Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lesson Learned

December 17 – Lesson Learned.

What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?

I'm sort of cheating with this one, and in the last few weeks with Reverb10, I've already sort of touched on this. The "cheat" is because I started learning this lesson in 2009. The lesson: it's not my fault. What is "it?" Pretty much ... everything. Hmm. Sounds like I'm not taking responsibility for circumstances in my life, right? Yeah, that's what I thought, too.

I think, though, I always took too much responsibility for everything in my life. I blamed myself for how other people treated me, wondered if I really was as unloveable as they said or acted like I was. I chased my tail, always trying harder to be better, to be good enough, to be all things to all people.

Those days are over.

Now, it's difficult for me to settle for "good enough" because I'm that sort of person for whom "good enough" really never is. But, there are some circumstances that don't even HAVE a "good enough." Someone asked of me, regarding a particularly contentious situation, "what can you do differently, so that you're good enough?" My answer was a teary-eyed rant.

"Nothing! There is nothing I can do! I've tried everything I know, I've listened to the advice of others, I've worked so hard at this! There is nothing left for me to do!"

"Then stop trying," she replied. "There is nothing you can do to be good enough. You can't win, but it's not because you're not capable. It's because in that game, there is no winning. The game doesn't end."

This guidance applied to many areas of my life. There are several situations that are, simply, "no-win" because the people involved, for whatever reason, seem to need the conflict, or they need to keep me "in my place," or ... they're carrying some other baggage.

They're carrying the baggage. Not me. It's not my fault.

So, what can I do? Well, for awhile, I cried a lot. The futility of it all was just so frustrating and I felt trapped. Now, though, I'm learning to feel liberated and free because of this knowledge. There are certain circumstances I can change right now, and others I have to just endure. I can try to be compassionate whenever possible, because, well, compassion feels a heck of a lot better than anger and frustration. When I can't be compassionate, I can let it go. I can accept that some games exist only to be played, and, when I am in a position to do so, I can abandon those games that don't serve any higher purpose.

In the meantime, I can set up my life so that I'm ready to move on to the next step as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

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