“They have a saying in boxing – everyone has a plan till they get hit… well guess what, you just got hit. Whether or not you get up is up to you.” from The Ghost And The Darkness
I remember, years ago, hearing a minister talking about the worst day he ever had. I won’t go into details but suffice to say, it wasn’t much of a day. No one died, nothing bad happened. He was inconvenienced. I remember hearing him and thinking, “That’s the best you got?”
Some people get through lives relatively unscathed. I don’t know them personally but that’s the rumor. For the rest of us, however, life is a series of adventures and misadventures. I have a theory that almost everyone has experienced some form of trauma by the time they are forty. I can’t prove this but it seems to be true in the world I live. To quote the greatest family movie of all time, The Princess Bride, “Life is pain highness, anyone who says different is selling you something.”
We all get hit, from time to time. The older I get the more I notice how differently my life has turned out than I had anticipated. You can have all the plans in the world but they won’t help you if you get Fibromyalgia, or cancer, or are in a car accident. We are all just one bad moment from having our lives drastically changed. Twelve years ago I had my life all planned out, then I got hit. Some hits you never fully recover from. Perhaps that shouldn’t even be the goal. Trauma changes us. The trick may be to use situations we hate to change us in the right direction.
Life isn’t fair. Sometimes the rich do get richer and the pretty people do get all the breaks. Sometimes the jerks and the liars do get ahead and there really seems to be no justice in the world. The Nortel legal battle in Canada, among others, demonstrates that the laws that apply to some, do not necessarily apply to the rich. The right set of high-priced lawyers changes everything.
Have you ever noticed that rich men usually have better hair? There is no justice.
It’s easy to get bitter.
But it doesn’t help one bit.
Have you ever noticed that the older people get the more they become a caricature of themselves? It is as if our personalities are water-soluble and as we age more and more of the water evaporates, leaving us with more “us”. As the capacity to exercise social restraint wears away you begin to see who that person really is. Old people seem to go one of two ways; either they become more gracious, more beautiful, or they get more bitter. So many bitter people.
I do not want to become bitter as I grow older. Already I can see the my tendency to become judgmental, or critical, or just grouchy. There have been people who have hurt me deeply and my natural inclination is to hold grudges and carry that pain forever. Perhaps I am not alone in this.
At the end of the day, like most things, it is about choice. Choice and a great deal of hard work. Left to our own devices many of us will gradually slip further and further towards negativity. Awareness is important. Hard work is much more important. Working on myself cannot, must not, be something I only do when I need to get something or someone. My life is not a thing to be fixed, it is a project to be nourished.
I know from personal experience how damaging it can be to live with bitterness and unforgiveness. I like to say it’s like taking poison and hoping your enemy will die. And it really is that harmful to us to live this way.
- Refusing To Let Go (scott-williams.ca)
- The Ghosts Of Christmas Past (scott-williams.ca)
- The Origins Of Shame (scott-williams.ca)
- Casual Friday – Lessons From Life (scott-williams.ca)
- I’m Not Responsible For Your Happiness (scott-williams.ca)
- Lies We Tell Ourselves – You Can Have It All! (scott-williams.ca)