Sometimes I don't realize how much life I have lived until a situation happens. I don't get how far I have come as a person until I see the way I react. In my younger days, I was full of spit and vinegar. I feel like I enjoyed the drama, the negative words that flew my way because it somehow made me feel alive. If you did me wrong, I was very quick to do you wrong right back. I didn't understand then how toxic my own behavior was. I felt like if I was misused, insulted, thrown to the side that it was fair for me to do the same thing back to you. I was very quick to cut people out of my life. It was self preservation. You only had one chance with me and then we were done. Then I got older. I had a child, who without her knowledge, taught me what it meant to be compassionate. I met a man who made me see that the world was full of so many lovely things, people. I had just cut it all off because it was easier to feel nothing than to feel something. I've said this before and I'll say it again I love getting older. Where I was once terrified of the wrinkles that may form on this skin, I now welcome each one that appears when I look in the mirror every morning. These wrinkles are a mark of each beautiful day I have been lucky enough to live even the hard ones. Lately I feel like I have been learning something new about myself every day. Sometimes it's just dumb little nuances that I didn't realize I had. And other times are these moments that come from left field.
I am a reflective person. I enjoy observing the world around me. This week has been no different. Every day we are presented with choices. We are given these scenarios and the power to react to them in whatever way we choose. Lately I've been feeling a lot of negative energy around me. I don't do so well with that kind of energy. It makes me feel dizzy, helpless, frustrated. I allow the dark part of the universe to blur my otherwise sunny vision. Earlier this week a situation was presented to me. I was insulted, belittled, and put in a real bad position. The details of it are unimportant. I had a decision to make. Which way would I react? Do I fight back spewing as much toxic energy right back? Or do I simply choose to walk away? My reaction surprised me. It showed me how much growth I have experienced since my more youthful days. I chose to walk away, to not fight back because the energy that I would have given back wasn't worth who I have become. You get to an age where you can identify which battles are worth fighting, which relationships are worth keeping. You understand that not everyone is good for you and you accept that sometimes you have to move on from them.
There have been times in my life where I thought my emotions were a detriment to me so I wouldn't allow them. I wouldn't allow them to even myself. They seemed like too much. Then I became someone's mother. And then I became someone's wife. I realized that the more vulnerable side of me needed as much love and care. I learned by sharing even these words with the world wasn't a sign of weakness but a sign of strength. I learned that when someone does me wrong it does not mean that I return that wrong with another. So, I learned to be kind, compassionate, honest, caring. I realized that to be the best version of myself was to give of myself as openly and freely as I could. I realized that people deserved second chances, sometimes even thirds. Over the years I have become softer, more forgiving, more willing to give the benefit of my doubt. Living my life this way has been more rewarding even if I still get rocks thrown at me just the same. I understand now, however, that how I retaliate to those rocks doesn't mean I have to throw a grenade.
Here is one of the greatest things about being adult. You are in control of your own self. You can choose your company (mostly). You can choose your environment (mostly). You have the power to direct your own course and the ability to decide your own behavior. And if you screw up, you can address how to come to a conclusion that doesn't cause harm. You realize that not everyone has your best interests at heart and that's OK. We are all on our journeys but whatever energy they throw at you, you are the one who decides what to give back. I didn't know how far I have come until I was faced with a toxic situation this week. I didn't know that I somehow gained the ability to just walk away as simply as I did. I realize that my own tendencies to cut off the world, the people are still very much in my DNA and that's OK, too. Old behaviors never really go away. We just learn to keep them at bay. I think having that ability to protect myself is just as important as sitting here being vulnerable and writing these words. The true sign of growth is how you choose to use your tools. This week I understood that I don't have to let the negative energy swallow me. I can choose to walk away from it even if that means I lose things along the way. At the end of the day are the negative things I lose worth losing myself? I will no longer entertain energy that is toxic to me. I will no longer feed that beast. The energy I give back to the world is of my own choosing. Walking away from something, from someone, from somewhere that is bad for you is not a sign of weakness. It is sometimes the best choice, the strongest decision you can make for yourself. No apologies needed.