I do believe in doing what makes you happy and there are times that what makes you happy will not make others happy and well, vice versa. You have to remember this when people choose to do what makes them happy! It may be our children, a relative, a parent, a sibling, or a close friend. Even if we know, the outcome may not be good for them. We don’t have to accept it or we can accept it. Either way, we should respect it.
We cannot control others lives even if their lives are stressing the hell out of us. As a matter of fact, we have to learn not to let their lives stress the hell out of us! It’s not my job to choose a person’s path to learn lessons in this life and it’s not their job to choose my path on how I learn in this life. We may be allowed to provide light and water, fertilize, but we do not choose how they will grow, when or if at all! As I get older, I start to focus more on doing what makes me happy, lining up what makes me happy within my faith’s standards and understanding that God gives us all some lead way based on our own personalities and desires. Making doughnuts may make you happy. Teaching a women’s bible study may bring you great happiness. Having a wine tasting party may make you happy. Witnessing to others, going to a prison ministry, etc. may make you happy. Traveling the world may make you happy. Choosing the one YOU love and adore may make you happy. It is your choice and your consequences. It is not mines. Have no need to make others enjoy your happiness.
You argue it’s a sin! They are wrong! They are headed down the wrong path! Speak your peace when you need to in an effort to guide others, not to control others. Try to reach them yes…control them no. Quote your scripture to guide others, not to control others and then be at peace! I know it’s not that simple…but it can be.
NOTE: We are not talking about evil and maliciousness. We are talking life choices. Although, so do choose a path leading to death, unhappiness, and prison. Even in those people’s lives, I believe someone tried to reach them, guide them, shed light and water their souls. I hope.
Some of us grew up in loving and caring environments and some of us did not. Some of us grew up in loving and caring environments that were flawed on some level. Sometimes deeply flawed or sometimes tumultuous depending on the problems the parent or parents had. It could have been an ill parent, an unfaithful parent, it could have been arguing all the time, or the parent could be one that came and went. Today I want to speak to those that grew up with the Critic Parent. The one that ALWAYS had something negative to say or critiqued everything you did or every choice you made.
I grew up with one. Every choice you made, there was a better one. When you did your chores, there was always something you could have did better or forgot. When you did things to try to impress that parent, they were not all that impressed. Each time you did your hair or got dressed, they would frown up at your attire or choice and I am not talking about the typical parent-child disagreement about clothes and hair. This is beyond that. This is a tear down of the child. A ripping of their power to make choices and to feel good about their choices and themselves. All of this is about that and the child needing to be supported, guided, and free to be an individual. I felt singled out from all of my siblings. The boys in the family didn’t have this problem, but the only sister I had said she would experience it from time to time, but as soon as she was able to she left the house.
The constant stares, criticism, correction, and questioning of everything I did, said, or chose literally destroyed my self esteem. I was already an outsider with my red hair as an African American child, my brainy self, my extreme shyness, and artys personality. I wasn’t accepted in many circles and to be home and not accepted was traumatic to my sensitive soul. Did you know, that those who are artists and creative types have a spectrum on the emotional scale as more sensitive than normal and that can swing to more depressed than normal? I had no idea until I started seeing a psychologist. My mother always said “If you just look at me, I would start crying.” I wonder if she created that insecurity within me or fostered it. I don’t know.
I second guess everything I did, said, and every choice I made as a young adult. It caused me to be paralyzed with fear. I had no confidence. If this is normal mines was twice as bad. Even after choices were made I worried that I was wrong, I didn’t know what I was doing, there you go again…not getting it right. I was surprised when things worked out. An even then, I was not sure that things would be okay.
Many things contributed to my bouts of depression and need to want to escape this world by suicide. I know this was one of them. I equated a wrong choice in anything I did as a reflection of how I could never and would never get it right. Even the simplest things. I was beyond self conscious and not just in the way I look, but in the work I did. Even now I have to say “Hey, it’s good enough. You did your best.” I also had to learn to not do what was did to me to others and when I had my daughter, I vowed to not utilize that aspect of my parent. I did take all of the good from that parent, which was a lot, and use it.
I believe there are many reasons a parent does this. I think we expect parents to be perfect or to know better, but the truth is they are not perfect and they do not know “how to” always do better. Hurting people hurt other people. When we are children we don’t know or think about the fact our parents have lived some type of life before us and has experienced some type of childhood…both of these things either good, bad, or traumatic. These things have an effect on the parent as a child, as an adult, and as your parent. Many hurt parents have know idea of the psychological effects of their behavior on their children and we grow up to think many of the things we experienced were normal and acceptable until we meet other children and other adults. If you can’t recognize the signs of your behavior as detrimental to the shaping of the child, then you as the parent continue to do what you do. The generation before me were not privy to psychology or child psychology. They were too busy trying to make a living. The way they dealt with things were to not talk about them. But, guess what? Buried feelings and events of our lives are still alive if they are not dead. However, we as the children who grew up in some sort of tainted or warped environment, now have the privilege of that knowledge that we may be better parents and better human beings. We also have the work of healing ourselves from these scars.
I am now realizing that I survived by learning through trial and error, my commitment to not repeat those mistakes by taking different actions, some education about parenting, my relationship with God, the wisdom of the Spirit, other wise souls, and yes, therapy. I survived by accepting the relationship I have with that parent, sometimes calling them on their behavior and holding them accountable, and other times letting it go. I survived by releasing my anger and hurt. I survived with knowledge of the effects of trauma on people who never admit or talk about what’s really going on, but instead choose to respond with some outward action or to remain silent and bottled up.
However, for this leg of my journey at 42, I am here to be liberated this year and to be legendary in my doings. I need to THRIVE and not just survive. I thrive by forgiving and by forgiving I am free (liberated). I thrive by realizing that parent may never seek counseling, deliverance, or healing, but my choice to not feed into it or to have some compassion for the hurt child inside that parent, is liberating my emotions to choose happiness even if they are miserable. And all of that is a legendary step for my soul’s journey.
What good is learning a lesson from life and you decide not to apply it to your life? Well, that’s like knowing touching a hot stove will burn your hand and the opportunity presents itself the next morning when you turn on the stove to place your hand on it. It’s not wisdom. What you have is knowledge and how you convert knowledge to wisdom is by applying it to your life. On the outside many are strong by appearance, but when the shades go down in their home, they are weak on the inside. A person with great physical strength, muscles, and who is lean, looks like they take care of there body, but if they are hitting the gym and then hitting the bottle or fast food joints well the inside is still weak. It’s funny how the mind can be strong enough to subject itself to physical strength and not enough for the person to eat well. Actually, it’s just an area they are weak in and it needs to be strengthen by right action, choices, and discipline. The mind will do what your spirit tells it to do, if YOU decide to do it. It’s true the spirit is willing, but the flesh, not so much. -The Bible.
If you are going to build your inner strength it is going to take discipline. It’s going to take depositing spiritual things into your spirit and applying them to life. It takes thinking back onto what happened the last time you did that, said that, and how it affected you and others. It takes caring about the outcome of your actions. You’re going to have to go through training. Don’t you worry, life has been training you all along by presenting the same obstacle courses over and over. You don’t necessary receive a grade if you fail, you receive the consequences and the opportunity to try it again or improve. Even if you pass, you may encounter the same situations again. This perfects and matures you spiritually.
So, if you want to build inner strength take heed to the lessons life has/is teaching you. Let wisdom manifest in your life by applying what you know. If you don’t know, there are so many avenues available to learning. Do you want to learn? Someone has written a book about it. Someone is teaching and preaching about it. Someone is having a seminar or lecturing about it. Eat up, digest, manifest. Practice the art of no and yes. No to what you don’t want and yes to what is right for you.
“You convert knowledge to wisdom by applying what you know to your life and life situations.” -Nicole Jackson
I picked my daughter up from school and as soon as she got in the car I knew something terrible must have happened that day. I said “What’s wrong?” She said “A girl tried to fight me today.” I won’t go into details about the ordeal, but I will tell you one thing that made me proud. My daughter said to her “I don’t fight. I don’t fight unless I have to defend myself. I don’t believe in being violent. That’s not what I do, but if you want to talk it out we can. But, I am not going to fight you.” Then she said the girl kept it up (the teacher was out of the room) and my daughter said she got up and left the classroom. My daughter was so angry her head was hurting. She was so upset, stressed, that she talked about it for an hour. I was angry, to0. BUT, I had to be a MATURE and RESPONSIBLE PARENT and not let my emotions of someone causing my daughter turmoil get the best of me.
She asked, “Was I wrong for defending my friend?”
My response: No, but the best way to defend your friend when someone is talking about them is to REMAIN their friend in spite of. The other girl has a right to say whatever she wants to say about anyone. It’s her right to be a gossiper, a liar, a mean girl. Sometimes it’s a reflection of parenting and sometimes a parent has no idea their child is acting this way. Though, I suspect, they may have some clue and ignore it.
She informed the hall monitor, the hall monitor sent her to another classroom and the teacher in that classroom welcomed her in. Once things were offer they went to the original classroom, to let the other teacher know what happened. In the end, the teacher took care of the situation and she has not had any problems this week.
Another thing that bothered me was my daughter said she knows people talk about people. She knows people even talk about her. However, it seems as if this year, she is more aware of it as she can actually hear them saying things about her. You know, she’s weird or she basically is a student with good conduct and good grades. A nerd, so to speak. Ahhh, I can relate to those days. Plus I had red tha stood out in the midst of African American children. I was called names from Elementary to High School. It did affect my self esteem. She’s also an artsy, do your own thing, don’t follow the crowd type of girl, which I raised her that way from a toddler up until now. I realized a long time ago, my daughter is her own person. But, I also raise her to respect others, let others be themselves, don’t force your religious beliefs on others, don’t put people down and talk about them, and to be kind and tough when you need to be. And to please think before you act and think for yourself! She is not perfect…but who’s child is? Obviously, the mean girl is not perfect. However, some things you just EXPECT from your children. Kindness and nonviolence should be two of them.
To sum it up to her: “I know this was a terrible experience. A worse day in high school history. This will not be the last time you encounter mean girls. Mean girls have self esteem issues. Mean girls are trying to find their place. Mean girls may have family problems. Mean girls can sometimes, after life forms and shapes them, because their parents wouldn’t, can become nice girls or women in the long run. However, when you start working and living in this world, you will find some mean women who are still the same mean girls. Sadly.”