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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Personal Tormentors

"A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey
-- but a woman of strength has faith that  it is in the journey that she will become strong."
My mother always said that when life throws you lemons, add tequila and make margaritas. I'm sure she didn't mean that we should proceed to the nearest bar, although I just might have done that a time or two, as a healthy buzz can sometimes change one's perspective. Instead, I believe she meant that we need to try to find the best in others and in the situations we find ourselves in, no matter who is at fault.

With respect to her advice, this isn't always the easiest path to navigate. At first glance it appears much easier to dwell in the immediate misery, becoming bitter and resentful, holding a grudge, plotting revenge and crawling inside of ourselves. Be forewarned that doing so will shut us off from the rest of the world, stunt our personal growth, shade our happiness and wither our hearts (advice from my dad). We might as well be dead. Instead, although more difficult to traverse, it would appear to be wiser to choose the path to enlightenment which enables us to become better people through the difficult circumstances and blunders we sometimes find ourselves in.

Ultimately, these stressful situations most often involve a person who suffers from delusions of their own creation. I have no doubt these people have encountered their own personal trials but I also have no doubt that they have chosen to not better themselves because of those events. In fact, I might even go so far as to say that they live in a hallucination that is a complex web of pretenses and passive-aggressive motives that are required to maintain their deceptive reality. Unfortunately, I am sure we have all found ourselves faced with one of these so called personal tormentors of self esteem. Others might call them bullies. They are like the angel of death but instead they come to prey upon our self worth, hacking off bits and pieces of it until we are reduced to a shameful pile of insecurity that resembles our tormentor. Didn't someone say that the greatest cowards are most often the greatest bullies?

Ultimately, we must make a choice on how to react to that situation or that person. It's not always simple to remove ourselves from this type of oppressiveness. It takes time, patience, planning, and maybe even a good margarita (or two or three) to help us cope and forge a way out. But what I have found works best is a regular regime of dosing the self-esteem - consistently doing something that makes us feel worthwhile - mantras in front of the mirror, a therapist, a daily hug, writing in a journal, eating chocolate, a spa day, yoga, shopping, hanging with good friends, etc.  Much satisfaction can also be found in the role that karma plays - allowing the timeless cycle of what goes around, to come around. This ensures that the seed of self-respect that is planted within us, is nurtured and never allowed to waste away.  This cultivates an unbreakable pride and belief in the self.

And to those challenges we are facing or have faced, we may not fully understand why we had to go through them, but we will be able to say without a doubt, that we were able to emerge with only a few scratches because we reached deep within ourselves and found the will to survive.

And with that, I have this to say to a former personal tormentor who attempted to ruin me:

because of your lack of self respect, I learned to revere mine
because of your lack of organization, I honed my skills at juggling multiple priorities
because of your inefficiencies, I became a trusted resource
because of your childish immaturity, I matured and embraced my adulthood
because you were uncaring, I cared even more
because you took credit where credit was not due, I was not responsible for your failure
because you stole my ideas, I thought of better ones
because of your lies, I held steadfast to the truth
because you sought to destroy me, I became powerful
because you never followed through, I never let anything slip by
because you disliked me, I liked myself even more
because you put me down, I learned to build myself back up stronger
because you told me I was worthless, I grew to be invaluable
because of your unprofessionalism, I developed expertise 
because you hated me, I discovered how to love myself
because of your cruelty, I found compassion
because of your deceit, I acquired integrity
because of your weakness, I have limitless strength
And most all of, I forgive you. 

Because in forgiving our tormentors, we allow ourselves to grow and move on so that now when it's time for a margarita, it's not to drown our sorrows, but instead it's to celebrate our life, and applaud our strength. Although we might just be reveling in the fact that our tormentor no longer has a stronghold on us, we do wish for the sake of all humanity and the intricate web that connects us all, that they might grow a heart one day and resolve to become better people. 

Either way, each step we take through the journey of life, we are given the opportunity to enjoy it fully and to love ourselves and others with wild abandon. No one can ever take that away from any of us. So the next time you get a lemon, throw some tequila into the mix but don't cry about it, see it as a chance to find something wonderful, even if it is not immediately apparent.  Because love is what makes the world go round. And without it, we'd be just as bad as our personal tormentors.

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