Staying soft is a challenge. If it was easy, everyone would be soft – kind, gracious, forgiving, accepting, loving.
It’s not easy, though, and the result is hateful and angry people, people allowing bitterness over the state of their lives and situations to spill out into the world.
People feel disenfranchised and powerless, and they let their pain make them hate; they let their hate morph into bitterness and vitriol.
Admitting that you hate, admitting that you are bitter – and more importantly, moving beyond it, letting it go and releasing your anger and bitterness – is hard.
Life is hard. There are so many chances for us to stand or fall, to accept our circumstances with grace or try to change them with equal grace. There are many more chances for us to explode in anger, to allow it to simmer in our souls and eat away at our peace of mind, our calm. So much – most of it, in fact – is beyond our control.
The only thing we can control is our reaction to that which life lobs our way.
Being the control freak that I am, I’ve always had a hard time with this concept of letting go and staying soft, but I’ve learned from the things I won’t let go creeping up and biting me in the ass, turning me into someone I don’t recognize, somebody I don’t particularly like.
Once upon a time, I was casually cordial with another woman; friendship was never in the cards due to disparate priorities. The problem was, despite our differences, I envied her and judged her.
I judged her for behavior that I just couldn’t fathom, the way she lived her life and took care of only herself, while also envying her freedom to live life just for herself without encumbrance.
It took me a long time to realize why I felt such enmity towards her, but when I began to look more closely at my own reactions, my own motivations, it was a lightning bolt; I felt hatred towards her because I envied her. I wanted to be in her shoes, and admitting that to myself was excruciatingly discomfiting. I was jealous.
Because she had the outline of a life I wanted, I was allowing that bitterness seeping into every crevice of my life, every important relationship, affecting everyone I loved. I was becoming someone I didn’t like, the type of person I accused her of being – bitter, angry, jealous and petty.
I’m not going to sit at my keyboard and claim that it was just that easy, that I realized the problem and it was fixed with a magical wave of my hand banishing the bad thoughts. No; It was hard and involved a lot of soul searching and deep thoughtful work on myself – and it is still a work in progress – but each day it gets easier.
If she ever crosses my mind these days, it’s to say a silent “thank you” for motivating me to move forward in creating the life and future I want.
Now I just focus on building the life I want for myself, ensuring that the world sees the person I truly am instead of someone who is so hardened by hatred and envy that all my sweetness and softness is gone.