Sunday, October 19, 2014
Yesterday, I got the news that a friend of mine had died. She had been battling cancer for years.
A few months ago, she came over to my house to pick out the music for her funeral. She knew this disease was going to take her life. She had accepted that, and was okay with it. She just wanted to make sure she had everything in order before she passed. She set little goals for herself. She wanted to get through the holidays. She wanted to see her youngest daughter graduate from high school. She wanted to go to Boston to help her daughter get settled in for college. I think setting these goals gave her the strength to keep fighting.
To say she was an amazing person would be a huge understatement. She was a beautiful soul who faced this awful disease that stole half her life with such grace and dignity. She was one of the strongest women I have ever met, and I can't believe she is gone.
She has been a huge inspiration to me, so I decided I would dedicate todays post to her, and to inspiring messages of hope and our own personal goals.
I have been writing a lot lately about feeding your soul, and walking away from negativity in your life. I really don't think I can say it enough. These are things that baffled me for over 20 years.
Before I really understood what depression was, I just assumed I was in a crappy mood all the time. This was before I became addicted to self-help books and therapy. ;)
I also didn't understand how important it was for me to change my thinking.
I was soooo good at playing the martyr. It felt good to feel sorry for myself, and if I was lucky, I could sometimes get my husband to feel sorry for me too. Of course, when you sit around feeling sorry for yourself all day, you start to sink into that dark hole, and it's hard to pull yourself back out.
It took awhile for me to figure it out, but it really was all about how I looked at things. How I thought about things. I could either view my life as difficult and miserable, or I could be grateful for what I had. Things weren't perfect, but they could be so much worse. In reality, I had it pretty darn good. I had two healthy kids, a husband who loved us, a roof over our heads and food on the table. What was I complaining about?
Fortunately, as time went on, I started figuring this life thing out. I started to realize that I was the only person in charge of my happiness. I had always relied on others to make me happy. I would feed off of how I was treated by those around me, and allow that to determine whether or not I felt worthy, or important, or liked. If their response to me was positive, I felt great. If they ignored me, or treated me poorly, I would be crushed. I never stopped to consider that perhaps they were having a bad day, or that something was going on in their lives that I wasn't aware of. Instead, I would just jump to conclusions, and allow someone else's behavior determine how I felt.
So, I started relying on myself to create my own happiness. I wasn't going to let anyone else make that decision for me anymore. I also noticed how easy it was to let another persons mood or demeanor rub off on me if I was around them on a regular basis. This was great if it was a positive, outgoing, loving person. However, it was pretty detrimental when it was someone who just spewed forth negativity and anger. I started to really take notice of who I was spending time with. Did they make me feel good when I was around them? Were our conversations positive and light hearted? Did we speak of others with high regard?
Or, did I find all of our conversations tended to lean toward negative gossip, or hurtful conversations about other people who were my friends? Did I disagree with what the other person was saying, but felt uncomfortable saying so, because I was afraid of the backlash that would occur?
I realized that I need to rid this type of relationship from my life. It was doing nothing to enhance my life in anyway, and it wasn't adding to my happiness, so it needed to go.
One thing that has always made me crazy is when people say hurtful things about me....and I find out about it. I have this need to have zero conflict in my life. My gut reaction is to confront the person immediately and get to the bottom of it. However, I usually give myself time to step back from the situation, and cool down. If it truly is an issue that needs to be worked out, I will deal with it. If it is just stupid gossip, I let it slide. More often than not, it is really about the person spreading the gossip...not me. I always find it so interesting when this occurs between ADULTS. I get it when 12 year olds have these sorts of conflict, but when you have 40 or 50 year olds getting completely bent out of shape over jealousy or pride, or God knows what, yet they are still to immature to just talk to the person they are upset with, and instead resort to hurtful gossip....well, I just don't get it.
My advice to anyone who is the topic of gossip....let it roll off your back. It has nothing to do with you. It has EVERYTHING to do with the person behind the nasty words, so stay strong!
And to anyone who chooses to spread the gossip....just think before you speak. Please.
and remember, no matter how hard you try, and how kind and loving you are....there is ALWAYS going to be someone out there whom you rub the wrong way. So, just keep being you...because that is all you can do! :)
I am pretty sure that I have taken the wrong turn at every path I have attempted to go down. I could certainly write a book about "What NOT To Do With the First 40 Years of Your Life....if You Want a Peaceful and Tear-Free Existence."
However, I'm glad I made all those mistakes, because I have learned from them all. And I feel like I am just now starting to get a handle on things....and am finally figuring out who I am. I remember not liking myself for a really long time. I'm not sure why...but I just didn't like who I was. I think I felt like I didn't know who I was....so I couldn't determine how I really felt. I took on different personas depending upon where I was. There was "at home Beth," or "at work Beth," or "out with friends Beth," or "in public Beth." Every one of them was different.
Finally, I think I have found "just Beth," and I'm totally okay with her. She doesn't need to be the life of the party. She is perfectly content staying at home on a Friday night. She enjoys interacting with other people, but also loves to be alone. She is going to tell it like it is, and not apologize for it, because that is just the way it needs to be. She doesn't care if she can squeeze into those size 5 jeans...(she wouldn't MIND if she could...but is totally ok if she can't) and she is TOTALLY fine with going out in public with NO make-up on....because she just doesn't give a crap.
I am finally comfortable in my own skin.
And here is the beautiful thing.
Just this year I realized that it doesn't matter that I'm not in my 20's anymore. I can still chase after any darn dream that I want. I could still go back to school and become a brain surgeon if I wanted to. (yeah...that would be interesting. I can't even stomach lumpy yogurt without gagging...the thought of even looking at a brain makes me dry heave.)
But the bottom line is: It's never too late.
Even if you don't have a "dream" in mind....you still must have something in your life that makes you smile. Something that you look forward to. So, you NEED to do that!
And then, start picturing yourself in one year. Where do you want to be? What do you want to be doing? Is there something in your life that needs to change to accomplish that? Is it a big change, or just small little steps that can bring you toward your goal?
We only live once....so we might as well do a bang up job this time around!
I know change can be tough sometimes, but it is also an adventure. I LOVE change. That is probably one of the reasons we have moved so much. If Mark would let me, I would move to a new house every three years or so. (He never lets me do anything fun!!) ;)
I know many people who dread change. They are perfectly content to keep everything the way it is, even if they aren't happy.
I think Oprah describes it beautifully:
"We can't become what we need to be by remaining what we are."
So here is my question for you today: "What do you need to be?"
Happy Sunday! xo