & wonders about people around me. For about 3 or 4 years now, there has been a lady who Monday through Friday during the school year ends up running behind her son in the mornings. The son is late for school every day even though they are always running. What is it that is making the little boy & his mom need to run to school every day? It looks like a less than peaceful start to the day. We do not know what goes on in others homes though so I could not begin to guess what potential struggles they go through just to get that little boy to school each day. And the same is true for most people in one way or another. We cannot see inside of one another…sometimes past a bright smile & what would appear to be a person who “has it made” from our perception. That could be the exact person who is on their way to visit a sick family member or friend or has an illness themselves even though they “don’t look sick.” I am not fond of assumptions in general but one that I have decided to agree with is that everyone is living some type of struggle. Should knowing that change the way we treat one another if nothing else has? My heart hopes so.
My heart’s hope for you is that you give & receive compassion, care and love always in little, big ways. And don’t forget to include yourself in gentle, compassionate, loving acts of kindness too!
May your week ahead be filled with beautiful small, big moments that touch your heart. And please create moments like this for others. Next Monday's sharing is "Spun Out With the Salt." (with a special smile & nod to my Dear Heart Grandpa Brown) xo