This post is not a pretty one because I am about to expose some of my worst qualities.
No one likes to think they are flawed, but we all are. No one is perfect. We all struggle. We all have our own personal demons. We all "wrestle with an angel until the breaking of the day."
The things I like best about myself are my exuberance for living and my generous nature. I am often so happy that I am actually dancing down the street. I laugh openly and loudly and everywhere I go, I have a wonderful time. I love to do things for others, I get enormous pleasure baking, making cards, doing sewing repairs and sharing the love. You need something done? If I am capable of doing it, it is done. Need something I have? You can have mine. What can I give here instead of What can I get here is my motto.
But there is dark side that lurks in my heart that is full of anger and bitterness.
If holding grudges were an Olympic sport..I *just* might win a medal. Not the gold...but definitely the silver or bronze.
And that really shames me.
Because I am such a passionate and dramatic person, I can't seem to simply *retell* a story..I have to *relive* it. So just telling Spiderman a story of something that happened where I felt hurt means that I feel hurt all over again.
I am a sensitive soul, and I have always subscribed the philosophy:
Hurt me once, shame on you.
Hurt me twice, shame on me.
Which sounds like I am releasing the person and the letting go of the pain they caused, but clearly I am not. Just ask me about the time that my grandmother stole my play-doh when I was three and smashed up my elephant and made a kangaroo and liked it so much she decided to KEEP IT...well, you can see I'm still not quite over that one 44 years later.
So what has triggered this bout of self reflection?
This year is my 30th high school reunion.
Yeah, I am old.
And because a Face Book page has been set up so everyone can discuss the reunion, I have had several unexpected friend requests.
These have been from people who really did a great job of trying to make me feel small and insignificant back in high school. They seemed offended by my zest for life and bizarre fashion sense and made it their mission to belittle me with hurtful words or withering glances and now they wanted to be my friend.
I was troubled by this (to say the least).
My first reaction was a foolish prideful one that went something like this:
Yes, of course I would be delighted to be your friend and give you a window into my life. You once spread rumours that I should be voted Most Likely to Commit Suicide by the age of 25 (and insinuated that I aught to go ahead and do it to decrease the surplus population). You will see that I am really happy and blissfully in love with my best friend. We have lived in two different countries in the UK and are incredibly successful. Ha ha! You are stuck at a job (that I hope) you hate back in po-dunk Louisiana while I am swanning around Europe. Suck on that!!
I wasn't proud of that reaction, either.
I thought about the times that I had also made someone else's life unpleasant. I am ashamed to say, I can think of several. I have tried over the years to make amends for the wrong I have done others. Perhaps these people have regrets as well. I have grown up a lot and become a better person in the last 30 years, perhaps they have too.
Or perhaps they haven't.
The wise Sufi poet Rumi says:
Spotting faults in others is easy
and rehashing them, even easier,
but recognising your own faults
is real mastery.
The Bible says something similar:
Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’’ while there is still a beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5
If I really wanted to release negative thoughts and feelings once and for all, I was going to have to dig deeper into myself. Because who is being hurt by holding on to feelings of anger and bitterness? ME, that's who. Not them. ME.
My new morning routine includes positive affirmations, circuit training and prayers all at the same time in an effort to feed two birds with one loaf (the proverb formerly known as kill two birds with one stone) and has proved to be enormously effective in strengthening my body, mind and spirit. I spent several days sweating it out with God, pouring my heart out to Him. Then throughout the day I would listen and hear what He wanted me to do.
This is what we have come up this:
1. I do not have to accept their friend request.
2. I do have to pray for them
(But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless those that curse you, do good to those that hate you, and pray for those who speak evil about you, and persecute you; Matthew 5:44)
3. I do have to spend time every day sending them love and positive thoughts. I must wish for them everything that I desire for myself e.g love, health, a home, nutritious food, friends etc. I have to do do this until my heart is no longer on fire with anger and bitterness.
Only if I do these things will I be able to be Elsa and be able to
I found the evil in me weakening and the good raised up.