Updated: Jul 24, 2020
We have at one time, or the other heard someone say, "I don't give two hoots what you say about me!" When I hear that, I automatically want to say, "Ah, stop lying!" Then again, I suppose it won't be fair that I think the statement is untrue for the person saying it. All I know is this, that statement is not the case for everyone. Even when 'they' say it is. Deep down inside, we often care a little more than we'd like to admit.
A twenty-something-year-old me was that girl who would hurt a person's feelings and not think twice. An older thirty-something-year-old me, was so condescending you'd think my 'ducks' lived on Park Place, cemented in the row. While these two versions of me didn't worry about how my words affected people, what was even scarier is I didn't realize those seeds being sown was about to bear some very tart fruit.
Karma dishes unrequested second's
I remember walking across the parking lot of a busy establishment, thinking death had to be better than the feeling of my constant physical pain. I ached in places I had no clue existed. As I approached a vehicle filled with men, I cringed at the thought of what they'd say. I thought that the 'me' in this state meant I was virtually invisible. No one would pay me any attention. After all, no one hollas' at the girl who looks sick. Sadly, I was very mistaken. One man shouted, at what seemed to be the top of his lungs, "Yea, ya look willin', but ya could see you'n able!" As if to say, yea, you have all the necessary parts, but it's obvious something somewhere isn't working. "Ah, thanks, Mista!" Yip, that's exactly what I needed to hear smack-dab in the middle of a health crisis.
'Sigh', if sickness has taught me nothing else, I'm now more aware than ever that people are insensitive and seldom know what to say or when it's appropriate to say it. I am 'people', 'people' is me. If this experience was any indication, it felt official - I was going to be alone, FOREVER!" It was in those kinds of crushing moments that I remembered how a 'pretentious' me rarely stopped to consider people's feelings. Who knew humble pie would taste so good? Naturally, I came to the place where I knew it was mandatory to adjust my attitude. I won't lie, that day was only the start of a long slew of such encounters where my feelings were not just hurt, but ran-over. 'Hmph', empathy is now such a part of me, I call it my shadow.
"Stick and stones may break my bones, but words would never harm me", issa lie from the pits of hell!
Fast-forward 2 years later, to a more robust, mentally and emotionally stronger me. Who could imagine that unicorn-bae would have been lurking between the second and third floors of a savvy corporate building? At least for me. Ahh, finally, a slice of 'pie' minus the calories. Even when it all seemed like rainbows and butterflies, there were those moments when the darker side of me reared her ugly head. Yes, I am absolutely that woman who'll use her words to build, encourage, and uplift, but don't try me. I can 'Clarke Kent' my attitude into Petty-Crocker right quick. I suppose its the writer in me that will take an argument into full-on political debate mode, faster than the speed of light. Please, stop giving me the side-eye. I'm sure I'm not the only one. But man, you'll know dudes be trying it.
While my church background is out here telling me that to be a good 'mate' I need to learn how to "submit". On the other hand, my personal view tells me I ain't no pushover or punk. "Submission", like what in the kryptonite is that? So, Reverend Mother, are you saying that I should not express an opinion? Are you really telling me that I need to let him have the final say? Well, I declare! This. About. To. Be. Long. Let me ask you though girls, "When you look back on some of your relationship arguments, what is it that you were really running on with? Was anything worth you getting the last word in? And if you can't even tame your tongue in the dating phase, how in the world do you expect to advance to the next level?" Most wise King Solomon said this, 'It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop than with a brawling woman in a large house.' Yikes! "Hey Doc, can I get a prescription that would sedate me when I need shut-up, stat?" Yea, its called self-control-the most underrated fruit of the spirit. I found that it's in those moments of contention you'll know if the 'love' is real or nah. I hear you, "What's love gat' to do with it?" you say. You'll be surprised to know. Usually, when I can't figure something out, I trace it back to the source.
"When you continually find faults in others, it's often the thing you dislike most within yourself."
The thing about love is it's a constant decision, and some days I opted for getting even rather than doing what was right. It made me wonder, is how we treat other people a direct correlation of how we feel toward ourselves? The mistake we commonly make is thinking that 'love-of-self' is less important than love for others. Don't go depending on mere feelings, though; they fluctuate and are very fickle. It's easy to say, "I love you," but when the rubber meets the road, are we willing to let love's characteristics shine more than the desire to be 'right'? At the end of the day who is right (true or correct) pales in comparison to who is left (what remains). Love, being patient and kind, not envious or boastful, not proud or rude. Love isn't selfish, it's not easily angered, it protects, it trusts, and hopes it perseveres. Above all that, love never fails.
"This makes me wonder if I have ever even 'loved' at all or was I just in 'like', a lot!"
Well, you know what comes next. Yip, another question. How can I get to loving someone else with a deliberate intent like Paul speaks about? Even before that, do I feel this way toward myself? Do I ever apply the rules of love's requirement to my self-love relationship? Seemingly when your mouth is not saying one thing, your thoughts and actions are always speaking. What is it you think and say about yourself? I'm not talking about what you say and do to overcompensate when you have an audience. I mean deep in the recesses of your heart, do you like 'you'? And when you speak about yourself, do you tend to highlight the negative before you accentuate the positive? I suppose when it's put that way, it's hard to love your neighbour (or whoever) when you're not exactly sure how to love yourself.
Check yo-self before you wreck yo-self
I use to get all caught up on how other people loved me, or how they failed to love me, rather. Though, when I dialled it back, the things I said in jest were mostly responsible for why my life was in shambles. Things like: "I can't catch a break! What else can go wrong? Always the bridesmaid never the bride." If this is you, let me stop you there-pounder this. The adage says, 'charity (love) begins at home.' Deepak Chopra said it even better: "Every cell in your body is eavesdropping on your thoughts." Or if you need some good old fashion word, "if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." What do you say to yourself when you're alone? Have you ever truly given yourself a compliment? If you can't speak nice to and about yourself, then how can it be genuine toward someone else? How can you even feel comfortable hurting someone you love if that love should be a reflection of you?
Oh be careful little mouth what you say!
Besides all that, what you speak eventually manifest! Sadly, if the lyrics to your life's theme song is "All men are dogs, or I can't find a good man, and all men cheat", spoiler alert: a good man will not appear by worded-reverse-osmosis? Speak something different, first by changing your 'stinkin'-thinking! I used to think affirmations were the silliest things, but what that does is give the universe 'permission' on what to send you. If you always think that you'll fail, then guess what? You will. Listen, madam single lady, who is not so patiently waiting to jump the broom, start paying very close attention to the things that come out of your mouth. Forget your cooking skills, for now, that can be taught-but ask yourself, 'Are my words marriage material?' The bible says it like this: Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose (Prov. 18:21 MSG). So, in my Wendy Williams voice is, "How you doing?"