I have learned this the hard way, the long and agonizing way, by walking straight through fire and burning almost completely away before coming to my senses and stepping mercifully out of the flames.
I have learned that I cannot control what other people do, yet I can control my reactions to them. Sounds simple, right? Deceptively simple. The world will always be rampant with jerks, and realizing that my reaction to them shapes who I am was a painful journey. Fully accepting that, and acting with that acceptance, will likely be a lifelong struggle.
I discovered, in the midst of my animosity and pure hate, that reacting with the same venom was dragging me down to their level. I was wallowing in the pit of monstrosity I violently rejected, arm-in-arm with the bitter, soulless creatures I despised.
The worst thing for me, the most heartbreaking realization, was that if I didn’t stop, I would let them yank me under their rotting surface, let my heart putrefy like theirs and blacken, dripping with rot. Worth nothing.
So I stood up. I sincerely hope that those people, and some of them read this blog religiously, are able to examine themselves and realize the same thing, that their humanity, their heart, has been rotting away by their own actions, and the only one who can stop that is themselves.
Poison arrows of deceit and lies, frothy venom tainted with jealousy and bitterness, tantrums hurled with blood-curdling screams, jabs and taunts and pointing fingers…if you slow down and look at yourself, ask yourself why you do what you do, you just may learn to be a better person, a stronger person, a happier person.
I can’t imagine a life so void and empty that it must be filled up with hatefulness, spite, lashing out. I can’t imagine having nothing to live for, to fight for, to stop you from slipping further and further into the pit, drowning on your own misery, tossing handfuls of it like shit and hoping it sticks to somebody, anybody, pulls someone else in with you, keeps you, in any manner, from being alone as you choke on your own foresakenness.
My anger slowly turns to…compassion. For it’s still impossible for me to believe that anyone wants to be that way, bubbling in their own execration, a heart so full of hate that it can’t absorb anything good.
I climbed out of that pit and stand now on its edge, watching you writhe and spit and fling and slap and claw…wanting nothing more than to hurt me but not even fully understanding or admitting why. Blindly firing a gun and not caring who else the bullet may hit on the way to my flesh. It’s sad and unnecessary. It’s changeable. It’s in your control. From where I stand, I could do one of two things: I could perpetuate the hate and vulgarity, and look down my nose at you; or I could use the higher vantage point to reach down to you and offer my help in helping you up, to a better place.
It’s up to you, who to be. It always has been.
*Photo courtesy of TitleTrakk.com*