Tonight’s post deals with finding a balance in life when you want to try hard and you want a positive outlook even though you feel like you are between a hard place and a cliff. Akin to the landscape revolving scenery of Inception, there is the ability of changing mountains to plains or the reversal. It’s a matter of where, when, and timing.
I am a genealogist, and a younger one at that. Although I know what I am doing in some aspects (research, billing, hours, some amount of marketing), in others I feel way too green. I’m learning how to run a business even as I run a business. This is scary stuff and I see my weaknesses with a microscopic lens. That’s not to say that I’m not good, but making ALL the decisions yourself is daunting.
At the same time, I barely started working for a boutique and may help to improve their operations as fast as allowed. Inventory control, building online presence, SEO optimization, other marketing, and improving sales. The librarian in me loves order, and likes making order out of chaos for others even though my life is less orderly. While it’s not anywhere near perfect, I see where my responsibilities are and it is likely that I have taken on way too many tasks than I may handle adequately. Time to sort things out for potential delegation, or just better time management. My taxes next year will be more complicated than I would prefer.
There are many people I care about who of late may need things that are not mine to give. I’m not sure which Disney movie it was (perhaps Lady Cluck from the animated Robin Hood) but lately the phrase, “[I am so in the mood] to knock heads together!” keeps coming to mind. While I would never imagine myself physically doing that, there are many people who need massive doses of self-promotion mirror smashing. (Their vision appears to be as if seeing only a mirror, and I want to remove the blinder but can’t.) Or, who need to take a dose of gratitude serum. The least impressive people I know are the ones who are not grateful and concerned about others. That door revolves a lot, and I walk through it on a regular basis- being humble and grateful for life, and then being more self-intoxicated with my problems. Although that is sometimes a personal diagnosis, today it is less so.
I learned on the mission that the first person that needs examining when a complaint arises is self. Whenever pointing fingers, two or three always point back at yourself. That means, Am I the problem or am I the cure? Or am I a middleman who needs to “get the heck outta Dodge?”
Many of my closest friends have tons of health problems. This is not new to me. Starting at the beginning of my undergraduate career, it seems that I find people with extraordinary talents who also are extraordinarily ill in ways that are less-diagnose-able and need more help and care to treat. This post is not about those people. Those people are rock stars, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
This is about the people who instead of going through hell give themselves self-inflicted hell. There were phases of my life where I gave myself plenty of Hades. But then, I grew up and learned that things aren’t always my fault, that people make mistakes, and how to move on. Instead of dwelling on sins (got anything there taken care of ), the past (acceptance and forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting and trusting when that is unwise), or things that I could not control, I focused on what was good, what was doable and became a problem solver versus a wallow-er.
When I was a child, sometimes my Mom would get on my case for “pity parties.” And then when I was a teenager, a better friend would either rub his index finger over his thumb imitating the world’s tiniest violin for when I was in the same self-pity mode, or else ask if I’d like some cheese with that whine. He was priceless for my intermediate growth. Now, I’ve been through the Hades. The main point of that sentence being “been through” evoking a past tense action where triumph occurred. That means acting on faith, bucking up, gearing up, and getting over yourself. Losing oneself in good works, faith, and grace instead of growing old in your reflection pool.
There are times when empathy is appropriate. This is again, not dismissing that. There are other times when people have to stop huddling in a corner, stand up, and see their armor and that it works. It is a rallying cry. Something that says that, guess what? Your life IS NOT over because of some trial.
For the people who whine the most, they act as if everything in everyone else’s lives revolves around them, and what they seem to forget is that real life happiness depends upon other people. Real happiness depends upon service, and of learning about and helping others. Physically serving is only one mode of service. There are plenty of other modes, and it does not take an intensively creative mind to consider them. Instead of asking everyone else to bow to one’s wishes, try seeing what can be done for them for a change. Being considerate and caring is not supposed to be a one-way thing. Those are called dependent relationships, and they frustrate versus helping. Co-dependent relationships may be even worse, but I won’t focus on that here.
I’m learning how to be okay with not being “needed.” Although I definitely care about the people who other people are not easily friends with, and who need other people to be around them and to care, I’m learning about personal preservation recently. Learning boundaries and how to have transparent aluminum up as a shield. (Other people can see you, but they can’t seep away your assets, strength, etc.) Call me one of the virgins in the parable who said, “Sorry, but go to the people who sell and buy your own oil. I just have enough for me and my house.” (Paraphrased.) People who suck the life out of others around them really need a cattle prod (or shaken something) to wake them up. It’s more important to help versus being ornery, or versus being toxic or dangerous.
It’s been a rougher week. Some of my friends who aren’t toxic black holes (black hole translation: are unwilling to make a stand and change the things that they can [see Serenity Prayer]
and which have been kindly pointed out to them, or rudely, either way) are the people who I have to give up. Some of these people are a lot closer than my family, but it seems necessary to follow what otherwise may make less sense but I hope means a positive outcome. I’m learning that everyday courage takes more strength than big acts of valor. It takes consistency, truth to self/God, and fortitude. None of these are easy.
I don’t meant to be some self-righteous little kid (or inexperienced person) who spouts judgmental thoughts for the sake of hearing herself talk. More like, I see changes that need to happen and am not sure how to work on anyone other than myself. No one can successfully force anyone else’s agency, and God has better taste than to do that. Gentle, patient persuasion is one thing. Strident, argumentative attitudes another. I am a Scottish-descended firebrand from both sides, and even though I have no wishes of being argumentative (peace makes me happier than anything else on planet now or ever), there is so much injustice and hypocrisy in the world that it’s hard not to get upset.
My home teacher mentioned that in some circumstances, getting upset is normal. You shouldn’t trust just anyone, and otherwise it’s okay to say, “Hold on. Wait a minute!” I do want the best for people, but I’m not idiot. Perhaps a bit of a push-over, I have my limits. And of late, I’ve been pushed enough. No guts no glory? More like, “People, hold your own weight. Act well thy part, but don’t pretend.” I’m not a wishy-washy lukewarm gospel learner. It’s passionate or bust. Unfortunately, I tend to bust a little more than I’d like. Oh well. That’s part of learning. I’d prefer to be more like a balloon. Gentle inflation works so much better than stabbing air into a random piece of rubber.
Got in a great and glorious nap today. Forget the Super Bowl. Give me a decent bed, enough covers to cover up well, and some time where I don’t have to constantly think about this or that thing, and I was out for four hours. And now I’m up at 1AM about to finally get to bed.