Contrasts

Hello dear reader.

Two weeks from today I will be married to the love of my life.  It feels surreal.  I told Tim this morning that I am so happy and my life is so amazing that it scares me.  I keep expecting to wake up.  We have a great house in the most beautiful place on earth.  All of my children and grandchildren are healthy and happy.  We have the best friends anyone could ever have.  Tim has a job that he loves and we can live on.  Every morning we wake up to birds singing outside our window.  We start our days drinking coffee and laughing at the dogs.  I’m making progress in getting my pain under control.  I get to be a voice for children who need a voice.  I’m marrying a man who is loving, compassionate, loyal, and keeps me laughing.  I get to be married to someone who was, is, and always will be my friend.  This is my life?  Really?  How did this happen?  How did I get here from where I’ve been?

I started out as a physically and sexually abused child.  I went from there to being in physically abusive relationships.  I have to say though, I’d do it all again to have my kids.  They were the only good thing in my life.  All I wanted was for them to have a happy childhood and grow up to be happy people.  I wanted their lives to be the opposite of mine both as children and adults.  I know that I wasn’t always the mother I wanted to be, and I’m still not.  But they had at least one thing that I never did…I loved and will always love all of my children with all my heart.  People say about their children, “I’d die for them.”  I did more than that.  I lived for them when dying would have been a lot easier.  I’m getting off on a tangent here, but I suppose I needed to say that.  Back on topic…I went from physically abusive relationships to an emotionally abusive one.  I’ve never had anyone love me.  Everyone who claimed to love me, actually loved their image of what they wanted me to be.  I always put who I was or wanted to be in the background to be what I was “supposed” to be.  Even now I often don’t seem to live up to my children’s expectations of who they think I should be.

Fast forward to me at almost 50…I find myself in a relationship with someone who loves who I am, a relationship with no abuse at all.  This is a relationship where not only am I allowed to be myself, but respected, admired, and encouraged to be myself.  I grow and flourish in ways I never knew I could.

Can you see why it all seems so surreal?

I know I’ve said some things in here today that will make you smile and other things that will make you shudder.  That’s my life.  But today, now, I’m all smiles.  I have a life that I never even dreamed was possible.  I’ve lived way too many nightmares.  If this is a dream, please don’t wake me up.

Until next time…

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A quote from Abraham Lincoln

Hello dear reader,

Today’s been another “day off.”  Yesterday I felt weak and shaky all day.  Today I’ve felt a little stronger, but have actually been in more pain.  I’m not going to sit here and whine, just updating how things are going.

I came across a quote today that stuck with me.  Those who look for the bad in people will surely find it.  (Abraham Lincoln)  Mr. Abraham Lincoln, whether he was a vampire hunter or not, was a smart man.

I hear people say that you can’t just give people the benefit of the doubt any more, not in these times.  That’s one of the things Dr. Phil says in his newest book. You should assume the worst.  Only in that way can you be safe.  Now I am a huge fan  of Dr. Phil, and  I use quotes from him all the time.  I consider him to be a smart man also. 

The terms “good” and “bad” are being used very loosely here. You can substitute “positive” and “negative” …”happiness” and “sadness”…”confident” and “afraid”…the list goes on and on. I took a course a few years ago titled Non-Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. It proposed that there is no such thing as good or bad, there is only perception, needs expressed or not expressed, needs met or not met.

That said, I believe I have to go with Mr. Lincoln on this one.  I know there are a lot of people in this world who are dangerous.  But I also strongly believe that there is good in everyone.  That doesn’t mean that all people are all good.  You just have to look harder to find the good in some.    I don’t believe anyone is all bad, any more than anyone is all good.  Yes, I’ve been called naive for this view.  People ask, “What about Hitler, or Charles Manson?”  Where’s the good in them?”  I don’t know.  But I believe that even in people like them, there is a sliver of good somewhere.

I try my best to find good in everyone.  I try to understand the things I see as “bad” in people.  So often, “bad” is a result of ignorance, mental illness, and/or fear.  I’ve met some very cruel people in my life.  I’ve witnessed and experienced horrific behaviors.   But I can truly say I’ve never met anyone who didn’t have some good in them.

In my post the other day called Morning Coffee I talked about choosing to find the positive in people. This really isn’t so different. It all boils down to what you choose to focus on. When you look for the bad in people, that becomes all you can see. Finding the good in people may take more effort than finding the bad. But if you look for the good, once you start to find it you see more and more of it with less and less effort.

Another aspect of this, is that people behave the way they’re expected to in most cases. If you see bad in them, you expect bad from them, and that’s what they’ll give you. Now let’s reverse that. If you look for the good in people and expect good things from them, that’s what they’ll give you.

I know, I’m starting to sound a bit preachy here, but this is really important to me. If everyone looked for the good in everyone else and expected the best from them, think for just a minute how wonderful life would be. I believe that everyone should be given the benefit of the doubt (sorry Dr. Phil). Some people have shown me that they will cause harm if given the benefit of the doubt. I’m not stupid. I don’t keep coming back saying, “Hurt me some more!” But I continue to look for the “good” in them. Once I catch that sliver, I hang on tight and look for more.

So I went on a bit of a rant here. This is the place for me to rant about things I believe in. What do you think? Do you think there is “good” in everyone? Do you think it’s worth the effort to look for it in people?

Until next time…