2013 was not a banner year for me. Nor were the years leading up to it. Consequentially, for years, decades even, I let bitterness and anger consume me. It was reflected in my writing, my personality, and my actions. The poison of cynicism tainted every aspect of my life.
Then came a moment of clarity. A beam of light pierced through the dark sky and cast warmth and optimism upon my world. At that moment, I knew I had to make a choice that would forever dictate my path. I could either elect to live my life under the glow of that ray of sunshine or allow the blackness of intolerance and hate to take over my soul.
Let’s face it. Bad things happen to each and every one of us. Sometimes, those things are small and trivial. The restaurant overcooks your steak, you get cut off in traffic, or you ruin your favorite pair of shoes. From there, the levels of badness increase exponentially. You may lose your job. Your marriage may be in jeopardy. Serious illness may afflict you or a loved one.
No matter what life throws at you, it’s how you internalize it and react that makes all the difference. For those of us stuck in a rut of negativity, changing means reprogramming. It requires work and vigilance. For me, it means coming to grips with the fact that I cannot control the world around me. I can’t make others act nice or decent or respectful. But what I can do is consciously decide not to allow their transgressions to nip away at my soul.
What I may find is I’ve been missing out on the goodness in the world. I’m already beginning to see it, but only because I’ve opened myself up to the possibility that it exists.
I hope for those of you who find yourself sinking in a sea of hostility, you may also be rescued. Although, when it comes down to it, the only one who can rescue you from yourself is you. Be your own life vest, swim to shore and escape the torrents of animosity. If you do, I will be waiting on the beach of tranquility, holding out my hand.