After our last piece, a couple of you wrote in with some really important comments. You shared that you weren’t going to take the “guilt” or “blame” for the crappy actions of the crappy people in your life.
I read back through the piece and didn’t see “guilt” or “blame” anywhere. Phew!
Still, I’ve thought a lot about how I could have written the piece more clearly. Of course, I found a GAZILLION changes I could make, but essentially the basic idea is there.
Which are you? Victim? Or, Volunteer? (click to tweet)
If you’re struggling through it with me, I hear you. I didn’t get the concept of this piece for the longest time, either. When wiser women would try and tell me I was responsible for everything that STAYED in my life (not HAPPENED IN MY LIFE, but the stuff that STAYED), I would get angry, too.
Here was my thinking, “How dare you suggest that I-I-I was to BLAME for other people’s crappy behavior!
But, that’s NOT what those women were saying to me.
If you can, suspend your initial defensive reaction to this idea and consider this (with a completely open mind):
You don’t have to receive the guilt and the blame and the hurt that you THINK someone else is dishing your way. Nobody has the power to “make you feel” anyway. (This includes ME, by the way.) Your feelings of guilt or shame or anger or joy or elation or gratitude are all yours, love.
It is ALL your choice.
Because that is the BEST news EVER! It means you’re not TRAPPED in any situation. You have choices about how you feel, how you respond, and what you decide to do next.
PLUS there’s this — since we get to choose ALL of our feelings, that means you can CHOOSE to be JOYFUL. All you have to do to be joyful is to DECIDE to be joyful and keep reminding yourself that that is your choice when the darker feelings creep back in.
And here’s where you get your ninja warrior goddess stones — Can you decide to be joyful EVEN when crappy stuff is happening all around you?
Here’s one reframe of your circumstances that might help:
Sometimes I stayed in really crappy or painful situations because it was the LEAST CRAPPY OR PAINFUL option I felt I had at the time.
If you are in a situation because it is the least crappy option available to you right now, you are being absolutely brilliantly strategic.
Except for this — if you have made the decision to protect yourself by staying in the least crappy situation currently at your disposal, THEN why not take on an attitude of celebration?
Why not CHOOSE to celebrate that you are savvy enough to look at all your options and pick the best option that is available at the time?
And then, instead of feeling dread or remorse or resentment each day you are in your crappy situation, why not approach it with your new-found wisdom and self-regard? Why not celebrate that you are smart enough to take care of yourself and those you love in the least crappy way possible?
At the same time you do this – choose to live with gratitude for all that you already have.
Take FULL responsibility for getting the skills or training or support or recovery or whatever you need to do to prepare yourself to receive something better.
When it comes along, you’ll be ready.
And here’s a bonus: When you push yourself to grow, you get the feeling that you like yourself. That you are WORTHY of high regard.
If you want self-esteem, do estimable things! (click to tweet)
Here’s how to get started on that growth part because here’s where the actual work comes in (and the incredible gift of freedom that comes with it): Can you be in that seemingly untenable situation WITHOUT getting bitter or jaded? Can you take that chip off your shoulder???
When you accept that STAYING in something that isn’t the best situation is STILL YOUR CHOICE, and I mean FULLY accept it — without fighting or recrimination — then you have found the first step in learning to be comfortable in an uncomfortable situation.
The only way out is through. That’s “THROUGH” as in “NOT STUCK” or stagnate.
So keep moving. Keep your heart open. Work on the stuff that is on your side of the street. Look for gratitude and deep appreciation no matter what your circumstances.
Not because THEY deserve it.
But, because YOU do.
* * *
Sign up here to get free delivery of LAT posts right to you. We also have fun and delicious extras and such that ONLY come to subscribers.
photo: flickr, jdhancock