Friday, February 27, 2015

LENT: Order Your Own World

This is a journey of good things. It is introspection. It is digging into the reasons behind why I focus too much on things that don’t matter… on things that hinder my life, instead of help it.

But it’s also a journey of Empowerment. It’s beginning to understand that I am not obligated to stay in situations where my faith in what I know to be true is continually tested. I am not obligated to be in relationship with people who are unkind to me. But neither am I obligated to stay in relationships with people to whom I struggle to be kind myself.

Our worlds have gotten much bigger with the advent of the internet. And in a lot of cases, that’s a really wonderful thing. Some of my best friends are people who live far away. Some of my best friends are people that I’ve met through that internet, that I never would have come in contact with, if it weren’t for that outwardly-growing world.

But there is no rule that says you have to be friends with everyone. There is no rule that you have to be exposed to everyone all the time.

You’re allowed to order your own world…  you can “friend” and “follow” who you like. You can choose to undo those things too, if it’s best. Not everyone needs to be part of your world… 

Sometimes you need to stop and take stock of whether people add value to your life or not – and also whether you add value to theirs.

This doesn’t have to be a value judgment on another person’s worth. It’s a value judgment on whether they’re a positive part of your life, on whether they’re healthy for you to be exposed to.

There is no rule that says someone else’s negativity has to be something you are exposed to. If it’s something that you can’t handle – whatever the reason –

Take the reins. Be in control. Make your own choices.

Order your own world.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

LENT: Why Insult is Hard to Ignore

So why does insult hurt?  And I don't mean from people that care about me, or that I earnestly care about...  but what about from people that I'm really not friends with or people who don't really know me well or people that I really don't even like that much?  Why do their comments or their opinions get to matter to me? Why do I let them?

"It is not insult from another that causes you pain. 
It is the part of your mind that agrees with the insult."

I saw this the other day and it really resonated with me. I know my faults. I know the things that I wish I was better at, that I try to be better at but fail more often than I care to admit. And probably... I focus on those things way too much. I make them bigger than they really are. So when things come that illuminate how I feel about those things.... they sting.

They sting a lot....  Perhaps because when they come, that voice in my head that constantly harps on those things, oh it smugly pipes up and says, "See?"

The trouble is that those things are rarely fully honest.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

LENT: Same Coin, Other Side

I really need to find some balance.

Yesterday, I found myself in a place where I was on a friend’s Facebook status. Defending the Art of the Selfie. Against someone I didn’t know.

The whole last couple days, I’ve been in this empowered “Not Taking Crap Anymore” sort of place.  I’m not sure there’s anything wrong with that exactly. To be honest, it feels a little good to feel like I am taking back control and not letting myself get walked over.

But in that place… I was arguing with someone that I didn’t even know about something sort of dumb.

On the positive, I wasn’t CHANGING what I did because someone didn’t like it. But, probably I was arguing about it because I felt like I needed to defend myself… like I needed to say why it was okay for me to take pictures and post them on the internet. I needed to not be judged…. And so I had my say.

But is that any better?

I guess I’m exploring what this all means. What does it mean to care less about what people think of you… to not let it matter? What does it look like in thought? What does it look like in action?

I’ve thought a lot the last day or so about people pleasing. I know that’s me. Some people may think it’s not, but it so is. I want people to like me… and so I will tweak myself to fit into what I think that is.  Is people pleasing and not letting people’s opinions of me matter so much… are they the same thing? Are they linked? Is one the cause and one the effect?

Things I want to explore a little more…

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

LENT: Behind My Lenten Journey

So far, this is going well… but perhaps this is more because I’m busy or because I haven’t done anything much in the last 24 hours to make anyone mad at me.

A little truth…  This decision was borne out of not-a-little mad.  That might not be the best place to pick a Lent thing from, I guess, but it’s true. I have had someone following me on Twitter for the last year or so.  They are friends with someone who… hates me….  And I’ve never been quite sure of them. Were they following me to be nice or to simply “spy?”  which is a little silly, since everything I do is public.  But that was my skepticism. Could they be trusted to be a friend or did I always need to keep them at arm’s length?

Twice, in the last week, they’ve responded to tweets I’ve written.  But… not in a reply-y sort of way, but by RTing what I said with a possibly challenging comment with it.  The first time, I responded brightly. The second, I ignored it. I don’t know why someone would respond that way if they were interested in communication.  It really seemed to me like the action was taken as a way to call me out, as a way to publicize further the remark I made that they disagreed with or took issue with… in the hopes that others would do the same.

I guess I’m just fed up.  I don’t want to do that crap anymore, and as I talked myself into NOT responding to the second comment… my conversation went “Why do you even care what they think? You’ve been nice, but you know that you’re not friends, and you know that you don’t trust them to have your best interests at heart or to even ever interpret your words in a positive light. … So why do you care?”

It was to that thought that Lent came about for me.  That voice was right. Why do I care? Why do I let those people make me less? Why do I let that poison change me?

Joel said it best years ago when he asked me, “Why would you let bitter unhappy people change who you are?

My husband is a smart man. He’s right… why would I?  and that’s what this Lent is about for me.  I’m going to change that. I’m going to change my propensity to focus on the opinions of others. I am going to learn to be comfortable with who I am… even if no one else is.

Monday, February 23, 2015

What I'm Giving Up For Lent

Some people choose Words or Themes for their new year...  and I always struggle with that. I can never seem to stumble on the THING for my year and I wonder how people do.

But Lent?  Lent seems to find me.

Lent is generally new to me...  The churches I've attended have been more non-denominational and have never really put much emphasis on it.  It's only been through association with others in my adult life that I've been more exposed to the idea of it... and I like it.

A few years ago, I stumbled across an article that spoke to me. I wouldn't be able to find it now but it talked about giving up actions and attitudes as opposed to things.  I've always liked that. I don't wish to criticize how anyone else does Lent... That's yours.  But there is something I like about giving up an action that is different from merely depriving myself of something I like.  Like it's more than a 6 Week Detox Diet.

I usually set out to find something that's right for that year.  I begin thinking about chocolate or coffee or wine... and then think more about what attitudes I need to change in myself.  This year, I started with complaining...  but deep down, I knew that really wasn't somewhere that I needed to fix.  Not that I never complain, but I'm far too optimistic for that to be my worst problem.  Not killing people who do complain all the time, maybe, but...

And then, BAM....  *inserts heavenly angel music*....  it just comes.

You guys, I spend a stupid amount of time, energy, and emotion worrying about what other people think.  Worse, I spend a stupid amount of time, energy, and emotion worrying about what other people who I don't even like think.

Quite honestly, I'm sick of it. I'm sick of myself doing that.

So, Lent?  You and me, we're going to spend six weeks actively being ourselves without apology.  We're going to spend six weeks actively not letting ourselves worry about what people think of us. We're going to spend six weeks just freaking relaxing about everything a bit.

And when Lent is over, oh boy do I hope it's a new thing that sticks around.  This is not 6 Week Detox Diet that we stop doing just because Lent is over.  I want this to stick around. I want Lent to change me.

I think maybe that's what it's really for.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Holes That Don't Fit

Many years ago, I was part of an online group of friends, lovely people that I loved and cared for (and still do).  But I ended up leaving the group for an extended period.

A lot of things happened. I changed. I changed a lot.

And then I tried to go back.  But, it just didn't work.

There were a lot of things going on there, but in retrospect, I think that a lot of it was that I had changed.  But the hole that was left for me was in the shape of the person I had been before. I kept trying to shove my changed self into a hole that no longer fit me, and I eventually gave up. Who I had been and who I was just no longer matched... and I couldn't figure out how to reconcile the two.


Maybe I've been going through something similar lately. I've changed over the last couple years -- and in ways that I'm pleased with. Ways that I don't wish to unchange.

And I think that I've been trying to force people to fit into my changes. That I've asked them to change in ways themselves that parallel mine.  And perhaps they have been doing the same... changing and expecting me to line up accordingly.

I think that perhaps I've come to a place where I am beginning to understand that happiness won't come by expecting others to change for you, or expecting others to fit into your changes, or to change in the same ways that you are. It comes in knowing who you are, who you've become -- and living accordingly with who that is.

Sometimes that means accepting that the people who fit with you before... don't. And that doesn't make anyone bad. It just means that the longer you stay trying to shove each other into who you want them to be now, the longer you'll both be unhappy.  That perhaps the answer is to just let each other be changed - and maybe that means parting ways.  That is an okay thing

Not all roads run together forever. But that doesn't mean that both roads don't lead to somewhere worthy of going.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

When You Have to Walk Away

There comes a time when you have to walk away from someone that you care for. And that is so hard.

You don't hate them. You don't think they're terrible people -- but you have to walk away, nonetheless. and your heart breaks.

To simply walk away...  it makes everything you tried for, everything you worked for... it makes it all for naught. And oh, you will miss them.

But sometimes you just have to. You have your reasons and I wouldn't tell you whether they're right or wrong. Who could know that? Maybe your roads will come around again and things will be right.  Maybe they won't.

But what you can know is this. It wasn't for naught.

You loved and you laughed and you cried and you shared and you learned and you lived.  And how could there be naught in that?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Surviving Stronger

Maybe, as much as you try, you can't completely control whether you get hurt. And it will sting. And you will cry.

It will break you and you will wonder how you can recover.

But you do... because... well, life does not end over mere heartbreak. You heal. You pick up. You go on.

You go on stronger. You don't really even think about it -- you just do, one foot in front of the other. You survive. You patch over the places where you were wounded... and you just survive.

But what you don't realize is that you survive stronger.

One day, someone will hurt you again -- Life is like that.

But as you crouch into your defensive stance... you begin to realize that you are not the same person that was hurt the first time.  Somewhere in your survival, you got tougher. You changed. You accept less crap. You demand more respect -- and you should.

You realize that this time is different. That this time, you are different.

Maybe it still hurts this time...  but this time, you will face it with courage and strength and a knowledge of who you are now.

And they won't hurt you the same way -- because you won't let them.

You're different now and it's time they knew.
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