We live with the scars we choose
Five years ago I had carpal tunnel release surgery. The pain I experienced from the wound was a sweet pain. It was a different kind of pain than the nerve pain I’d been experiencing for months prior to it. What I didn’t anticipate when the stitches were removed, was for the wound to still be gaping. Instead of having a neat scar, I ended up with a horrible line marring my palm.
Besides the telling scar, most of the scarring was in my mind. It took me ages before I gained full use of my hand. Sure I did many of the things one would expect from the non-dominant hand but in my mind my hand was still weak. Much more so than before. Placing weight on my palm or gripping was a no-no. At least that what my mind told me. Until one day I did (not consciously obviously) and I was shocked that my hand “worked”.
I lived with the scars I chose.
Even though the scar is visible, it hasn’t given me a day of problems or pain since it healed. Which makes me think of emotional scars and how we cling to them. Not wanting to open ourselves up to possibilities for fear of being hurt. How I have been hurt in the past and how it’s shaped me in to the woman I am today. The one has no problem walking away and never looking back. Taking the lessons and instead of focusing on emotional scars and the people who caused it, I focus on myself and my growth. Because let’s face it… While we may believe that we were right, no one ever believes that they’re wrong. Subsequently, I’ve taken responsibility for my share in failed relationships. The woman I am, is a work in progress towards the woman I believe I want to be.
While physical scars can be seen, emotional scars retards our growth. It has a habit of tarnishing every other current relationship and has a habit of jinxing any future relationship. Let’s not forget how we sometimes focus on the other party. You know, the one you ‘broke up’ with, who’s life is moving on and you’re still stuck in the same space. You don’t have to tell me if I’m right and I’m not going to tell you that you’re wrong. But if we’re really honest with ourselves, it really bites to see those very people grow and move forward. Thankfully that was younger me. I’d get upset that they’re blasè about it, apparently living and loving life without me. It tore at my self worth and made me miserable. With this thought pattern, I made myself miserable.
It’s only when we learn to let go and live for ourselves and not for others that we find contentment. Allowing ourselves to mourn our broken relationships. Again, let’s not fool ourselves, walking away is not easy. Even if the relationship turned out sour, there are always the good memories we shared with people. And then there are thoughts of what they may be thinking and feeling. Especially towards you.
No (wo)man is an island.
The past couple of years I have managed to alienate myself from family (blood relatives and in-laws alike) and plenty of other people. The old adage of familiarity breeds contempt is what transpired. In plenty of these cases there have been no arguments or any words whatsoever. Many of these I can’t quite put my finger on and I’m fairly certain the other parties cannot either. There does however come a time when you reach that point where you don’t want to guess or assume people’s thoughts, feelings (towards you) or motivations. I love games, but life is not a game to me. I don’t want to wonder if someone is being honest with me or using me. If whether they tolerate me or go through motions. I really don’t want to wonder if someone is genuine because I’m the kind of person who will make my feelings known. I’m transparent like that. In saying this, I also want you to understand that while I may not always like people’s attitudes much, being rude is not my MO. How else are people going to know kindness if it’s not shown/ given to them?
With the amount of people I’m estranged from, you’d wonder how many people I still have in my life. Here’s where the choices comes in. I’m rather good at handling conflict and quite fair as well. I often give people the benefit of the doubt and can move forward with a relationship when honesty and truth is present. A leopard can’t change its spots but we’re human and we can change our ways. Many of my personal relationships are very much in tact. Because once we’ve overcome an obstacle or argument, you have no choice… I’m going to hold on to you for life. Being raised by depression taught me that. Having tumultuous relationships with my siblings when we were younger strengthened that belief. My sister’s and I are more than family. More than friends. We’re like a little gang.
Having people badmouthe me throughout the years (without knowing the essence if who I am) could have made me a bee with an itch. Having been treated like an outcast could have made me believe that I’m worthless. Working with people who chooses to use me as a scapegoat for when things go wrong, because I seem to be untouchable, can make me question my abilities every now and again. What if it really was me? Then again I know who I am. I know and use my strengths and one of it is owning up and admitting to mistakes I made. A combination of all of the above could have left some scars that are more horrible than the line marring my palm but I choose not hold on to that. I know who I am.
But you know what I find the funniest? In most cases, it’s not our feelings that got hurt so much as our pride. And pride is a nasty thing. It’s the one thing that will hold you back with force as you tell yourself that it’s not your fault. Not taking accountability for your own actions. What actions though? If you haven’t done someone wrong then how can you take your portion of the blame? What if you don’t even know what the charge is?
A while back I burst out in laughter while we had praise and worship. It had something to do with moving to the left or right and you know how we always confuse it one way or the other. Anyway, I got over it and continued singing. Later that day my gran mentioned how she saw me laughing and assumed I laughed at one of the worship team members. Almost giving me a tongue lashing. I was horrified to think that my gran would think me guilty of that and she knows me knows me. What if other people saw me and thought the same. What if the guy in question thought I laughed at him? I was horrified and felt a bit of misplaced guilt because I was laughing at myself! But what if this guy was offended by my laughing and cast me a villain… I was looking straight at him and following his right which was my left. Guys it took me a good couple of Sunday’s thereafter of me giving him gentle smiles and showing him that I’m not a cow. Just in case he felt I laughed at him.
How many times do we hurt people without our knowing about it and then brushing it off because it’s not what we meant? Worse still is shrugging it off when we are made aware of it because it’s not what we meant. Yes, it’s not our fault that people feel the way they do but continuing being ignorant about it is kind of lousy. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be the cause of someone else’s scarring. Not everyone’s belief in themselves is strong enough to overcome. No matter which side of the hurt you are on, pride can be your worst enemy if you’re not willing to concede.
Being hurt can make you bitter or better. In some instances bitter led me to better. I believe in feeling your feelings. Recognizing it helps to put things into perspective.
My gran always says that silence is an answer too. It took me years to answer in silence because I would be the first to make an attempt at trying to fix things. Even when I wasn’t wrong. A much younger me would have been upset by being at odds with people. Me of today can somewhat relate, but I also know that it takes two. If a relationship is worth saving, it needs both participants. Not just one doing all the work. I am still usually the first to mend fences but since conflict resolution is not an official subject in school and many people don’t know how to resolve conflicts effectively, I often find it a moot point. In which case, walking away is the best thing you can do for yourself. There is no growth when you remain stagnant.
Guys tomorrow I’ll be 13514 days old and if I’ve learnt anything in life it’s this:
- Age in years doesn’t necessarily equate age in wisdom.
- Emotions cannot be erased with stain remover. We have to make the choice to be happy.
- We do not overcome by ignoring a problem. We have to deal with our feelings before moving on.
- Being right is not all it’s cut out to be.
- Accepting responsibility for our part in a failed relationships is called maturity.
- Caring about what people think of you and being obsessed by those thoughts are two totally different things. I care about what people think of me but I don’t need their opinions to validate me.
- We have no control over others feelings or actions.
- Conflict resolution is about agreeing to disagree and respecting your fellow human enough to at least try to understand their point of view even if you don’t adopt it.
- When you know who you are, not many things will phase you.
- Walking away is a strength and not a weakness.
- Choosing kindness is much better than being right all the time.
Which scars are you living with?