I had a conversation a couple of years ago with someone who has taught me a lot about myself and others.
She used two phrases in the course of that conversation that became a little bit of a mantra for me.
The first was “Lifetime Grace Card”, (I will explain this in a little bit.)
The other was, “I love you but I will disappoint you.”
I rarely meet someone that I don’t love. I know that is a super weird concept to some but if I tell you I love you, I really do. I have a big heart and it has a lot of room for people. Now, that doesn’t mean I let everyone come too close. I am careful about who makes it in close. I have learned lots of lessons about myself and that is one of the most important. I used to have the, ‘everyone is welcome’, thing going on. I don’t do that to myself anymore. I guard what is most precious to me. BUT I do love a lot of people. It’s easy for me to do and there are lots of people who need to know they are loved by someone.
The problem with this way of thinking is that I feel like I am constantly disappointing people. I feel badly if I don’t respond the right way or right away. Remember…I am an introverted bi-polar woman who sucks into her shell for protection when needed. That is part of my self care. It’s part of who I am and who I have always been. There are times when I plug in my phone and don’t look at it for a few days or weeks because it causes me anxiety. I also HATE contention, of any kind. When you come from a home like I grew up in, contention is really detrimental to my well-being. Sometimes in my brain contention will come from *BLANK* situation so I will run from that situation like the plague. Disappointment is sure to ensue. It just will. I will offer a blanket apology to all of those who have experience this with me. I truly am sorry.
Hearing that from this woman who has taught me a lot rang a bell with me. It made me realize that maybe that is a bi-product of loving. Disappointments are going to happen, I am going to cause said disappointment, and, well, I will have to live with that. Unfortunately others will too.
Here’s where that hits me hardest. Our family is experiencing some things. They are hurtful and confusing and sometimes they cause me great stress and heartache, I react instead of respond. I found this article the other day and it rang so true to me in several ways. I saw myself in it, my upbringing, and my parent’s upbringing. I have been forgetting that I will disappoint the ones I love because I have always applied it to friends or acquaintances. I didn’t give myself the opportunity to use that mantra on family because you should never disappoint them, right??!! BUT of course you are going to disappoint them. You will disappoint them most of all. Because you are an integral part of their lives and they are an integral part of yours. They see you at your very best and your very worst. They also will disappoint you and it’s OK!! It’s ok for them to disappoint you, it doesn’t mean they don’t love you. It is fantastic when I have aha moments and they bring me clarity, which in turn gives me an opportunity to change the way I act.
I am a grudge holding fool. If you hurt me in just the right way, it’ll take me a while to get past it. Sometimes I won’t get past it. I’m working on that constantly, believe me. If you hurt one of my children, to quote Tony Soprano, “you are dead to me.” I’m not kidding, there are some people who I just can’t even. So, know that I am not perfect at this, but I see it and am seriously trying to stop. It isn’t healthy.
I grew up thinking that the word Grace meant either Grace Kelly or ‘simple elegance or refinement of movement.’
It wasn’t till I was older that I learned about God’s grace and I thought it was only used within the confines of religion. It became one of my very favorite words. THEN I heard lifetime grace card and it took on a whole other meaning. What a beautiful gift to give to someone. A lifetime of grace. Now, that doesn’t mean that someone can abuse the heck out of you and you just forgive and forgive and forgive. It means that, now and then, those people who love you are going to let you down. They are going to do things that hurt or make you feel bad. It’s part of life. What if you don’t have to hold onto it because you’ve already told them you wouldn’t? What if you look at them with love and know that they probably didn’t mean to hurt you. Maybe they are struggling. Maybe they have a million things going on in their lives and they don’t have time for you right now but they still love you. Maybe they just need some unconditional love from you. There are lots of maybes out there. That goes both ways…if they’ve given you the same gift then you get to understand each other in a different way. Isn’t that a beautiful concept?? I really do love it. Again…I’ve just been thinking of it in relation to the ‘outside’ relationships. It takes me a minute sometimes.
Back to the ‘life around the Welcker casa has been ROUGH for a little while’. I was feeling all boohoo sad for myself yesterday. Jealous, petty, depressed, and generally just blah. My husband asked if I would just give HIM some grace. What?! (Let me backtrack by saying that grace is not one of his favorite words so for him to use it he really meant it.) I took some time to mull that over. Why would I have no problem giving my friends that lifetime grace card and not these people that I love more than life? What’s that about? Again.aha moment. (I love that we are constantly learning and growing!!) Of course I would give him grace. Of course I can hand out lifetime grace cards to the people I love the most. Why did that never occur to me before? Why is it always so easy to see how they disappoint you and not how you disappoint them? It is so much easier to justify your own feelings. I am eager to go forward with this new frame of mind and see how it works when we are dealing with the hurtful and anger inducing situations that are coming up frequently right now. I am going to give these people a lifetime grace card.
Who in your life do you need to give one to? Let me tell you a secret…it helps you as much as it helps them.
p.s. I want to share a little bit about my posts. When I post something personal like this it is because I feel like someone out there needs to hear it. I never post to get sympathy, validation, or attention and I am NEVER trying to preach. Only to give a little food for thought. It feels like something special to be able to share my stories and thoughts in a way that may help someone else.