“You have to open up to the world and learn optimism...Contentment with the past, happiness with the present, and hope for the future. Learned optimism.”
Jennifer Crusie – Agnes and the Hitman
“We can throw stones, complain about them, stumble on them, climb over them, or build with them.”
William Arthur Ward
Today I got blindsided. There’s no other way to put it. I can’t give out the details, but what I can do is share how it made me feel and how I want to deal with it.
First, I want to say how it made me feel. It made me feel angry, sad and afraid. What happened was unfair and unnecessary. In fact, it was cruel. I was deliberately hurt for trying to help others. Unfortunately, someone didn’t like what I was doing and went after me. More specifically, he or she went behind my back. Nobody actually came to me directly to get the facts or hear my side of things. I was dealt with by a third party. Someone wanted to hurt me and they did. (They also came close to hurting other people. I’m relieved that I was the only one hurt by this.) I’m not exaggerating or complaining. I’m stating the facts. I feel like one of those people who was sued for trying to help an accident victim. I had good intentions and acted out of love of others. My actions in no way benefited me other than giving me the joy of doing my best. But at least one person didn’t see it that way and went out of his or her way to hurt me for it.
A friend recently said, “Along the way in life you’ll meet negative people whose intention is to ruin the lives of others.”
It shocks me that there are people like this in the world. But fighting that isn’t my real battle. That battle is actually over. The situation will not change. I took a huge loss today. But there is a far more difficult battle ahead, and a far more important one. This is the battle to be positive, to guard not only my words, but also my thoughts. What I would like to do with my words is explain, complain and defend. I want to tell everyone who will listen how unjust my situation is and how horrible people are. And if I can’t do that, then, at the very least, I want to think awful thoughts about the people who hurt me. I want to get my revenge, to see them squirm and make them suffer worse than I am suffering, at least in my imagination.
And where do those thoughts get me? At best, they get me nowhere. At worst, they lead me into bitterness and depression. Recently I wrote the following:
(W)hat if I really trained and disciplined myself to think differently? What if I looked at the world, and more importantly, myself differently? I’m also not talking about blind optimism here. I’m not talking about ignoring tragedies or even small problems. But what if I really looked for the good in every situation and, again, in myself? What would that do for me?
The real battle then is to live by these words, by my words. I wrote them. If I don’t want them to be anything more than words on paper, then I need to do by best to live by my words. Otherwise, what’s the point of doing all this writing?
So despite my initial anger, fear and sadness, I’m actually grateful for this situation. This is a very real test, not only of my writing, but of my desire for personal growth. This is an opportunity to rely on God’s peace and strength. This is an opportunity to be the man I really want to be. Perhaps I’ll fail. Or perhaps I will grow into new levels of maturity, compassion and awareness.
There are other reasons to be grateful for this situation. Although I don’t deny that it appears to be a setback and even a humiliation, the results may actually be advantageous. I now have more time and energy to devote to other things. I can let go of a toxic situation. I can truly, really and genuinely focus on the positive. That won’t be easy.
This means that whenever I am tempted to think a bitter or negative thought about this situation, I will need to look for the blessing and the advantage in it. It also means that I don’t get to complain about it to anyone who will listen. The more I talk about a negative situation, the greater chance it has of infecting me, and others, with more negativity.
It is time to Get Started and to Keep Going, emotionally and spiritually in a new direction. I don’t want to live with familiar and negative thought patterns. I want something better. Even though I was blindsided, I want a new vision.