I actually sat down at the laptop with the intention of writing to get out the negativity in me, to cleanse my mind and my heart of the sickness called “hate” and the illness called “anger” and the disease called “unforgiving”.
But the first thing I did was look up addresses online to complete the thank you notes I’ve had sitting on my desk. Something about taking the time to write out my gratefulness that these people in my life donated to a great and personal cause, the March of Dimes’ March for Babies that I participate in every spring, got me to a different place in my mind and heart.
I know I have a lot of ugliness I need to get out but right now, I’m grateful for my friends and family as well as the ability I had this morning to gather my healthy family into my reliable vehicle to drive us to church so we could participate in Mass** where we learned much about receiving the Holy Spirit.
I guess learning about that fire put a damper on the one that’s been smoldering, and sometimes raging, within me these past few weeks.
One for you, meme for me
I just checked my Facebook on my phone because I can’t ignore that little red indicator* that I have updates. So I clicked. And one of the individuals in my life right now that is, let’s say this bluntly, part of the problem actually posted a plain meme that says, “The less you respond to negative people, the more peaceful your life will become.”
My first thought surprised me. Rather than me thinking it was ironic she posted that, all things in the recent past considered, I thought to myself that she must be thinking of me. That I’m one of the negative people in her life!!
Let me take a deep breath and ruminate on that one.
Who doesn’t get defensive when there is a finger pointed at them!? Everything my mind could conjure up to answer my question of how I’ve been a negative impact on others’ lives (particularly hers) had another thought chasing it on how I’ve had a positive impact on others’ lives lately (sadly, not hers).
But that isn’t the point, is it?
This isn’t tit for tat. This is not a competition between the good and the bad. I should be making positive impacts on the lives of those I love and those around me without there having been a negative one.
I bitch a lot, sure. I blow off steam verbally in ways that I hope are meant to be constructive. There are many times, yes, that my hurt or anger make me lash out and my vocalizing is just plain negative, no frills or resolutions in sight. I would say on the whole, though, that if I bring up a touchy subject or let out something that is bothering me, it is so I can get to the bottom of the problem and fix it.
For instance, if I go on and on to my father about the issues I’m having with a friend I have known since high school (and therefore he’s met and knows plenty about), it isn’t just to drag him down or blow off steam. It is because I know he’ll give me a direct answer to my question: What do I do? My dad doesn’t give unsolicited advice. He doesn’t really give advice at all. He listens and he laughs. He can see where things are just too darn funny to take seriously. But if he takes something seriously and gives me advice, you better believe I’m going to listen to it. Because it isn’t off his cuff or meant to gloss over the issue. It is a clear view of the situation and how to proceed in a way that’s healthiest for his baby girl (that’s me!) and his grandchildren.
When my father suggests that it is time to wash my hands of the troublesome “friend,” then it is time.
You are my sunshine
I need to be more conscious of how my words and actions directly affect people. That is the bottom line here: I need to pay attention. I should not be a negative aspect of anyone’s life. I should not put another in the position of searching for answers or solace that may result in them receiving the advice to wash their hands of me.
I don’t want to be a negative person you have to stop responding to!
I need to get back on my thoughtfully sought path through life. I need to seek within me that which can not only be positive and grow but also cultivate that same positivism in those around me.
Sure, there are a few in my life right now that I’ve tried and failed to do that with. But that isn’t for lack of me trying. Some people are just so mired in their own negativity that you need to walk away from them for both you and them to gain perspective. Maybe they’ll never see how hurtful and harmful they are; maybe their eyes will open and you’ll have an amazing friend, sister, daughter, whatever again. Maybe there will be sunshine after the rain.
All I can do is be me: a happier, healthier me on the lookout for ways I can help, even if it is just by setting a good example. I need to be the sunshine to their rain, and I should shine my light elsewhere when their clouds threaten to overtake me as well.
If I can’t help their lives to be more peaceful, the least I can do is help mine to be.
* Yes, I know I can turn off the notifications. I have. Really. Go into my settings and you’ll see that I’ve turned off the option that seemingly can’t be turned off.
** I wrote this on Pentecostal Sunday, so forgive me for posting it in the middle of the week.