Sunday, July 24, 2011

Are You a Gluestick?

Or perhaps an iron?  Does it seem like you are the one holding it all together?  The fixer and mender and glue to all situations?

I have recently realized that I have been this person, whether I was asked to be or not, for as far back as I can remember.  I have always taken on the task of taking emotional temperatures and gauging who would need an emotional pat on the head, pop on the butt, or a punch in the nose!

I just wanted everyone around me to be happy.  I would avert conflict at any cost, always watching for the next potential flick of a sour face and armed with my self-designated badge of the Happy Police.  Sad must be turned to happy.  Sorrow must be turned to joy.  Anger must be turned to love.

Seriously, this was my purpose in life, to manage, correct, change or update everyone's emotions.  Someone to fix everything, everytime?  This sounds too good to be true because it is!  It is impossible and unnatural for us to be happy ALL THE TIME. 

After the downs, the ups are more enjoyable.  We can learn from the good and difficult situations so we are better prepared for the next time.

With Happy Police coming around all the time, correcting, mending, and softening the blow, the reality of situations gets lost, as well as the lesson that might be learned!

Oh, I am not saying that we can't be cheerful, even during distressing times....but we need to be REAL.  Life is not always perfect.  We don't always win the game.  We aren't always picked first.  Sometimes we splash through a mud puddle and mom is not happy about it!

I have found it is more healthy to deal with reality.  If you have lost, it's okay to cry.  But learn how to get back up.  If you aren't chosen first, then celebrate being chosen 4th, 10th or last and then remember that feeling when you are the chooser.  The focus shouldn't be on being happy.  It is on how to gracefully handle the varying situations that come our way in life.  That is really the measure of HAPPY.

Expecting perfection or happiness or winning all the time is asking to be sheltered and cocooned from real life.  If all we experience are feel-good times, we would miss out on alot of teachable moments, and some of them make sweet memories. 
How about these life moments?
birth of a child
kissing our kids' booboos
telling the truth after a lie
apologizing after we hurt another
learning to roller skate
heartbreak after love
the possibility of trying again...and again

If all we want is to be comfortable, and happy, and never sad or hurt, it would be like living with only one color choice.  My favorite color is all variations of pink but I would not want my life all in Pepto-Bismal!  Ewwwww.

I am challenging myself, and perhaps you, to live A Real Life.  Don't appoint yourself as everyone's emotional iron or family gluestick.  Accept people and things as they are.  For every high there is a low so expect it and learn from it.  Embrace life as it comes.  Listen to  your heart.  Live your life.  Be your own best friend.  Don't look to others to measure yourself.  

Just. Be. You.

A card that I received from a friend said the following (paraprhased):  "She was a gluestick, rolling across people's emotions, donning them as she went.  But as of 2006, it was no longer necessary for her to dress in others' issues...she was free to wear herself."

As I learn to "wear myself" I find myself happier with every passing day.  As I am open to new ways to approach life, as I am open to share my bad and my good, I am more content and empowered to live MY life. 

To find happy, either keep doing what you are doing or change something.  Just. Be. You.

Dear God,  Thank you for helping me to become a Real Girl.  I didn't like the old me who always decided what to do based on the opinions and acceptance of everyone around me.  You are showing me, teaching me and bringing people into my life as examples of what a Real Life looks like.  I am grateful for this.  Yes, I do see a light at the end of the tunnel.  No, it is not an oncoming train but bright rays of hope!  I love you God.  ~Your Real Girl