As those of you following my writing each month know that, my life was about survival. I reacted quickly to try to stay safe, if possible. I wanted to be included and liked. Even so, I found myself in places that were injurious situations not only emotionally, but also physically. It had not occurred to me until I decided to change myself for a better life that I was not thinking or acting rationally. My life growing up and in my marriage was dictated to me. Even the dogma in my church told me how to think. I had not learned to think for myself.
My mother intended for me to teach. I received excellent evaluations while teaching in the public schools. She took me to church where I later taught vacation bible classes and sang in the choir. Again, my mother’s plans changed me from playing the piano to playing the flute. Her reason was that I could not march in the band if I played a piano. I could be in the band if I played the flute. My husband had me working in our new business besides my teaching, as we could not afford a bookkeeper. He had me tutored to do the books and tax forms. I did not have to think, they thought for me. On the surface, I looked good to everyone.
I had to change to have my own life; I needed living skills. I had to start thinking for myself. I had to make my own decisions when I divorced. Gradually, I learned to put my intelligence and objectivity before my emotions, willfulness, or passiveness, while considering the consequences for each of my actions. Learning to take responsibility for behavior and myself was a scary step. All these years, I had pushed the decisions onto my spouse.
Daily I took an inventory of my activities and thinking to see where I still needed to change to applying my new principles and honesty into my present life style. I consciously reframed my attitudes by changing my negative or fearful ones into positive ones. Meditation became a new behavior that seemed to help me find direction and guidance through my new path. In meditation, it distanced me bringing emotional calmness. I could see the bigger picture and my part in it. Learning to think before I act was a complete turnaround.
I was finding new solutions by thinking. My relatives had a party while I was visiting in another town. The social gathering had been planned before I came to see them. Of course, I was included. I looked forward to meeting their friends. The drinks were poured into the largest glasses I had ever seen, but I do not drink. I started a conversation with a woman and she walked away to the kitchen to be with my relative. I was left all alone at the outdoor umbrella table. The men were off talking and so I joined the women in the kitchen. I went inside to join everyone there. Again, I tried to be friendly. It seemed that I was not being included in their conversation in the kitchen, either. Again, I was left alone as the others left the room and not saying anything to me. This time they went to a small room, where there was no room for me. I took it personally. I felt rejected. Twice was enough.
I decided that if they were not being sociable, I would go to the apartment in the basement where I was staying and read my new book. I could make my own entertainment and happiness. I did not need them to entertain me for the evening. I was enjoying myself when I heard the front door close up stairs as they all left. I was sitting in a recliner, happy with myself and the enjoying my special book. I did not have to be liked by them to like me and have a pleasant evening.
Another time was Christmas, when I was enjoying the holiday season with my boyfriend at his home. We had a pleasant Christmas Eve at his church. We came home where he proceeded to write out large checks as gifts to his children for the next day of festivities and gift giving. We watched some television and then decided to get to bed. I laid there fuming for some time. I got up and sat in the living room in an inner tizzy. I was not able to sleep in this frenzy. I went into the bathroom and got angry looking in the mirror. I realized from where the anger came. I had to earn every penny I had. Learning to think below the present situation and from where my fury came brought an interesting answer.
I was angry that he gave his children big checks and I knew I would not get one. No one had ever given me money or a large check for a gift in my family, I was jealous. It brought up the feelings of never receiving money from my parents, but my half sister got money all the time. I was always left out when it came to a gift of money.
I examined my past year with him and put together all the things he did for me or with me, financially. Realizing that I received more in our activities, trips, and events attended, set free my anger. I had gratitude that he was with me and a check would not replace his companionship or time we shared. The money was not the issue. I was not a victim but really the victor.
When I recognized that, the real problem was not the current circumstances but a repeat of emotions from my growing up and prior events. My sister got money when she asked my parents to help her. After my divorce, I had gone to my stepfather for a loan and was turned down bluntly. I was not given any financial support from my mom or step dad. His motto was, “We do not spoil Marilyn”.
As I was learning healthy tools, I could handle myself more appropriately. I apologized for my anger and settled down. My boyfriend had me go back to bed instead of sleeping in the recliner. It was no longer a problem for me. This allowed me to develop a positive attitude for Christmas Day and achieve serenity as the checks were dispersed with the gifts.
For me it was about clarifying my mind instead of analyzing, examining, and reconstructing. I had to charge my emotions, and realize that they came from prior situations and the buttons were pushed from the past. My anger had nothing to do with the present circumstances. The present moment may not always be serene, but I can achieve serenity by allowing each moment to evolve into a positive solution in reality.
My forthcoming book, “FINDING REALITY BEYOND FEAR”, will be published before this Christmas. I am extremely proud of this book; it takes you through four parts, Finding Grace, Finding, Balance, Finding Health and Sanity, and Finding Truth. It will be available at Amazon.com. Web site at angelicasgifts.com.