The funny thing about defining moments is that they, well, define us.
Some events mark us by their beauty — marriage, the birth of a child — others by the pain they cause. The painful ones usually leave deeper furrows on our heart and mind — which is sad — unless we choose to train our minds to see the positive.
I have always found it peculiar that the shortest period in our lives – childhood – is also the most marking. The behaviors and beliefs we have today often are profoundly rooted in infancy — often unbeknownst to us.
Overheard bits and pieces of conversations. Words misspoken (or meant). All the arrows which found their bull’s eyes in our hearts. These events — which like some otherworldly beings — frequently revisit to make their presence known in subtle and not so subtle ways.
Most of the time, while navigating the currents of daily life, we are unaware we have been hoodwinked by false beliefs. The lies distort who we genuinely are.
And, while the memories are real, they are not necessarily accurate nor true. We have cataloged and interpreted them through many filters. Often, they are misunderstood. Warped by the years.
One thing is certain, the mental real estate they occupy is rarely the issue. More often than not, the emotions associated with them and the accompanying beliefs we attached to them are much more damaging to our psyche than the original event itself.
As a result, our brain — which is highly efficient in its guard dog persona — to ensure we never hurt (like this) again further obscure the picture by labeling and categorizing everything — often erroneously so.
You shall NEVER go through “this” again, I will make sure of that!
I have done a lot of soul work over the years. It is a process which is very similar to peeling an onion. Once a layer is gone, another presents itself.
Finding our most authentic self is often an adventure. And, not an easy one.
The very essence of who we are is often buried under the silt and muck of years of life. And, it is generally firmly established in false beliefs.
I desire to live an authentic life — as I am sure you do as well — and every year even more so.
Statistically speaking, I have fewer years ahead of me than I do behind me. I intend on making them count. Every moment becomes more precious and meaningful as we age.
To live true to my essence I must painstakingly do the work of an archaeologist and discover the kinks in my soul. One by one.
Yank the arrows out. Apply the healing balm and wait for the mending to occur. Additionally, I must mindfully replace my erroneous positions with the truth.
Then, when this process is accomplished, repeat it anew with whatever begs my attention next.
Onion or Bird?
In all honesty, there is another — simpler — solution which I call “the ostrich trick.” It consists of sticking your head in the sand while pretending all is well and, furthermore that it’s everyone ELSE who has — or is — an issue. I guess this crude method is effective and we have all used it at some point. Except, while it may APPEAR to be effective, we all know it’s not.
Moreover, I hate to bring it to your attention, but, when your head is in the sand, a sensitive part of your anatomy is still very much out and hanging for all to see making a phenomenal target.
I’ve Got This…or Not
In all honesty, on occasion, when I people watch and I see individuals who seem to have “it” all together, I feel broken and so not together. The worst part is feeling that everyone can tell I don’t have it all together.
If you have ever seen the movie “The Princess Bride,” that’s the part when the witch comes out screaming: “Liar, liar.”
My! This girl is a mess!
The truth is, I am.
I am a mess.
And, I am not.
I have to remind myself that life on earth for us humans is hard. We all get hurt. Nothing hails me — or you for that matter — which isn’t common to the human race as a whole.
While our cuts and bruises aren’t the same color nor shape, nor are they located on the same limb. A bruise is a bruise. Despite color and location, we all know what pain is.
Life is messy.
Humans are messy.
Rather than hone in on the flaws I see. I can choose to pat myself on the back for the work I am willing to do. Self-exploration is an adventure not undertaken by everyone. Some remain with their rear in the air for an entire lifetime.
Come on, you know I am right, and someone’s name came to mind as you read this!
They are the same today as they were thirty years ago, and they weren’t fun then either.
I don’t want to be THAT person to someone else. I don’t want to be THAT person for me.
It is far easier to point at the faults of others and in truth, it is vastly more fun than to work on ourselves.
The journey inward has its own caveat. We can easily despair at the state of our souls. For instance, for some of us, when we look at a fixer-upper all we can see is the state of disrepair. Others see its potential.
Same fixer-upper, different views.
All it takes is an attitude adjustment.
Do we want to see what is wrong? Or, do we want to see the potential despite the work yet to be done?
It is easy to declare: “This is a dump!”
It takes imagination, faith, and trust to proclaim: “How cute! So much promise.”
On a recent trip with lover boy — aka hubs — sans kids (that’s French for no kids in sight), we took the time to nourish our relationship (which was long overdue).
Grateful and full of thanks, on the flight back, I suddenly became keenly aware that I still have much self-work to do.
Why did this notion pop into my head when I wasn’t thinking of anything in particular besides stuffing my carry-on in the overhead bin?
I don’t know.
In truth, I still see my insecurities, The bruises which don’t belong. The not so constructive comments I took to heart. Words said in passing and probably not meant to harm which nonetheless found their target in my tender heart. The walls which at one time made sense but which are now a hindrance to my growth.
While each negative defining moment was different in word and deed, the message I heard was the same.
I fell short of the mark.
“Not enough” was boldly stamped in red on my forehead for all to see.
We all know where this label leads don’t we?
The end result is rejection.
Plain and simple.
No fanfares. No fireworks.
While rejection is always painful because humans are meant to live within a supportive and loving tribe. It is self-rejection which causes the most harm. It is when we evict our authentic self and start wearing the masks that we are really in trouble.
There are defining moments which still define me when I truly don’t want them to. I want to show my authentic self and construct my life on my terms. Not on the false beliefs garnered over the years when I was still in pigtails. Or, even 20 years ago, when someone placed on my shoulders their view about me.
I want my shoulders to be Teflon. In this manner, the negative labels of people who don’t even genuinely know me can slide off to the ground and melt like ice cream in the Arizonan sun (which wouldn’t take long in the 110-degree heat, trust me, I know).
I will not allow the arrows of people who don’t matter to matter.
The people who do matter have no desire to pierce. Their rebukes — when they are necessary — are gentle and constructive. When they are not and their words or actions wound, these individuals apologize and ask for forgiveness.
Because this is love in action.
Those who do not love us don’t deserve to create defining moments in our lives. Neither their deeds nor their words should be given any landholdings anywhere in us. Not one tiny weeny speck of dirt!
Move along and spew this poison somewhere else. Thank you.
Teflon your entire being if you must. Like droplets of water on a duck, negative words and actions from blockheads should slide away in the gutter where they belong (I know, easier said than done).
Defining moments belong to loved ones and to you. Defining moments are for joy and happiness. Courage. Bravery. Beauty. Awe.
As kids, we don’t have the wherewithal to push away negativity. As adults we darn well have options.
Watch my feet walk away from those who have nothing to offer me. I’ve got things to do and people to love in this life still. I want to create defining moments for those I love, so I have no time for foolishness…and neither do you.
We can do this!