All too often I notice people making things harder for themselves than they have to be. We all know what we really want deep down inside, yet we chose to betray our desires and do the opposite. This is called self-deception. For so long I did just that. Now that I am doing certain things they that truly makes me happy, at times I feel like a total outcast. Most people I know act the total opposite, and I feel like I weird them out when I do it.
We are so often too afraid to be true to our heart in our dealings with others. Brené Brown has an incredible Ted.com talk titled The Power of Vulnerability. About a year ago I watched this for the first time, and it really opened my mind to what comes natural to kids. The funny thing, as we start getting older and older and we start getting emotionally hurt, we start to close ourselves off from the others. We sometimes open ourselves to new lovers and special friends, but very often communication breaks down even in our closest relationships.
Just say someone says something to you that unintentionally rubs you the wrong way. Instead of just forgiving this person for the honest mistake, our tendency is to get all pissed off and hold that grudge. Think about this. We would rather put our energy towards holding that grudge instead of keeping our relationship strong. We snap back at that person or say something in a condescending way. This makes it hard for the other person to just apologize, offer to mend that pain, and to not let this misunderstanding drive us apart.
This stuff happens all the time. There’s nothing wrong with sharing our displeasure with the person for what what was said. It’s a great thing to let that person know that you were hurt by what was said or done. Why is it just so hard to open up to others and tell the person what is on your mind instead of losing control of our emotions?
In Chapter 64 of the Doctrine and Covenants book from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, there are a couple of verses that explain forgiveness very well. Sharing these is not an invitation to debate of the legitimacy of these Scriptures; just read these words and find the message:
9 Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.
10 I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.
What these verses are saying is that we should always forgive others. It does not say that it is easy. The message that I receive is that forgiveness is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Forgiveness is not for the other person; it is a blessing for you. The quicker you let go of this poison you are ingesting the quicker you can again let happiness into your lives. God wants you see you happy. He gives commandments to help you find peace and happiness in your lives.
Brené Brown’s other talk, Listening to Shame, brings her previous talk full-circle. It is because of shame that we are afraid to be vulnerable. She says, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.” We are afraid to do what we truly want out of fear that others may judge us. We are afraid to just be ourselves. We are just afraid. Forget that. If you follow your heart, you will never allow anyone to shame you again!
The point I was making in the beginning is that we are afraid to just talk from the bottom of our hearts. It is so often that people waste their time and others’ time with fluff talk. No one cares about the weather. Who are you? What makes you special? What are your fears? What are you trying to do to make yourself a better person?
For so long I have avoided the use of the phrase “How are you?” when meeting a stranger. We do not know each other. It is hard to have a genuine interest in the other person at that point. When strangers ask me how I am doing, they usually get weirded out when I give an honest answer. Then I get puzzled as to why the person asked a personal question if the person was not looking for a personal answer.
When dealing with relationships with friends, family, and loved ones, there is almost always some type of hurt at one point. From then on forward there is usually a little less willingness to open our hearts to them again. I am not saying it is easy to forgive and move on, but that absence of forgiveness prevents you from being open and honest with each other.
At that point what is the point of keeping that relationship going? You are wasting your time and the other person’s time. Your most valuable asset is time. It cannot be replaced once wasted. If you are not going to value and honor that time enough to get past the hurt and be true to one another, then what is the point?
Somehow we have to find a way to heal ourselves from all the pains in our lives. We owe it to our friends, family, and loved ones. These pains are our problems. Yes, the other person may have caused that pain. We may have been the victim in that moment. However, going forward, we are responsible to manage our emotions. When we do not forgive, the other person is now the victim of our cruelty.
The sad thing is I know people will disagree with some of the words I have written. We are so wrapped up in these backward ways of doing things that doing what is right now sounds backward. This also holds true with proper grammar. In our culture we are just now so used to text and ghetto-talk that we miss basic mistakes. When a more knowledgeable person tries to correct us, their suggestions sound foreign and we get defensive of what we wrote / said.
I remember one friend I had up through high school. We called his family “The Happy Family.” That is just so stupid. If they get along and did not disrespect each other, why did we have to point that out as if they were weird? If anything, we should have all aspired to be just like them.
I cannot control others. I can live my life the way I want to. I can surround myself with others who want to have a solid, deep relationship with me. I am not saying that there is something wrong with acquaintances. However, we need to do everything we can to honor the relationships we have with friends, family, and loved ones.
You might say, “But Jimmy; you’re not perfect. You have held grudges. You have not always had an open heart in your dealings with friends, family, and loved ones. Who are you to judge me?” I am not trying to judge anyone. After straying away from the way I want to live, I am ready to be a happy person. I am aware of what I need to do. I am still making mistakes; I just made mistakes in this area just this evening.
Acceptance is the first step. Then you can start learning and about what kind of way of being would make you the happiest. Recognizing your mistakes is a great accomplishment. Do not beat yourself up for doing wrong; be happy for yourself that you are on the road to happiness. Fake it ’til you make it!
People will notice you acting differently. Do what you need to do. It is their problem if they do not like this change you are making for yourself and others. Keep plugging away at correcting yourself when you are about to make these mistakes. Eventually you will be breaking your bad habits. I am somewhere on this path. Thank you for supporting me on this journey.
Also, please read the follow-up to this post, “I’m gonna give him a peace of my mind!”