Walls and Bridges

Sometimes we are lonely because we have built far more walls than bridges.

We are a society of walls, fences and protected privacy.  We are taught that these things will keep us safe and protected from harm.  In an age of information, there is a lot of truth to that.

However, it is also true that if we are not careful we find ourselves building walls around our heart and mind as well.  It happens when we get hurt by someone we love or respect a great deal.  It happens because life dictates that we all have our fair share of hard knocks to keep us humble, and help us grow, however we choose how to respond to these events.

The most important weapon we will ever own as individuals is the gift of choice.  We cannot always choose events, or circumstances.  We cannot predict mishaps and unfortunate occurrences.  The one thing we can do is decide how we will respond, the attitude we will take and how we will allow these life events to affect us.  Your responses, attitude and approach to life are the only things you have complete control over at any given point in your life. 

Choose to respond positively. 

Choose to learn and adjust your attitude to your own advantage.

Choose to share what you have experienced.

Don’t shut out the world with walls and fences, build some bridges and share the knowledge with others.  That is how we will change the world, one person at a time, starting with the person in the mirror.

Cherry Coley ©

Grudges and Resentment? Forgiveness is better

“Our purpose in life should be to see one another through, not see through one another,” – Zig Ziglar

I saw this quote this morning and had to stop and really think about it.  I have to admit, there have been times someone has kind of rubbed me the wrong way and I spent more time trying to see through them and what they were up too, and not just helping them along. 

I confess to not being the most trusting person, though I do try to give people the benefit of the doubt, especially when I first meet them, but if they should betray my trust or lie to me in some fashion then it will take a long time and a lot of good experiences with them for me to begin to trust them again. 

That’s not to say I am holding grudges.  I am not a grudge holder in the least.  I will, usually, forgive the action, but not be so willing to trust the person whole heartedly again.  Grudges are hurtful and can cause the holder of the grudge to become bitter, angry and resentful.  What’s more is the person you are holding the grudge against may not even know you are holding a grudge, so who are you really hurting?  

It took me years to truly own the gift of forgiveness.  Forgiveness is for you, trust is for them.  You can forgive and live your life free of bitterness, anger and resentment, and then decide who you will trust and who needs to earn your trust again.

I choose the path of forgiveness because I refuse to waste my energy with wasted emotions like hate, bitterness, anger, revenge, and grudges.  That’s not to say that those things are not justified at times and that I never feel them, because I do, but I choose what stays and what goes in my emotional bank.

It bothers me when I talk to people and they bring up some grudge they have been hanging on to for years.  They get animated when they talk about it, their face turns red, their voice gets louder, anger flashes in their expression, and their whole demeanor changes.  Stop and think about the changes that just took place in their body and what possible effects that could cause.  I have known several people, filled with bitterness that are constantly plagued with one illness after another.     

How we view others, respond to our circumstances, attitude and mindset have an impact not just on our mental health, but our spiritual and physical health too.  Everything works together and if we are holding onto old baggage like grudges and hurts from the past, then we are holding on to a type of spiritual and mental poison that is affecting us every day, and having no effect on the person we’re holding the hurt against. 

As for me, I am making it a point to discuss these type of issues as I come across them in my life.  I would rather choose to help someone along and see them grow, succeed and be happy.  Life is about celebrating milestones and learning to appreciate the things and people around us.  It’s so much easier to do that and be aware of what’s going on when I’m not focused on something that happened a long time ago.

Cherry Coley (c)

 

A Word About Friendship

Sometimes you just want someone to listen, to hear what you have to say, not to try to solve your problems, roll their eyes, laugh at your issues, but really just to listen and be there.

Surprisingly it’s not that easy to find those people who just listen.  Many times when you try to describe something you are working on or through, the person you’re talking too gets all caught up in the description, or the event, and starts trying to solve the problem or begins giving advice before you even finish what you were saying.  If it continues then you can just wind up getting frustrated, pacifying the person and acting like you’re listening to what their saying, even though they are way off the subject you started trying to talk about, and finally just being glad when the conversation is over.  It makes you so much more grateful for the person that can just listen.

I love the friends that walk beside me and can listen to be babble along for awhile, even when I’m not really talking about anything in particular.  I love the people who can sit in silence and not feel like they have to keep talking just to fill the void.  I like the entertaining people who I can just laugh at, watch and be entertained by because that’s just part of their personality and who they are.  I love my deep thinking friends who do research and watch documentaries, because they share information with me and I learn all sorts of new things without having to look it up!  Friendship is one of the greatest privileges of being human!   

I confess that it bothers me when I see one friend taking advantage of another.  It’s terrible to be in a relationship where one person takes another for granted.  Being married to someone who made me feel like I didn’t matter for too many years has made me determined to be far more careful with my choices of who I spend my time with. 

No person should take another person for granted, whether a friend, a romantic interest, or a family member.  We should try to spend time with people who lift us up, encourage or challenge us to be the best we can be each day.  We should also remember that technically the people in our lives are there by choice.  The only exceptions to this are our family members, but even they have a choice at some point.  When you stop and think that relationships, no matter what they are, should be cherished, and well attended, then the idea of taking advantage or for granted floats away like leaves playing in the wind.

How much happier and content would all relationships be if we just take the time to show appreciation for the people around us?  No one has to open the door for you, or make coffee at work or home, no one has to take time to answer the phone or listen to you, no one has to make you dinner, or make sure you got home okay, no one is required to be courteous, it’s something we do because we care, and because being appreciated and acknowledged is important and a feeling we all crave. 

It’s important to show appreciation to the people in our lives.  Take a moment today and everyday to say thank you, offer a kind word, make an encouraging gesture, it doesn’t take anything grand or over the top, it’s the little things that count. 

Cherry Coley ©