Part of the benefit of having a blog is that I get to freely write about things that make me happy, things that irritate me, things that touch my soul and my opinions on life in general. It’s my little way of getting it out of my head and into the mainstream where I can reflect on my words and console my own mind.
Today is no exception, for I am in the process of removing thorns from my side. I am referring to the trifecta of guilt: regret, remorse and recovery. I greatly struggle this issue because I have allowed myself to be a doormat to the point that I’m ashamed. However, we welcome the conditions we perpetuate, don’t we?
There are many things in life I find myself regretting. But would I change them? No. What’s the point? I can’t cry over spilled milk. I just have to milk the cow again and be more mindful of where I set the bucket. I’ve found that a certain amount of drama in life breeds a certain amount of regret. Mostly mine. If I allow myself to get caught up in it, then I have no one to blame but myself. This especially applies to specific people in my life. Some people, no matter where they go or what they get involved in, seem to have a string quartet serenading their every move. Every waking moment affects them, concerns them, and is about them. Most people I know like this are generally unhappy people. And grumpy. Rightly so, because it must be exhausting carrying around that load of self-pity.
So, what do I regret? That I didn’t listen to my instincts sooner and set down the proverbial sack of bricks. That I allowed myself to be taken advantage of time and time again because I knew nothing more than to keep giving until I found myself at the end of the rope. That I allowed someone else’s constant misery to keep rubbing off on me, causing me to doubt my own decisions.
There’s a little scenario I like to do with my Sunday school kids (I teach 10-11 year olds). I put a chair in the middle of the room, and have one of them stand on it. The others get to stand in a circle around the chair, and one at a time, the person in the chair tries to pull the others from their position on the floor up into the chair with them. Not so easy. Then, each person surrounding the chair gets to take a shot at pulling the person down from the chair and onto the floor. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to estimate how many times the person on the ground is successful at emptying the chair. It makes a good point. It is always easier to bring someone down than to try and pull him up.
I am tired of pulling at dead weight.
Remorse. Heavy word. Remorse is what I feel after I’ve decided that I no longer regret my decision. I begin to second-guess myself, wondering if I’ve done the right thing, or if I’m acting out of selfishness. Inadvertently, I find myself apologizing for things that aren’t my fault. And, alas, the sack of bricks is resting securely on my back once more. The idea of trimming down my life so that it doesn’t include negativity is a romantic one. Realistically though, we all need a dose of negativity on occasion; it helps us aim for the positive, which we appreciate so much more when we attain it.
It is in my nature to reach out to those in need. But, I came to the realization yesterday that I can’t very well help others if I’m not helping myself. In this case, it is acceptable to be selfish. If I don’t preserve my own integrity, strength, and I venture to say, optimism, then I have nothing to offer someone else when life is raining down on them. Remorse unfailingly leaves me with the glass half empty.
I have a great friend, who is every bit the voice of reason when I begin to get down on myself. He reminded me that no one could make me feel bad unless I allow it. Words I’ve preached to others time and time again. Yet, why is it when I’m caught up in the moment of hurt and despair, my own creed is forgotten? When the shoe is on the other foot, being objective and supportive comes easily, but I admit that I need to toughen up and apply that philosophy to my own life. I’ve been climbing out of my hole for a long time now, and giving someone else the power to dissuade my efforts only defeats the purpose of each step I’ve taken. It goes without saying that when we are at our highest, our fall is much greater. And it’s not the fall that hurts us - it is the sudden stop of realization at the end.
When I begin to hear the violins in the distance behind me, it’s a sure indication that it’s time for me to take charge and recover.
Certain aspects of life are hard to bounce back from. That is a fact. And sometimes, regardless of how many times the same situation has arisen, I find myself trusting that things will improve. In this case, the old adage of ‘first time mistake; second time coincidence; third time shame on me’ is busy mocking me with echoing laughter. That laughter haunts me a little because it is my own. No one is responsible for allowing the doormat mentality other than me. Progressing from that mindset, I am forced to close a door on a piece of my past. It hurts. I would be inhuman if it didn’t affect me in some way. But, I comfort myself with the notion that a little bit of present hurt will produce a tenfold of relief and peace of mind as the end result. Have I made the right decision? The conditional circumstances that led me to that resolution have assured me so. Time will tell. And somewhere up the road I’ll realize that I’ve recovered.
My “voice of reason” also reminded me of all of the opportunities that lay before me. Despite the ‘dark and gloomy’ from whence I’ve emerged, there is plenty ‘bright and shiny’ up ahead. The road before me is paved in positivity, and the potholes are slowly but surely waning. The possibilities before me are things for which I’ve poured my heart and soul into, and the determination behind achieving them is invaluable.
Fresh start. Clean slate. It’s time for me to stop regretting, and appreciate standing in my chair.