As we age, it’s more important than ever to choose to live in a way that reflects who we really are. Do we think we are kind? Caring? Patient? Loving? Thoughtful? Generous? Well-mannered? Self-controlled? Then our behaviors should reflect these character traits.
When we are dealing with narcissistic influences in our lives (like parents, pastors, colleagues, neighbors, friends, or other loved ones or acquaintances), we cannot allow them to suck the life out of us any longer—whether we are in their presence or in their absence.
We may have taken a break from them and from the crazing-making world they put us in. We may have said “no more.” We may have walked away, intending to be done with the ridiculous charade once and for all. But once we understand that time is short and that we really are closer to the end than the beginning, something changes for us.
We realize that it really doesn’t matter how other people choose to be. What matters is how we choose to be. And while other people may inflict pain on our soul (out of their own torment), we know that ultimately we are free from that inner torment.
We no longer suffer inside. We had time to heal (because, yes, time does facilitate healing), and we took time to grieve. We see things for what they are, and we accept that we cannot control or change other people. We can only control and change our own choices.
Because of this understanding, we can go forward now, confident in who we really are, living in a way that we really want to live. We have the capacity to be compassionate—more so than anyone has ever been to us. And we have the perspective to give generously from our heart—regardless of whether anyone ever does the same to us.
Herein lies our personal power—that we truly are able to rise above other people and their limited-ness and that we are able, with God’s help, to become all of who we really are so that because of the rooted-ness of our faith, we can make other people’s lives a little bit brighter.
Why is this even important? Because we are who we choose to be—which takes away all of the excuses we have ever offered up to not live out our potential.
And why is this important? Because we are not going to let anyone stop us from spreading the goodness and happiness that is ours to share.
And why is goodness and happiness so important? Because life is just better when we open our hearts and participate in living a good and happy life all the while bringing a little bit of the good and the happy into other people’s lives.
Do you see how it has nothing to do how other people treat us? Breaking free of dysfunctional cycles has everything to do with making our own life choices independent of other people’s life choices.
So when other people do us wrong, it gives us even greater reason to spread some warmth their way and to give from our hearts all the more.
Why? Because this is our chance, in the time we all have left, to prove that we are the good and kind people we think we are.