Bad, Sad and Tragic things happen. They are awful, and we all have seen them, been part of them or been a victim to them. Whether it is the loss of a loved one, especially an untimely loss; loss of a relationship; loss of a job; loss of physical safety and shelter; or loss of a part of you, it is all loss and all bad, sad and tragic. Very few of us get out of our lives without some of this loss and a feeling, at times, that life sucks. Life has a way of doing that to us all. We have all been hit with some of these tragedies in some ways and if we haven’t, the life is more than charmed!
How many times has the pain been so bad that you wondered if you could survive the pain? It may not be physical pain from illness, but emotional pain, hurt, fear, that engulfs you to where you don’t know how to move forward. How many of us lash out too much or been the victim for too long? I know I have. I have lashed out and made it someone else’s fault, far longer than I should have, far more often than I am proud of. I have been the victim. And I played that part for a long time.
I am not underestimating the pain that we all go through or the fact that it is real. It is. But at some point our reaction, sustained in this painful victimized place, becomes a reality that brings more sadness, and more self-victimization. If we think about this from a perspective of energy, like energy attracts like energy. The more we respond negatively over time, the more negativity will come our way. I read a quote recently, “Life is not happening to you. Life is responding to you.” I know I have realized that my response when negative only creates negative circumstances. It becomes a vicious cycle for me.
That realization has changed me. Living with my dad over the last 7 months has been eye opening on many fronts. He has pointed things out to me that I thought I dealt with a long time ago, but in my reactions to things, ugly heads have reared! Anger is a big one. My mom had a terrible temper, it was one of the things she once reflected on with me and shared how she wished she could control it better. She wished she didn’t get so angry so fast and say things that she would regret later. I knew I was like her and thought I had conquered that over time. However the stress of the last year hit me harder than I thought and brought me to a place where anger and “you did this to me” mentality became my go-to response. The more I pushed, the more I reacted, the more anger there was. The more I reacted, the further away some people got. I was putting all negative energy out into the universe, and life was giving it right back to me. My dad’s words over the last few months ring in my head, “your anger is going to get in your way.”
I remember the first time he said it I thought “I don’t have anger issues. You are just…” fill in the blank. I was making it about him. Once I sat back and reflected, it wasn’t about him or anyone else. It was about me, my thoughts of me and my victim mentality that things were happening to me. Life was not happening to me, I was responding to negative situations in an equally or greater negative manner.
I became aware and conscious of my reaction and worked to change the course. I stopped reacting immediately and I take a breath first. I stopped looking to blame and realized that my reaction was then creating that self-fulfilling prophecy of not being happy. I want to be happy, I don’t want to be defined by tragedy. There was a time when I felt as if I approached life as “the girl who lost her brother.” As if nobody else had been through a tragedy like that. Then I was “the girl who had been cheated on and failed in two marriages.” It has taken a lot to finally free myself of these labels and respond differently, therefore allowing life to respond differently.
Becoming aware of these reactions, realizing that these labels are not defining, unless I let them be, and reacting differently to what life throws at me is freeing. I no longer use my labels and react to life in a way that I play the victim. I respond more in the flow of life and look for the best. That doesn’t mean I don’t respond negatively or make myself the victim at times, but I now see it and don’t let it define me.
Life is not happening to you, life is responding to you. Focus on how you want life to respond and you may see a difference in what occurs, and how you feel. I know I do!