Thursday, July 16, 2015

Raise your Words, Not Your Voice.



About a month ago I wrote "Loving Your Enemies"  and discussed what determines the term "enemy" and why is it important to love our enemies even when we really don't want to. I had dealt with that very thing, soon before that post was written. And since then, I have been faced with the challenge again. But this time, there was something different about it; It wasn't that I just faced a moment of needing to love my enemies from afar, but rather I needed to stand up for myself when these "enemies" were trying to pull me down into a place I had been years ago but not been since.

So, Let's briefly talk about that "old place" and where I am in my life now....
(I encourage you to think about your past and where you are now.)

I will be the first one to say, about myself, that I suck at standing up for myself. I really do. Ask anyone I grew up with and they will tell you "There goes Ashlee, no backbone, letting everyone walk all over her again," - and it was true. and sometimes, it still is, but for different reasons now. I grew up with an older sister who did all my dirty work for me. I knew she had my back and could knock someone out for me, and so I didn't feel the need too. I'm also a people pleaser. I'm used to saying "How High" when someone says Jump. and it's not because I have the need to please people, it's because I'm afraid of hurting someones feelings and I'm afraid of starting a fight. I hate confrontation. I know, I know everyone says that. But it goes deeper than just 'hating drama,'...It literally gives me deep rooted anxiety and I am totally that person that breaks out in hives and can't breathe when she feels suffocated by something that is uncomfortable. And so I try to stay Zen.

The last few years have been such a growing experience for me. You would have thought this whole "Adult Thing" would eliminate drama but that's not the case. Actually, to me, it gets worse...we just learn how to deal with it better. I have felt more comfortable and happy with myself in the last year and a half, maybe two, than I ever have before. The people I surround myself with, the confidence I have within myself of who I am and where my life is headed. All of it. I can honestly say I have never felt this "at home" with myself. but that's for another post. What I mean is, I'm happy with my life. and that's all there is to it. It's that simple.

 So the next question is, What happens when someone tries to shake up your happiness?.... 

Here's the sad truth, People love to see you do good but never better than them. Make sense? Good. And this is why we have the tendency to cast stones upon others. We hate seeing their smiles in photos, we hate seeing where they are in their lives. and that causes us to load up that catapult full of stones and launch them into our neighbors yard. (not literally your neighbor, or maybe if you happen to have a crappy neighbor) But we want to see our neighbors break. We want to cause that crack that will result in their down fall. We are human and we all do it. Lord knows I have. So here is what we gotta do. First and Foremost, Stop assigning yourself to be the one to load up the catapult. Who cares what is going on in your neighbors yard. It all goes back to the end result of The Greener Grass, your neighbors grass may appear to be green but just think about how green your grass could be if you worried about watering it? Secondly, Stop letting those who do so little for you take up so much of your life. Thirdly, Don't let someone define your life, Don't let them bully you. Stand up for yourself. Are you happy with your life? Have you worked hard to get to that place? Good. Keep that momentum going and refuse to slow down because someone else has a problem with it.

How do you Stand Up for yourself without being Rude and making the situation worse?.....

Repeat after me, "What you allow, Will Continue." - and I'm serious. Take it from me, I just went through this, again. Like I said earlier...I have been so happy the last year and a half with my self and my life. I'm at an amazing place. All I focus on is myself, my husband, our family/friends, and the life we are building together. and it's great. But then someone tries to shake me. They tried to catapult me...but what they didn't know is that I have a safe barrier surrounding my yard, I have a Catch Net. And although the "right" thing to do was to probably walk away and let whatever happens just be. That's not what happened. I decided to stand up for myself. I decided to stand up for MY PEACE. It wasn't that I wanted to say "Don't treat me like this, You can no longer bully me." but rather, I will no longer let someone bully me into feeling sorry about my life or discontent with who I am. I will not back down in that sense. I have worked damn hard to make my life what it is for someone to try to shake my walls. So here is what I did: First off, I listened with the intent to understand. I didn't respond. Then, I thought about what this person was saying and I felt like it was from a place of malice. So I didn't respond. And finally, I felt ready to respond, I stated my feelings in a way that wasn't about what they were saying, but rather, how it's going to be..for myself. I often feel like the reason there is so much confrontation is because we lash back when we feel attacked and we end up attacking the words being said towards us; rather than listening to what is being said and thinking "Why are they saying this?" because 98% of the time, it's not about you. It's about them. I promise!!! I responded,  I promptly said that my life is my life, their life is their life. and that's that. I said I was happy, I wished them well. and I was done. Nothing else. There doesn't need to be anything else. and they walked away. I understand now, what it means in the quote above "Raise your Words, Not your Voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder." because honestly, what good would it have done to lash out and start throwing stones back? We'd both end up hurt with a yard full of stones. And there i just no need for it. We can get our point across without being Malicious, we just have to pause and think about it for a minute.

I feel that it's important to think about what you're going to say before you say it. My Dad taught me that. And sometimes I fall short of myself and I lash out. But I'm human and I think we all make that mistake sometimes. Some people just get a different reaction out of us because they spark different emotions. But it doesn't always have to be this way. We have to remind ourselves to Listen with the Intent to Understand, Not Reply. That's not to say you have to keep your mouth completely shut, but we do have to keep our mouths shut long enough to think about what we are going to reply with. There is a big difference here. When all was said and done, I felt happy. I felt peaceful. and then, I said a silent prayer, for my stone-casting neighbor. I will never truly know why my neighbor decided to appear again. But it's not any of my business. My business is to Remain at Peace. Remain Happy. Remain myself.

My Grass is Green, My garden is growing beautifully...and It's because I like watering my side of the fence. I hope my neighbors yard is just as green....What a nice neighborhood we could have!! Don't you agree?

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