It’s been 6 years….that’s how long I’ve been making an attempt to figure out me. I really didn’t start this process by wanting to figure me out. It was truly an accidental encounter. I began by trying to change the behavior of someone else; to do all I could do to help this person change. What I ended up doing was figuring out that I was in need of some help myself. Help in my day-to-day thinking.
Oh, believe me, I tried everything when I was trying to get another person to do something that I wanted. Things like getting angry, yelling, crying, pouting, ultimatums, and if those didn’t work, some good old-fashioned manipulation was next in line. Those behaviors sound attractive right? I found that the situations just seemed to get worse.
I was really good at making excuses for my bad behavior and blaming it on another person. I can’t tell you how many times I thought I was justified for doing or saying something mean, just because someone had done or said something that I deemed wrong. I even surrounded myself with friends that would “understand” me and help me justify things that I said or did. What I figured out (am still figuring out) is that there is no excuse for bad behavior, it’s just bad behavior! I have to remind myself that the only person’s behavior I have any power over is mine, and the bad behavior of others does not justify any wrong actions from me. Trust me, keeping my mouth shut is my biggest challenge!
I’ve spent a great deal of time trying to change me, and my thinking. Did I mention that it’s been 6 years and about 950 hours of class or meeting time? (I may have said that) That’s a long time! BUT I know there’s more work to be done because as much as I’ve changed my thinking, and my behavior, I’m human. I make mistakes and revert back to what is comfortable…old behaviors. Behaviors that took a lifetime to learn don’t disappear overnight, it takes time…and work….and lots of practice.
Today, I try to remember this wisdom, shared by a friend…
If I had two lists; list number 1 being things I don’t have the power to change, and list number 2 being things that I do have the power to change. They would be greatly different lists. List number 1 would have so many items listed it could go on forever. But list number 2 would only have 1 item. My actions. Since I’m a list person, it was very powerful to think about what those lists would look like and which list I’d rather have as a “to do” list.
Today I really, really try to accept others for who they are and whether I think they are right, or wrong is irrelevant.
The goal is Christ-like behavior and handling my feelings and my actions with dignity and grace is much more attractive than that crazy bad behavior list from above. I have to remind myself of this daily.