Ramadhan is a time for self-reflection and a time for heightened self-awareness in all that you say or do. In general though, I like to take stock every week as to where things are in my life and sometimes my loved ones say I overthink or am too hard on myself and as true as it may be, there are times where I feel that those parts help keep me humble and encourage me to think somewhat more objectively.
One of the things that bothers people is gossiping. Why wouldn’t it? Unless it is based on facts or hands on experience, many of these stories have more spice to it or were completely fabricated. With what aim? To cause hurt or to change someone’s view of the person. The fallacy in gossiping is that we often forget that it is based on one’s perceptions or maybe one’s side of the story instead of what and why something actually happened. We sometimes believe what we want to believe rather than the truth and sometimes we fail to practice empathy and real listening to understand the thoughts, emotions and actions that one has went through.
I had a session recently to talk about my previous career experience and there was an incident back then that always leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Admittedly, with the time that has passed, I am able to accept that it happened and see the blessings behind it, but I suppose this part applies to many experiences we go through in life which got me to thinking of how some things just never change. You can change the faces, the names but there are still instances where people will do things like that. Sometimes people say untrue stuff and before you know it, some people view you differently and may change the way they behave to and around you.
Of course we can comfort ourselves by saying that it shows what is in their hearts/the truth will come out/you should not care as long as your loved ones know who you are but sometimes, it just hurts. It hurts when someone who was once important/close to you makes stories up about you and it hurts when others choose to believe it because that person telling it used to be close to you. It hurts when it does not stop and you realize when you bump into people who have heard their versions but not yours and they act awkward or give you certain “looks”. It hurts when you do not want to complicate the matter even more and get into the whole “he say she say” drama.
If you act aggressive, they may say a different story but when you act defensive, there will also be a different story. It can really exhaust the mind to think of how people are going to perceive whatever you say and I used to fall into that trap every too often. When I got caught in a jam, I worried about telling my loved ones because I was not sure they would believe or understand what I say. They may think that I exaggerate simply because I am a woman, and women are “known” to be emotional.
It is ironic when you try to practice empathy and active listening when someone else tells you their problems. They forget the kind things you may say or do for them simply because the circumstances may be all the more convenient for them. If I am able to take what you say as it is and I am still able to love and accept someone for who they are, need they be cruel or harsh instead of trying to really listen and understand what I have to say? That is where words can affect you more than them literally stabbing you with a knife, because words have all the more of a lasting effect. They stay with you when you are about to sleep, on your rough days and sometimes during your happiest moments, there they are niggling at the back of your mind.
For all my progress and positive changes, there are those moments where I do have to struggle. I have to struggle to not just say whatever I want, to not lash out at people who are unfair and if you have known me for very long, you would know that as nice as I can be, I can also erupt like a volcano and not care what happens to you once we are done. Where I used to be a hot-headed “monster”, I am finding it difficult to keep quiet when I hear the false stories that were just based on assumptions. Instead of having the courage to come directly and ask or say their peace, they find it easier to slander me and take advantage of the fact that I am trying to practice more self-restraint now.
I can swear to you that it is not easy.
I have been blessed where God has shown me at some points in my life why things happen the way they do and He has given me so much happiness simply because I practice that ounce of self-restraint. He asks us to be patient and He is aware of our struggles and on days when it is difficult for me to get up and leave the house, I push myself because of His grace and because of Mr Grumpy and AK. I could totally whine and reverse in progress, I have the right given the circumstances I have been given, but I do not. Some days, it gets so bad that instead of the usual 10 steps, I can only take one or two when it comes to pushing myself but I try and do it anyway. My reversals and standstills will always be temporary as long as I push myself.
People can behave and say whatever they want but I should not apply the same standards for myself if I know in my heart that something is not right. I have tried it before and it only came back to bite me, which I suppose is God’s funny way of telling me to not compromise on certain things. I do not need some people who choose to turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to something that is wrong to stick up for me because God was kind enough to send me Mr Grumpy who is a solid stand up guy, who sticks up and takes good care of us. He is not someone who would only tell you things that you want to hear and I am blessed to be able to turn to him for reassurance and guidance.
It definitely helps in my becoming more self-restrained especially when some people think it is right to keep on walking all over me. Don’t mistake my silence for acceptance when it is tolerance if only because you are also one of God’s creations hahaha. If I were to slander you or beat you up then I have a score to settle with God, which is not something I want on my to-do list.
I have faith that for every one of these “weird” people who choose to talk rather than listen, who choose to stay in their own cocoons rather than to understand, that they do not define me. They are “white noise” and there will come a day and a time that I’m sure if I do need to say something that God will make it crystal clear for me. Through the streams of negativity, there is a light through silence. I have peace from knowing that God is watching not just them, but me too. He gives us signs ever so often, but it depends on how much we may choose to see and listen to them. What should matter more is the kindness and gratitude that I should practice daily. If I cannot practice it for big things, I can very well do so with the small things. At least I can sleep with a good conscience knowing I have done the best that I can because he is All-Understanding.
I stumbled upon this quote recently that also inspires me:
“There is a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.” ― Kenneth H. Blanchard
To me, results can encompass a lot of things and it makes sense. Whatever you want in life, be it at work or your personal life, you need to put consistent effort in. You choose what you want your results to be and at least in the whole bigger scheme of things I have gotten results and I am that much closer to being the very person I want to be in life. 🙂
I have heart in the fact that one day AK could very well go through the things I have been spewing about but the difference is that all this experience will make me stronger and I will be able to help her through it, to really listen and be there for her so that she would not have to feel like she is alone. All these experiences contribute to not only my growth, but my little family’s. She will be stronger through her struggles and that is one of my biggest hopes for her in life.
May you also have faith and practice gratitude with even the smallest of things when life seems too difficult. May you always be kind to yourself and also to others for we may not know what they may be going through. Also, may you always be able to keep your chin up and walk about with little burdens in your heart, doing the right things daily and always strive to be a kinder and stronger person than you were yesterday.
Ps: Thanks for reading my rants, this has been amazingly therapeutic for me haha!