I’ve had to face many troubling encounters in my lifetime. Mistakes have been made.
Some of them have made me stronger, but some have just made me sad because of the pain they’ve caused and because of my own ineptitude. I am not one who can say that I have no regrets. And as difficult as they have been, I feel sorry for those who have none.
I’ve had to learn to forgive myself and to be humble enough to ask others to forgive me. There are times when I sit and wonder what would have happened, had I done something differently. Guilt can be so pressing. Then I have to let go and realize that I can’t undo the past. I can only offer up my sincerest apologies and hope that forgiveness will come.
The events that happen to us can’t always be controlled. We can, however, choose our response. We can choose to not let them diminish us.
This has been the hardest lesson I’ve had to accept. But, without it, I think I’d die from a broken heart.
I know that in some circles it’s not in fashion to be concerned about such things. We are not supposed to think about the past or wonder if only I had done this instead of that. But, I’ve never been able to accept that there are no mistakes and that all of my choices were meant to be… lessons necessary for my growth.
I think of so many times when I could have grown so much more by making a different choice than the one I made; where less pain would have been caused; where opportunities might not have been lost. It doesn’t make me feel better to think that every event is somehow useful or necessary. Not all things need to happen. Mistakes are made.
I’ve been pushed to act in ways that made me feel bad about myself, but yet seemed necessary. Like the time my son stepped just a few inches from my face in an attempt to intimidate me. Something from deep inside of me came to the surface. It was powerful and ugly. I said things that I shouldn’t have said.
That moment will haunt me to my death bed. It will not ruin me, but it will stay with me. I haven’t always been right. Lessons are learned the hard way. But, I can try to be better. To do better. To live for another day.
I can tolerate a lot from others even those who are not very nice. But I have a limit that when reached provokes an exaggerated response. This is my weakness. This is why I’m trying to learn to communicate more effectively… more honestly. I’m trying to let others know how I feel before I reach the point of becoming overly emotional. It seems fairer this way.
When you are not honest with someone about something that’s bothering you at the time when it’s happening, you eventually explode. Things build up and over time the pressure tries to find an outlet. Sometimes this is good and others not so good.
I sent my sister a Christmas present and she sent it back. It upset me. She does many things that upset me. I’ve held on to painful feelings for many years. I told her I thought it rude that she sent the gifts back. She said that she thought the gifts were not well chosen and that they didn’t cost enough, especially when compared to how much she’d spent on the gifts she had purchased for me. This hurt me deeply.
Maybe expressing how you feel is not always the best thing to do.
In life, I have determined that there are things that are right and there are things that are wrong. Sending gifts back is wrong. I have not yet decided whether telling someone it is rude to send gifts back is wrong or not. But it is definitely a difficult thing to do.
Whoever said that there is no right or wrong, no good or bad has never been confronted with a difficult decision. Were they to be confronted with a choice such as which child to turn over to an officer who’d place that child on a train headed to a Nazi Concentration Camp, they’d know that wrong does indeed exist; that there are terrible things.
I don’t subscribe to the notion of not being able to distinguish between these opposites.
I think most of us know what is right, what is good. But I think that sometimes we’re afraid to have an opinion for fear of offending someone or seeming unenlightened. We throw around the notion that a lack of judgment is best. I think that fair judgment is one of the most important things we can own.
I am learning to have better judgment… a right judgment. I realize that I’ll forget to use it sometimes. I’ll lose my head to my heart or my heart to my head or both, adding more pain to the matter. But we must carry on, for trials are to be had and mistakes to be made.
I know some things now that I did not know before. One of these things is that we must learn to distinguish between a personal and an impersonal confrontation. Getting in someone’s face is personal. A car cutting in front of you is not. Knowing this can resolve a lot of misunderstanding and pain.
I also think that we should teach our children how to accept gifts. Treasuring what someone chooses to give you and showing gratitude with a heartfelt smile and a thank you is no small matter. In fact, there are no small matters. It all matters.
When you make eye contact, when you smile, when you listen, it is noticeable and it can change things.
Showing up is sometimes one of the hardest things you can do, but it is imperative that you do it. For if you don’t show up, who will?
I dislike some people. I’ve found that it is generally not because of color, culture, political affiliation, religion or financial status. I find it is because of hypocrisy.
It’s exhausting to hold someone else to a higher standard than you hold yourself. You can do what you want, but then you must also allow others the same advantage.
To outwardly display a quality that is held in high esteem and then when the curtains are drawn throw it out like spoiled garbage is not a sign of having right judgment. Many of us could use some work in this area.
There are many things to say; advice to give; stories to write. When you have lived a half of a century, you know certain things. Like, always pay your debts, follow through on commitments, be careful not to gossip, tell people you love that you love them, and smile more.
Mostly though, choose to be a lover of mankind.
But alas… mistakes will be made.
Edited by Andréa Balt.
[Photos: Wikimedia Commons]
Jeri Senor is a lover of the underdog as she herself is one. She doesn’t usually write satire, but sometimes she just gets all puffed up and rather than burst into a million gazillion pieces and float all over the place, she opts to write and let go of a little steam. She can be reached at [email protected].