Friday, January 15, 2010

Cry Me a River

Dear Crazy,

You think you can sit around and cry foul all the time-like other people are doing you wrong and all you can do is whine about it. Sure, everyone has problems sometimes and it's okay to rant a little or get a little down. Happens to all of us. But the time has come to build a bridge and get over it. Seriously.

Let me tell you about one of my biggest pet peeves-people who are full of self pity. I'm not talking about people who want an ear to listen to them talk about their bad day once in a while...I mean people like you who expect others to feel sorry for them because they believe their whole life is so much "harder" than everyone else's. The truth is everyone's life is hard-it's all a matter of perspective.

There is always someone that appears to be better off than you are, but you can't know what personal struggles they have. Sure, it's easy to not feel sympathy for someone who crashes their beamer, but try to think about where that person might be coming from. What if they had dreamed their whole life about owning that car? What if they had worked from the ground up and that car was a symbol to them of their success? What if they built that car with their dad who passed away? You never know where someone is coming from.

Let's take it one step futher-let's say that someone has had a relatively easy life. They've never really had to deal with anything difficult, but then something bad happens. Maybe they just got a traffic ticket-but to someone who has never had to deal with anything before the process of getting and paying a traffic ticket could be just as difficult any other problem-though to many people it would seem like 'no big deal'. It's all relative.

Now let's look at things from another perspective. I don't care WHO you are or WHAT has happened to you, there is always someone who has it worse. ALWAYS. I have been homeless. At one point in my life I was sleeping on the bus during the day and spending the few dollars I had on a soda so that I would be allowed to sit in a booth at Denny's all night where it was safe and warm. I have gone weeks living off the water in drinking fountains and not sleeping because there was no place safe to lay my head and you know what? I don't allow people to feel sorry for me, I have never been sorry for myself, and I still don't feel any pity for my previous situation. There were people who had it a lot worse than I did. I wasn't being abused. I didn't have a mental or physical disability that prevented me from working to better my situation. I didn't feel forced into drugs, prostitution, or gang life to survive. When I needed it most there were always kind strangers who were willing to help how they could-like the waitress who noticed me sleeping on the bus and brought me to work with her to feed me kitchen leftovers. I had occasional work, and I was grateful for the $50 a week I had when I had it-some people didn't even have that, so I shared what I had with those who had less.

That's the real trick to avoiding self pity-find someone who needs your help and give what you are able. Find that person who makes less than you do, or doesn't have a home, or is another survivor of something you have gone through and help them in any way you can. You might be surprised to realize that you are not only helping them but you are also healing your own wounds. Also, appreciate what you have. REALLY appreciate it. True you don't have x, y, z that you feel you should but what DO you have? A loving husband? Beautiful children? Wise parents? An iron will and personal strength? A loving God? No one has nothing. Reflect on the good that is in your life, and give of that good to those who have less-then you will find your self pity mysteriously missing and you will be a stronger person for it.

Still, in the end if you can't get over yourself and do something besides whine about how "hard" your life is I really don't want to hear from you. Call me back when you realize that you have the same pants to get glad in.



singedwingangel said...

standing ovation and a bunch of cat calls and rousing applause... I couldn't have said ti better myself

Melissa aka Equidae said...

amen to that

Nicolasa said...

Amen! I agree, I couldn't have said it better myself!

I have something for you on my blog, check it out if you want!

Vodka Logic said...

Wow that is some story. So glad you have come out the other side.
Thanks for the reality check

karen said...

wow, I didn't know you know my MIL!

props to you for setting it straight! SOME PEOPLE like to infer that my life is less valid because I haven't SUFFERED the way they have, so I get your peeve!