A Word of Caution

Don’t read this if you’re being fragile, overly sensitive, or full of despair. 

Don’t read this if you need something soothing and comforting.  You won’t find soothing and comforting here.  You’re going to find facts, as well as some fire and brimstone.

I know it’s Mercury in Retrograde, and I’m aware that the economy is down and people have health issues and emotional issues and relationship issues and career issues and all of the above at the same time.

But I am also aware that most of us, even with our health and career and relationship issues, aren’t, well, in China.

Or Mayanmar.

Or Dafur.

I don’t mean to make light of our personal struggles, but I do have a problem when we stare so closely at bruises that we forget to count the blessings, we forget to see those in our life that love us and try to support us.  I have a problem when people use their disappointment or pain to lash out at others.  I have a problem when we won’t suck it up when shit happens–because shit does happen and will always happen–and we allow ourselves to mope and pity ourselves and just wallow in misery.

I once played victim.  I once was Classic Jane in Pain.  I wrote dark confessional poetry.  I’d sit up half the night, my mind wild with the colors and pain and texture of depression and self-loathing.  I have been to very dark dangerous places in my mind and I thought that was how the world was for me, and how the world was supposed to be for me, and I figured, I just deserved it, or got it, or had to live with it.

But I didn’t.  I don’t.  I’ve learned to get help when things get rocky beneath me, or within me.  I’ve learned to watch the danger signs when I’m too sad, or starting to get lonely or overwhelmed.  And what I learned as I grew was that I don’t like feeling bad, and most importantly, the only way I can stop feeling bad is to start feeling better, and that’s by feeling–aka thinking–better thoughts.  Good thoughts.  Good hopes.  Good attitude.  Good focus.  Good objectives.  Outward objectives.  Outward view, outward, not inward.

I am not making light of depression or the blues.  I’ve been there and fully appreciate the pain and loneliness and the feeling of helplessness.  I am asking you, begging you, get help if you need help.  And part of that help, is helping yourself.

Part of that help is attitude, too.  Attitude, and perspective. 

Maybe it’s Pollyanna-ish, but we can look at the glass as half-empty or half-full, and we can obsess about what we don’t have versus what we do.  We can eye others bodies, others wealth, others marriages, others careers.  We can ache with emptiness for never being satisfied.  Or we can acknowledge that we want more, and then we can work to discover what it is that constitutes more, and then work again to fill that definition and need.

Action.  Take action.  Don’t be a victim.  Don’t spend your life wishing you had a different life.  Don’t spend another moment of your day dwelling on painful emotions, or bruised feelings, or unmet needs–not without taking action.  We all have hurts and unmet needs.  We will continue to have them.  But there is more out there for you.  There are good things in the world for you, there is hope and courage and change.

Change.  For better things, for happier endings, we have to be willing to change.  Break the bad habits.  Let go of the petty emotions.  Work on being a little more altruistic and a hell of a lot more compassionate and loving.  Particularly with ourselves.

Truly bad things do happen in our world.  Truly tragic things happen.  In the last month two friends have been diagnosed with cancer.  In the last month a friend has told me that she just lost a friend to cancer.  In the last month a friend lost her teenage son. 

So here’s the blunt part, the part that might not sound loving but is:  if you’re not dead or dying, I beg you to live.

And live like you mean it.

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