Preconceived Ideas

I’m reading a new book.  It was written by a lady I used to go to church with.  To be honest, I’m not really sure what made me buy it.  Maybe the fact that EVERYONE was raving about it on Facebook, congratulating her on her accomplishment, thanking her for sharing her story.   Since we’re being honest here, I didn’t really like her.  Of course, I didn’t really KNOW her!  She was part of “that group” and I wasn’t.  She didn’t know me, probably didn’t even know my name.

Sounds a bit like high school, huh?  It is painful to admit that I – as an adult – could be so petty.  So I bought the book – curiosity killed the cat, right?  BAM!  The woman is talented!  I am having a hard time putting it down – she is talking to ME!  Laying herself out there, baring her innermost feelings and thoughts and pain.  Encouraging other women who have felt like she did to be brave, stand strong, and love themselves.  Which is really why I started this blog.  To encourage others, to uplift, to share. I don’t know that I have wisdom, but I have learned some lessons along my life’s pathway.

I learned people will hurt you.  Even those who are supposed to love you the most.  A friend, a spouse, a child.  When you give someone entry into your heart, you also give them the potential to hurt you deeply.  And some will.  Sometimes on purpose, sometimes not. But I also learned most won’t.  Most people really are good and kind and genuine.  Along with that, I learned to forgive.  Them for the hurting me part, me for letting them.  A person can, purposefully or unwittingly, cause me pain.  How I react to that pain is totally up to me.  THAT was a freeing discovery!  I control my reactions!  Mind.blown.  No one has control over me but me.

Here’s a really good lesson – all feelings are valid.  I’m going to say that again – ALL FEELINGS ARE VALID!  (Thank you Patty!!)  Whether or not anyone else thinks you should feel a certain way is completely irrelevant!  Once that wonderful little nugget made its way through my thick skull, my whole world changed!  I was free to feel hurt or anger or joy or sadness or excitement or any one of myriads of emotions – nobody else had to approve.  For years I was told I shouldn’t be angry or have my feelings hurt.  Well, yeah, I should! Because that’s how I FEEL!

Are you seeing the pattern here?  As I paid attention and learned about people, I was learning about ME.  And maybe about you too.  One little sentence from this book today that stuck out to me is this: Don’t let cowards with lung capacity determine your value and your worth.  I learned that anyone else’s opinion of me is none of my business.  Now, I want to be a good person/mother/wife/friend, don’t get me wrong.  But someone gossiping or bad mouthing me does NOT make me a bad one.

As I re-read this, it is all kind of jumbled – imaging living in my head!  So here it is in a nutshell:

  • Most people really are good.
  • There are some that will hurt you.
  • Sometimes they will do it on purpose.
  • Forgiveness is not for them, it’s for YOU.
  • You have a right to feel any and every emotion.
  • Don’t be afraid to re-examine something you thought you knew – you might be surprised what you find.
  • Be the kind of woman that fixes another woman’s crown without telling her it was crooked. (yeah, that was a Facebook meme and I LOVE it!)
  • Always be willing to look again, look closer. Maybe you need to learn the rest of the story.