I used to think that my own personal life mantra came from that of famous football coach Lou Holtz (Life is ten percent of what happens to you and ninety percent of how you deal with it). And while it's still an amazing quote to live by, I don't think it completely sums up who I am as a whole. This has especially come to light in recent weeks, when some of my own personal relationships were called into question.
Do unto others as you would want done to you
Widely known as The Golden Rule, it is a simple philosophy that has existed for over a thousand years plus. It can be applied to any gender, religion, ethnicity, political stance, etc. It kind of goes along with the whole "if you hand out crap, you better be willing to take it too", except in a more positive aspect. It does not necessarily mean that others will be good to you in return, but it's better to live a life of kindness than one of hatred.
Back in January, I did a post regarding who I am at my core. It started back when I was in seventh grade, and often times picked on by my peers for one reason or another; I refused to fight back, seeing that I would only be stooping to their level and therefore wanted to be the bigger person. In the years that followed, my attitude and reasoning toward treating others in the nicest way possible began to take shape.
I believe in reaching out to others and completely taking them as they are, regardless of what they've been through or where they're currently at in life. I'm not going to completely solve their problems, but I'll do my best to encourage them and be a positive role model. I once told my friend who was dealing with his own struggles, "I may not have all the answers, but I do know that I will be there for you unconditionally."
I believe in giving without expectations and putting the needs of others before my own. If there's one thing I have learned, it's that it is more than likely that someone around you is going through a hell of a lot worse than what you may be experiencing. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself as well, but you never know what kind of healing can take place when you personally take the time to help someone else with theirs.
I believe in compassion and understanding; to put yourself in someone else's shoes and walk at least a mile or two before you make any judgments regarding their current state of being or who they want to become. That does not mean you have to condone their actions, but don't go pointing fingers and damning them to hell, either. Some people to have to run into a brick wall multiple times in order to see just how much it causes both themselves and the people around them. And instead of holding it against them, there is the possibility of forgiveness and second chances.
And most importantly, I believe in love; even when everyone else says they're not worth the time or effort, and that you might as well turn around and go in a completely different direction.
I am saying these things because I know what it's like to be on the other side; I've been excluded from certain groups or events due to circumstances that were (and still are) out of my control. I've felt abandoned by people that once claimed to care about me, but did not want to deal with whatever black clouds I'd gotten caught under at that particular time. When it all comes down to it, I know what it's like to feel completely alone. If I had the ability to do so, I would make sure that one ever felt that way
However, I have been told that I am too nice at times; at first, I did not think that such a thing existed. My brother told me that people acted cruelly toward me because they knew I would do nothing about it. At that time, I wanted to be anything but a complete bitch and be the one to "add fuel to the fire" as the saying goes. Years later, there were those that would emotionally take advantage of me because they figured I wouldn't bring it up. I didn't want to fight, and figured that was the best way to keep the peace.
Yet, I have also learned that there is such a thing as being a doormat, and in a lot of cases, I've been just that. The truth is, there is a difference between being nasty and being firm; when one gets nasty, they often use unnecessary words or anger to get their point across. When one is firm, they stick to their guns and simply say "What you've done, or are still doing to me isn't right." and simply explain how they feel about the situation. If the one being confronted walks away anyhow, than maybe there is a good reason for them not sticking around.
Even as I type these words, I wonder if I am opening a pandora's box here; allowing myself to be so incredibly vulnerable, where anyone who reads probably could and might use it against me someday. At the same time, if I didn't say it, than I'm not being completely who I am.
Trust me when I say that I'm definitely not perfect at any of what has been mentioned above. But as long as I live my life trying to be the best person that I can be, perhaps thats all that really matter is the end.
When you treat others nicely without expecting or asking for anything in return, you may find yourself receiving more than you originally set out for.