Words to Live By & My New Life Plan

18Feb10

The other day I was thinking how much it hurts when someone does you wrong. Now, I take a different approach to this than other people because I usually believe that I brought on the pain myself. I’m a big believer in “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent” (Eleanor Roosevelt deserves credit for that). We let people get to us and we forget that we get to other people. If we just stop and take a second to realize that our decisions effect ourselves, other people, and often, the planet, we can begin to wake up and find words to live by.

I have a few phrases I live by that I’ve come up with but I’m sure someone in history has said something similar:

1. You never know how you’re going to react to a situation until you’re in it.

This belief found me a few years ago after I did some things I never thought I would do. I always judged people who did those things but I slowly began to realize that oftentimes, it’s a series of events that lead us to making the decisions we make. The stars aligned just so and I made the decisions I made. You can say you’re who life “I’m not going to do this” or “I would never do that” but when it comes down to it, you may react in a completely different way. Yes, I believe in having morals and beliefs but I also think we have to be aware that we humans are situational and sometimes the current situation will have us doing something we never thought we would do. When you make a decision that’s out of character for you, walk away from the situation and learn from it. It’s the smart thing to do. Share your experience with others. Perhaps you can prevent them from doing the same thing or maybe you’ll help them get through their own “out of character” slump.

2. It’s only as big of a deal as I make it out to be.

I’ve been saying this since I was a teenager. At the time, no one understood what I meant. But I did. Even in high school I knew the drama was not that big of a deal. Sure, I got in arguments with friends that seemed like the end of the world. Sure, I had my heart broken (more like bruised). But I knew through it all that it would only be a big deal if I made it out to be one. If I laughed at the situation and didn’t let it bother me, it would pass quickly. I’m not talking “laughing on the outside, crying on the inside”; I’m talking about looking at what’s going on and seeing it for what it’s worth. Realizing it’s not the end of the world and there’s people who have real problems will help you get perspective on the situation. Perspective can be found in the song “Swim” by Jack’s Mannequin (if you don’t know Andrew McMahon’s story- check it out), The Nie Nie Dialogues (I can’t say enough about this blog- Just read it), or by watching Elijah and reading his story (Eli is my ex’s nephew who I think is the coolest little dude ever).

3. It only hurt as much as it did because I liked you as much as I did.

I began to realize this a few years ago. The more I liked someone, the more I was hurt when they let me down. This refers to all types of realtionships (friendships, significant others, etc…). My best friend and I are a prime example of this. We met in high school and it took a few years for us to get close. We used to argue every now and then but I remember a few fights that made me so sad. I didn’t know why at the time but I now know it’s because I liked her so much and I didn’t like not having her in my life. Our last big fight was about 3 years ago and I cried over her, missed her all the time, and even quit my job (a new job that was way too demanding on me and kept me from being a good friend). The friend she has been to me over the past year means more to me than I will ever be able to put into words (more on that in another post). Sometimes we don’t realize how much people mean to us until it’s too late. I didn’t know just how strongly I felt about the last guy I dated until it was over and I was hurt as much as I was (whether he actually gave me reasons to feel that way or I built him up in my head is still up for debate).  But when it’s all said and done, the people who truly mean the most to us and who we like and love the most will still be in our lives.

My new phrase to live by/ new life plan is: I promise to do the least damage to myself, others, & the planet. We all have become careless with the way we live. We never stop to think “what if…” or “would I like it if someone treated me this way?”. Sometimes we have trouble seeing ourselves in other people, especially if that person is the opposite sex. One of the ways I’ve guided my brother to overcome this is by saying “how would you like it if somebody treated me that way? That girl is someone’s sister”. Men tend to be protective over their sisters/mothers/nieces and wouldn’t want a guy treating them badly, yet sometimes they forget that the woman they’re dating is someone’s sister or niece or mother or will one day be someone’s mother. Find a way to see yourself or someone you love in everyone you encounter.

A few years ago, I had a “boyfriend” who cheated on me all the time. After getting out of that relationship, I was the girl a guy cheated with. I became that girl. I knew how she made me feel so why did I let myself become her? This was one of those situations where the stars aligned just so and I made decisions I never thought I would make, but I should have really thought to myself “you’ve been on the other side of this, you know how it feels, don’t cause someone else this pain”. I learned from that experience and will hopefully never make a similar series of decisions again.

I think we sometimes don’t stop and think about something until it catches up with us and then, it’s often too late. We do others wrong until we get caught and then try to change our ways when we’re left with no one to turn to. We eat unhealthy food until it catches up with us and we’re overweight and full of disease and erasing the damage is a difficult option. We deplete our resources until years of carelessness catch up to us and we run out of something we need to survive. I’m taking a stand right now and attempting to improve my life. I’m going to make decisions that keep me healthy (mentally and physically) and happy- writing, slowing down, excercising, eating healthy food, and spending time with the people I love. I’m going to make decisions to not hurt other people- I will see myself in others and pause for a moment when I see myself judging them or getting upset. And I’m going to make decisions that help the planet- I will continue to go out of my way to recycle, I will buy/eat organic food, and I will purchase sustainable and recycled items. I’ve been here for 25 years and over the past few years I’ve realized that the big and small decisions I make impact me, other people, and this planet. As cliche as it sounds, I’m only one person but I can, and will, make a difference.

“You’ve gotta swim, swim in the dark. There’s no shame in drifting, feel the tides shifting and wait for the spark. You’ve gotta swim, don’t let yourself sink. Just find the horizon. I promise you it’s not as far as you think.”

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