What If People Just Do Things - Not actually TO us ...
What a time of learning, growing and realisation. Welcome to life. I commented to a girlfriend ‘just when I thought I nearly knew everything …’
There is a phrase ‘Hurt people, hurt people’. I have always looked at the glass half full, tried to see the best in others, giving the benefit of the doubt. My integrity has always been of huge importance and these were things that I deliberately showed Ben. Ha! I realise now that he was/is the master of so much of what I thought I was teaching him. Perhaps it is the benefit of being forever young and not being influenced by the world of 40+ years. Older does not always equal wiser.
Recently I have had moments where I have questioned whether all this ‘positive’ philosophy really serves us, and I concluded that it depends on what the intention is and what our expectations are. Where do our actions sit on our integrity and personal belief scale? And why do we do what we do?
So, what if people just do things? and don’t actually do things TO us? Sure, there are always examples of those acting out of spite but what if that’s what we tell ourselves and they are just doing what they do based on who they are and what they believe. Does it really matter if it’s deliberate or not? Is this relevant? I believe it is always how we respond that matters. Our reactions and responses are what grow us into compassionate and empowered beings or bitter and miserable bodies that are not dead but are not alive either. How fine is this balance?
A cat recently came into my life. You may remember, I am not a cat person (neither was Ben). My opinion (judgement) of them up to now, has been as mostly arrogant, dispassionate and self-centred creatures. Perhaps they did not meet my ‘expectations’. I smile as I think of the human cats I have met and how futile my expectations have been there. After a quick visit to the vet, this cat’s name is George and he is 12 months old. His owners are having their own challenges and cannot look after him right now. So, he seems to be temporarily/indefinitely living with me.
Fun fact: George was also the name of our parrot when Ben was born, and we had him for several years afterwards… the parrot not Ben… well we had Ben too… oh never mind.
Ben also asked if we could get a kitten just prior to the accident … but it’s probably just all coincidence …
When George the cat arrived, he was starving. He was reasonably playful and affectionate, but my ‘judgement’ led me to conclude he had just learned how to manipulate his world in order to get fed and he would eventually start acting like a cat again. Not very glass half full I guess, but when it occurred to me, he had fought to survive, I had a weird respect for him.
I have found myself watching him and his mannerisms and totally believing this is happening for a reason, wanting to understand what I am supposed to be learning … oh and why I have a cat living with me. As he has become confident that the food will keep coming, he has started to relax – and the lessons have begun. When the student is ready the teacher appears.
There are two kinds of expectation. Expectations of others and expectations of ourselves and life.
If I have an expectation of someone else, I am deciding that I will ‘feel’ according to how they (re)act. In reality, I have no control over how others act or react therefore this kind of expectation surrenders control over my emotions. How does this serve me?
If I have an expectation that life works out the way it is supposed to and the Universe has my back so to speak then I just need to be true to myself, be aware of my own beliefs and maintain my own sense of integrity. This kind of expectation is free from judgement and independent of what anyone else thinks, does or believes.
I have an expectation/belief of life that nothing is random and that I can be as great and as influential and as empowered as I choose to be. This includes the times when ‘it is what it is’.
Sometimes people’s decisions directly impact us, but it is ultimately how we respond that determines who we are. It is perfectly okay and sometimes crucial to feel pain and sadness in order to grow and heal, but it I wonder if the responsibility lies on us individually and how we choose to react and not the other persons actions. People will do what they do. People don’t always think of other people.
We have been given unlimited choices in life and with each choice the chance to ‘choose our own adventure’.
I am eternally proud of and will never be upset with Ben for the choices he made despite how I have felt in the last two years. I am okay to be sad and I am prepared for the many more dips and rises in my roller coaster. To blame him for how I feel would be illogical and ridiculous …. So why do we blame OTHER people for how WE feel day in day out?!
‘Sometimes people don’t stay in our lives for long but the lessons they teach us do.’