Recently I have been thinking about how “unfair” and “unjust” things are and seem. People and things in this world can really drag us down and if we let them, even keep us down. There ‘s no doubt about it, people and things outside of ourselves affect us in negative (as well as positive) ways. In ways that may seem out of our control. But my truth is that people can have control over the extent in which they allow people and things, circumstances to “get to them.”
I don’t always have control over what anyone other than myself says or does or feels. I can’t help if people lash out at me, sling insults at me, physically assault me, verbally abuse me, or try hard to bring me down. I also do not and will not always have control over my circumstances or situations. I can’t always help getting stuck in traffic, things breaking, things not going my way. And the truth is since I am a living mortal with human emotions and not a robot, a brick wall, dead, brain dead, or whatever else these negative people and situations and things WILL negatively affect me in ways. They will. And that is part of being a living human. A feeling human. I may not have complete control over how things affect me but I DO have control over the degree in which they affect me.
Maybe not right away. But I can practice and learn to not be buffeted by things outside of myself.
I can do this by acknowledging and accepting the fact that life is good and bad and to remind myself that when people do things wrong to intentionally impact me negatively it says something about them, not me.
I can look at all the greatness I am surrounded with and filled with and learn not to dwell constantly on the pain and negative things.
I can honor myself. Do and Be what brings me joy. And know that if people do not like me or appreciate me, it’s their loss, their problem.
One day recently I read a story, a true and devastating story, written by a grieving mother who lost her 22 year old son to homicide many years ago. He was a college boy, shot dead by a much older “friend ” over a trivial argument. The mother’s strength and passion and determination amazed me then when I first read that story and amazes me now.
She chose to live. To keep going. A criminal, a murderer changed her life. And the lives of everyone who knew and loves him. It changed this mother ‘s life for the worse. He took away her only son and left her with just memories, grief, seemingly unbearable pain, and so much confusion and shock . He shattered her life. But she made the choice to put her life back together, though it will never be the same. A vicious, malicious criminal ended her loving, caring son ‘s life but she sure as hell wasn’t going to let that same malicious man end hers in anyway. She is now an advocate for homicide victims and their families and friends. She works with criminals and murderers in positive ways to try to get them to understand to some degree the devastation that their horrific actions have on everyone around them.
She is a survivor.
Some years ago, a man held a gun to my chest at the store where I work. It’s window service. I was working alone late at night with no one else around. He came up to the window and told me he had a gun and that I better give him all the store money or he would kill me. He actually said those words to me. “I’ll kill you.” I refused to give him the money and he pulled the gun out and held it to my chest and said “I’m serious, I will kill you.”.
I still refused. (yeah people told me later how very stupid I was)
Then he told me I better give it or he’ll kill me and take the money then kill the people in the bar across the street which my boss also owns. He said if I give him the money we all live. I never want anyone else’s lives in danger so I let him have it.
The man was never caught. There was no camera to catch his image. I couldn’t identify him in any pictures. None were of him.
I wasn’t hurt. And I wasn’t touched physically.
My dad says every now and then how one of his biggest fears is someone coming to the window again while I’m working and actually carrying through with a vicious plan or threat of some sort and either ending or “ruining” my life. He’s afraid I’ll live but be seriously attacked or injured in some way.
But I made a choice. No one will ever ruin my life unless that person ends it. But as long as I’m living No one other than me can destroy me or ruin me because I said so and I will never give anyone that power. I may not always be able to prevent or avoid an attack, physical or verbal. But I won’t let it destroy me. No one deserves that kind of power over me.
Something or someone can hurt me. Scare me. Paralyze me or whatever but NO ONE will destroy or ruin me. I will be negatively affected by negative people and things.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I want to be fully alive. It is normal. Natural. Healthy. To be negatively affected by the world around us. To be sad. Disappointed. Grief stricken. Angry. Scared…..jealous….suspicious, all in healthy dosages.
But then we get back up and move forward. And keep going. And keep living. And still create happiness & joy.
Like Helen Reddy sings, “You can Bend but Never Break me”
What I’m saying right now must be said gently or I risk sounding cruel. It is in no way intended to tell “victims” or survivors of anything to “get over it” or that they’re overreacting or not handling things right. Everyone reacts in different ways and handles things differently. I want survivors of anything, big and small things, alike to take back the power and never let someone or something else have that power.
I don’t want a criminal or a bully or a situation or illness or anything to have power over a person. I want the person to empower herself (himself). It’s not always easy. It takes learning and practice and maybe some extra help.
But we can learn not to be destroyed by someone or something else outside of ourselves. We don’t have to feel numb or deny the impact or the scars. We can admit the horror we have endured and how it affected us and then muster up all the strength we have and move forward with an open heart.
It’s not your fault that people do bad things to you. There’s no justification for abuse or assault or mistreatment of any kind. And it’s not your fault if you have a sickness of any kind or a disability. And it’s not your fault if you react negatively to the negativity or mistreatment. It’s just your natural reaction. You can take back your power and own yourself.
I will rise above the victim mentality. Instead I will acknowledge and honor my ability to make choices, my ability to choose happiness and joy even through the trauma and sorrow and grief and negativity.
I refuse to be a victim.
“You can bend but never break me
‘Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul”. ~ Helen Reddy (I Am Woman)
The lovely Moon, a light in the darkness.