Some Words I Tell Myself…Often

9 Jan

The photo is me by our backyard pool. I was a happy kid. Like everyone I had to figure out how to make my way in the world. These are a few ideas gleaned over the years that made sense and helped me along the way. I figure I have a few more decades to work the rest out!

Happiness
As adults no one else can make us happy or unhappy. We make ourselves happy or unhappy by our own decisions, actions and attitudes. We are responsible for our own state of being. Even if we have been damaged by events or experiences we have the resources available to us to mend and become whole, independent, contented human beings. If you doubt that think of Nelson Mandela who chose his own path and created his own reality. Think also of all the rich, talented, priviliged people who are deeply unhappy – think of Amy Winehouse.

Intimate Relationships
We cannot change other people to make them do/not do something or be/not be in some way unless they freely choose to do or be those things. If we are really fortunate we can form mutually respectful and trusting relationships with people who care enough about us as their partners that they make thoughtful decisions about how to be with us in that relationship. However relationships are not fixed as people change over time and the only way to know that is to communicate every day at an intimate level. Sometimes initially loving relationships end and we have to be brave enough to acknowledge that and give thanks for the good times but end it with dignity.

Family and Friends
Since we can’t choose our birth or even adoptive family we can only decide how we want to interact with them. Family should be the rock, the one forgiving, supportive place always available to us whatever we choose to do with our lives and however often we mess up. Sadly that is not always the case and if so we have to accept our relatives’ frailties and decide how or if they will be part of our lives.

Relationships with our children are different from siblings or parents. We never stop caring about their wellbeing as long as we live, but at some point (short of something life threatening) we have to trust them to make their own way in the world and learn through their own experiences, as painful as those might be. If we remain enmeshed in our children’s lives they will never develop their own resources to cope with life’s challenges.

Friends and colleagues are the therapy we create for ourselves. They inject humour into our lives and show us the world outside our own bubble. You have to choose when to trust people and reach out when you need help.

A meaningful life
Some people make themselves sick worrying about the meaning of their life and never satisfactorily resolve it. Rather than fixate on the meaning of human existence and looking internally we can benefit from getting out of our own heads and doing some small thing that makes a difference to someone else’s life. And if they are a complete stranger so much the better. Reading to children or people in a nursing home, working in a Vinnie’s op shop, working in a community garden…. so many ways to make a small difference to the quality of someone’s life. In so doing we feed our spirit.

We have been given all the talents and abilities we need to make a living for ourselves. Being financially independent (as well as emotionally self sufficient) is at the core of our sense of self as a whole person. We have to have self belief and trust that we can find all we need to support ourselves in this messy, mad, wonderful world.

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4 Responses to “Some Words I Tell Myself…Often”

  1. Suzanne January 9, 2013 at 6:09 am #

    Excellent thoughts Sharon. Thank you.

  2. Linda January 9, 2013 at 9:40 am #

    Fine thoughts and well written. Makes you think and I guess that was the purpose.
    Linda

  3. Michelle Noble January 10, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

    Hey Sharon what a cute kid you were….and already the penchant for hat wearing! True words, most of us learn the hard way and sad that we have to reach rock bottom to climb up out of the hole and reach for the stars, knowing we are in charge of our own destiny. Independance in all manners is key; sharing our lives with someone who truly understands us is a wonderful luxury never to be undersold.
    Sunshine radiates from within, whatever the weather 🙂
    Love to you both, Michelle and Bryan.xx

  4. Merryl February 25, 2013 at 6:14 am #

    loved this Sharon thank you. Especially the way you wrote about our work colleagues and friends injecting humour into our lives…so true…great stuff!

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