Putting It Out There

I try to put out into the universe what I would like to see come back to me. For example, when dealing with other people, I always try to treat them with the same respect and courtesy that I would like in return. I try to treat people the way I would like to be treated — or better, actually. Sometimes, when dealing with a particularly annoying or rude person, I try to tell myself, “Self, how would you respond to this person if he/she wasn’t a stranger, but was actually your Mom?” Once I put things into those terms, it’s a little easier for me to have compassion, or to ignore insults and rudeness, or, at the very least, to have a little bit more patience. I try hard to live my life this way, and I try to live my faith this way, too. I know I don’t openly talk about my faith a lot in here, but it is very important to me. And my faith and beliefs teach me that I should strive to see Christ in every person I meet. I try to do this. I really, really do try.

It is  … Well, it’s darn hard. I am not a perfect person. Most of the time, I’m not even a particularly nice person. I am flawed and broken. I think the only thing I’m perfect at is being imperfect! I’m super good at that. Still, I hope it counts toward my universal karma (or whatever) if I try. If I try often enough, I might actually get good at this thing — one of these days. Or, maybe, I won’t. I don’t know. I might just remain perfectly imperfect, like I’m stuck forever marching in place.

Sometimes, I feel really discouraged and sad. Maybe even a little angry. Or a lot angry. Because it feels like I try hard to put the best of myself out there, only to have other people tramp all over it. Maybe my best “self” isn’t all that great, but it is the best I have. My best effort … my best attempt … the best of the feelings that live inside my heart. It hurts when I send those things out into the universe, only to get … well, crap in return.

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It makes me feel prickly and grumbly. And tired. Really, it makes me feel so damn tired when I think about the effort I make to bite back the mean things I want to say … or to do what I think is right, even when I don’t want to … or just to be nice to someone who will, then, turn around and slam (figuratively or literally) a door in my face. It makes me feel out of step with the rest of the world, like I am, somehow, all wrong or all out of place. I find myself asking, “What the heck is wrong with me? What is it about me that brings this out in people?”

Today, I had a situation where someone I have known and who has worked for me for several years treated me badly. I have always treated this person with respect and courtesy. I have gone above and beyond to help this person when they needed help. I have always been flexible with my schedule and kind in dealing with this person. And I have worried over this person even when our working situation became uncomfortable and stressful for me. The truth is, I should have parted ways with this person long before today, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it because I felt that this person depended upon me more than I depended upon them. Even so, this person did not treat me with the same kindness, respect, and courtesy I have always tried to show. It hurt. A lot. And, honestly, I wanted to be unkind. I wanted to tell this person to leave my house immediately. I wanted to deny them the comforts and courtesies I have shown all throughout our association. I was hurt, and I wanted to strike back at them, even if it was in a passive-aggressive way.

And that’s when I realized … I can’t control anyone else. I can only control myself. Of course, I knew this all along, but I think it’s kind of easy to forget sometimes, like when the tiredness of the world wearing away at  you gets to be too much or too heavy. And so, today was a good reminder for me. I could have followed my first impulse and been unkind and ugly. It would have made me feel a whole lot better about the situation — at least in the short run. But I have to live tomorrow and the next day and the hundred tomorrows after that with whatever I do today. I have to look at myself in the mirror and know the things I have done.

I’m not proud of my mean-spirited thoughts. And I know I will remain perfectly imperfect for a long time. Actually, I am pretty sure I will remain that way for the rest of my life and then some. But, for now, I’m going to keep on putting it out there: all the best of me, even if it’s a little bit tarnished and worn, and even if it’s  just a little at a time.

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