Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Surrounded by People Who Just Want to Bring You Down

A former student of mine, now a writer for Jen Moun YouthMagazine, tagged me in this post on Facebook recently…it took me a few hours to figure out what I felt about the statement – my initial reaction was along the lines of ‘Cheeuupps, (a teeth-sucking expression of distaste we Caribbean people use with great emphasis) why are people so negative…don’t they realize that’s not a positive thing to say?” and I left it at that for a while, thinking “I’m not going to grace that with a response”.

But it kept tickling my mind…it made me think of the theory that I wholly believe in, that largely, aside from major situations where life is disastrous - and I mean along the lines of warzones, dire poverty, starvation, massive natural disaster and such - aside from being in one of those situations, we see what we choose to see – life is as we choose to experience it.

So my response to the post was (after the one comment that said ‘so true’)

So untrue for me - my life is not filled with people who want to bring me down at all and it never has been and never will be

To which Jen Moun Youth Magazine replied

“I think most young people have it the other way around.”

And I thought, ok, maybe it’s my maturity of years that allows me to see things differently…but I know even when I was as young as them I didn’t think like that.  Does it necessarily have to be so for our current younger generation? I don’t think so, and this is what I said:

“Jen Moun - I think many young people think and act the other way around - not realizing they are creating the situation with their own actions...

One person quoted

“Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are”

Over the days since, I’ve wondered is it even a younger generation thing? I don’t actually think so –I know quite a few people of my age, older even, who think this way – the world is out to keep them down…so, what is that about?

I spent some time today with another former student of mine, helping her with job applications – It was lovely to see her as I hadn’t for a while, and she’s been through a more than fair share of life challenges recently! One of the things I like about her is that she is able, and not afraid, to recognize where she has weaknesses, she listens to advice, tries to act on it, fails sometimes in achieving the level of maturity, peaceful spirit, confidence, etc that she may be aiming for…but she keeps trying… and keeps endeavouring to make improvements and adjustments.

Today she talked to me about a few people in her sphere that she’s having trouble figuring out how to ‘handle’ and we talked about working to rid your mind of negative thoughts and replace them with positive, constructive, or just plain old silly laughter thoughts…to be in charge of what’s in your sphere…manage who and what gets to spend your time and energy…choose what you invest your time and energy in focusing on…

There’s a quote I’ve mentionedbefore on this blog
Sunset skies lit up with colours
 “Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add colour to my sunset sky” Rabindranath Tagore

I’ve thought and thought about the meanings of that: I know it appeals to me because I am constantly in awe of the beauty and fiery power of sunsets…but that’s not all it is:  I’ve thought of it as something a person would think in their elder years as they reach the sunset of their life – and yes, surely, it would be good to feel that way as you near your departure from this earth…

But it can mean so much more:

Those people who fill up your life, trying to bring you down – who put them there? Who gives them leave to linger? Who allows them to exist as problems rather than challenges? Why are they clouds that usher storm and drench your day?  And why do people hold on to those darknesses, clouding their own sky so thickly that they eventually block out light?

So often we fall into the trap of giving precious time, valuable energy and thought, priceless emotion, illogical respect to those that vex our lives…we avoid confrontation with difficult people by acquiescing to their unreasonable demands on us, rising in anger to their unfair criticisms and slander of us, paying heed to their attempts to trip us up…why? And at what cost?

We, in our path we’ve worked so hard to fill with dark clouds, lose sight of those in our lives who are full of good energies, those who in their own little ways are there for us, day in and day out; we forget to talk about them incessantly to anyone who listens, dwell for hours and days on their kindness and value, omit to post our gratitude for them on Facebook and Twitter…We leave our skies empty of their colours and their light.

What about the many, many people who wish to give to us, lift us…and even those who just are neutral, passing people with whom you might share a smile or just a space for part of the day…why not notice them? Why not share a moment with them? A ‘Good morning’ given openly, not demanding any return –just a gift? What do we have to lose? Why are we so afraid to capture each and every colour? Try it, and don't let yourself be vexed if your warmness is not reciprocated, just be happy that you gave it and that you remained open ... see if your world does not become much more full of smiles, confidence, energy and the success you wish for.

I know I’m repeating myself, but you see what you see – if you choose to see colours of a sunset sky – a triumph at the end of a hard challenging day, then your life will be filled with colours, not storms.

There is so much to gain in facing challenges and daily adversity with an attitude that is open to success and open to the possibility that good will come – yes, there will be moments, days, weeks, even years that seem to be endless trails of challenge…but at the end of the day, we really do have the power to choose what our skies are filled with…