Friday, 5 February 2016

have you noticed that life isn't always pretty?

Life isn't always pretty, comfortable or easy - but it's worth it

This week's #FridayReflection is to Reflect upon the meaning of life.

I read this Anthony Bourdain quote that was referring to travel and what hit me fair and square between my midlife eyeballs is that it also describes life in all it's messy glory (so I made a "small" change to the first word). We all want life to be perfect and shiny and we get upset or disappointed when it doesn't go our way, but life has so many other aspects to it that are enriching and grow us as people (even if we aren't too thrilled about it at the time!)

Life deals out all sorts of experiences and not all of them are what we would choose if we had any say in the matter. 

#1 Life hurts us - we get hurt by other people - they disappoint us, betray our trust, let us down, love us less than we love them, and they display all manner of other human frailties. It would be so nice to always be surrounded by perfect people who buffer our way in the world, but life isn't like that. Our family and friends are just normal people who are doing their best and often that best is less than we may have hoped for.

It's up to us to look beyond those short comings and see the intent, the soul, of the person and to recognize that they are just as flawed as we are. I think part of getting older is that we can take on some of the responsibility of being the good person, the kind person, the forgiving person, the person who loves despite being hurt - that's how we learn to lead the way.

#2 Life changes us - and that can be a good or bad thing. There are people who are hurt or who have had really tough lives and they allow that baggage to colour their worldview forever. There are people who are angry or disillusioned or damaged and they always have something or someone to blame for how they've turned out. It becomes who they are and that bitterness eats away at their hearts.

The alternative is to release that baggage and walk away from it. We can choose our attitude and move on from past hurts or upsets. Bad stuff will always happen (to some more than others) and that's life - how we choose to deal with it and how we turn it around into something worthwhile is up to us.

#3 Life is fluid - we bring things to it and we take things from it. As I grow older I can see that what we leave behind is what is really important. Wallowing in self pity or closing our hearts to others leaves us dried up and bitter. Deciding life hasn't been fair to us doesn't change anything - accepting the hand we've been dealt and making the most of it is what counts in the end.

#midlife blog ~ crestingthehill.com.au

We set a strong example when we overcome challenges and accept what life gives us with grace and a smile. Laughter and joy and a good heart are what I want to leave as my legacy. I want people who know me to say "she grabbed life with both hands and made the most of every minute!"

46 comments:

  1. Yes, Leanne! I was returning from an out-of-town deposition yesterday rocking my old country music station when "Life Made Her That Way" came on and really had me reconsidering my belief that we choose, no matter what life deals us, our response/reaction to it. We can choose to be Job or Self-Pity Paula, but is there ever so much that we cannot choose? I look at the homeless guy with the voice....despite all of his troubles when he was re-discovered, he kept a positive outlook. I see people who suffer terrible, unspeakable things who have the courage and presence of mind and spirit to choose joy, or peace, or hope. Great post!

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    1. Thanks Regina - there are certainly a lot of people who have some dreadful stuff to deal with in life, but that stuff happens and how we choose to let it ultimately affect us is what shapes our characters. The people that manage to find positive things in the bad stuff always seem to come out of it with grace and I love that!

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  2. It is important Leanne to look at what we want to leave behind. Sometimes people get so caught up with feeling sorry for themselves that they miss the point completely. Like you, I want people to remember me as someone who never gave up and enjoyed life to the full. Always enjoy your posts #fridayreflections

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    1. I agree Sue - it's a me, me, me world out there but it's the people who invest in others who are remembered both in the present and many years down the track. I want people to smile when they think of me!

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  3. This post reminds me of the Socrates quote that the unexamined life is not worth living. It is so important to evaluate, reevaluate, change course, change attitudes, consider our impact, etc.. Thank you for the poignant reminder xx

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    1. Thanks so much and I love that quote - life is a constant readjustment and if we try to learn and grow and laugh we are so much better off than sitting in a puddle of our own misery.

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  4. Life is indeed fluid and while it's not always easy to accept that, we must let it go.
    Every experience is a present on its own special way.

    Thanks for sharing it, Leanne.

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    1. Hi Debbie - I haven't connected with you for a while :) I completely agree with experiences being a gift - you are a prime example of that and what you can make of your life despite setbacks!

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  5. Right now I'm going through a bit of a crisis due to several deaths in the past few months. I know I am going to change from the experience and I will make sure it is for the better - bitterness has no part in anyone's life. Those who can not deal with life's fluidity will be swept away. I have a lot to be grateful for. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear that Alana - death does tend to come in groups sometimes and hit us even harder because of it. I hope that you find your way through it all and that those who have passed away have left something of themselves behind to make you smile when you think of them in days to come. I'm sure you will change and grow from this just because you know you can :)

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  6. Yes! This really is what it's all about, isn't it? Instead of railing against the fates and making ourselves miserable, we can choose a different path. Thanks for this great reminder.

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    1. Hi Roxanne - much wailing and railing does nothing except drag us down. It's so easy to let ourselves become miserable "poor me" -ers and I refuse to go down that path. There is always that element of choice.

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  7. Yes, overcoming challenges and accepting change is what it is all about it. I like that we can choose to take our life in different directions at different times. Thank you for expressing this idea so beautifully.

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    1. thanks for stopping by Shari - choice is a wonderful option - sometimes we think we are stuck in a situation but there is always the option of viewpoint and how you let it affect you. It can't always be changed, but it can be seen through graciously.

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  8. Everything that goes on is a lesson. I have found that if I look for the lesson, I can more easily let go of whatever it is. Or take advantage of the lesson, whichever best fits the moment.
    Carol
    https://www.carolcassara.com

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    1. I think that is such a healthy way to look at things Carol - if we learn a lesson then it wasn't all for nothing. That's what I tell my brothers when they complain about my father - learn from it and make sure you don't become that same type of person to your children!

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  9. If we don't have some hard times, how will we know when the good times look like and to appreciate them? It's all relative. Have a great weekend Leanne!

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    1. That's true too Mary - I'd love life to be all sunshine and picnics....but there are always the ants and the storms to contend with. When that sunshine returns it is valued all the more. Happy weekend to you too x

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    1. Thanks Tam - it's just something I'd been thinking about for a while now.

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  11. Great post! Every moment is a teaching moment. Some of them hurt more, true. But from those, I simply learn more. I've been acquainted closely with two young men who come from similar backgrounds - broken homes, fatherless upbringing - and each of them have developed so differently! The one is bitter and angry and incapable of maintaining a relationship. The other is the kindest, best of men. It all comes down to attitude. This and this happened. I will choose this and this from it!

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    1. Exactly Diane - to let a miserable childhood dictate that the rest of your life is gong to be horrible too is such a waste. We need to recognize the unfairness, and learn to accept that and move on - your two young men are perfect examples of just that!

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  12. I think I might have been less disappointed in people in my life if I had understood some of this in my earlier years. Life does give you wisdom about people and relationships. As I have experienced more, I come to life with understandings that while I may still hurt, I take it less personally an see it as part of the bigger picture.

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    1. It is definitely something that we learn with time and the getting of wisdom! I'm still a work in progress but I'm learning that it's not always me that is the problem - sometimes people just suck and it's okay to leave them behind and choose different people to invest in.

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  13. I love this post. Letting go of the negativity makes such a difference - even the worst times have a purpose, and help to make us a better person in the end. x #fridayfrivolity

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    1. that's so true Jessica - we don't like the tough times, but they are a fact of life and if we can learn from them and move on then we can grow from them rather than letting them beat us down.

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  14. A positive attitude can make all the difference when trying to enjoy life.

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    1. my sentiments exactly - being negative and bitter just makes your own life worse and people avoid you like the plague!

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  15. Very wise words. There is no point expecting the world to be fair and perfect, because it isn't, but every experience, good and bad, shapes us in some way.

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    1. I think we have some inner mindset that thinks life should be a bed of roses, but reality is often quite different to that and how we handle the bad times determines a big part of our character as life goes on.

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  16. I love every bit of this post. I am going to bookmark it, so I can read it over and over. Such a great lesson that we learn as we get older. Thank you so much for reminding me.

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    1. Thanks so much Diana - it is definitely a lesson we learn as we get older and wiser - letting stuff be what it is and moving on makes for a much more serene life :)

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  17. All so true. An old boss of mine used to say "When is bad news, good news". Sometimes the bad stuff life hands us results in something new and good down the line. Maybe it's more compassion or perspective. We certainly don't escape this life without some hurt. Great reminders for us all.

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    1. We'd all like to think that our lives are going to be pain free Cathy - I'm not sure where we get that idea, but it takes a bit of re-programming to look at it differently and take ownership of the bad stuff if we need to and learn and then move on - things get better as we develop coping skills and learn to laugh at stuff.

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  18. We need a little rain to make a rainbow. Nice thoughts. :)

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    1. that's a lovely way to put it Lux :)

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  19. Your words are my mantras and the only way to get through life. My mother didn't know it, but she was a role model for me in ways she wouldn't have found flattering. Mother liked being the victim. By doing that, she taught me that was not how I wanted to live this one precious life I've been given.

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    1. I keep telling myself that if we don't repeat the mistakes of our parents then their dysfunction wasn't completely awful! I try not to be a bully like my dad or passive aggressive like my mum!

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  20. "Life is fluid", I love what you say here about what we take and what we leave. Beautifully written and what I needed today, tank you my lovely xx #Fridayreflections

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    1. my pleasure Mackenzie and I love #Friday Reflections - they make me think!

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  21. Ahhhh such wise reflections... thank you for sharing with us at #FridayFrivolity! Pinning and tweeting...

    PS A friend texted me the other day saying she had found your site via the link-up and been so inspired by several of your posts... I'm not sure if she commented about that or not, but I definitely wanted to pass it on. *hugs*

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    1. Thanks so much Sarah - please tell your friend that I am so happy she found me - I love sharing with you guys xx

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  22. Leanne, I really, REALLY like this! Love the quote, but especially loved what you had to say about it. There are so many things that happen to us that we cannot control, and sometimes we get bombarded from seemingly every direction and it lasts for years. I do believe there is a time we need to sit back and absorb what is happening to us, even be a little hurt and angry for a bit. It is a part of the healing/learning process. "...for a bit" are the key words here, though. What we do in this life is still our choice, regardless of what we experience. I actually feel guilty writing this because though I've had hard times and heartache, my life has been rather tragedy-free. But I look at so many know personally who have faced similar horrible situations as each other (lost children, lost spouses, battled diseases, abused, etc), and I see how different people have handled different things. Some have chosen never to leave that painful place and it has negatively affected every single aspect of their life. Others have chosen to do something positive with that pain. When/if my "other shoe falls" and I am staring at that huge tragedy, I hope I can walk through it and come out of it a better person.

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    1. That was beautifully said Wendy - I know how you feel about not having experienced a huge personal tragedy, but I think the smaller ones we face show us a glimpse of what we would be like if we got hit by a big one. I hope I'm using the not so great stuff as a catalyst to grow into a stronger and more compassionate person - not one who pulls into themselves and shuts out the world.

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  23. As we go about planning our life, life is about changing our plans. Thanks for sharing your post with us at the Over the Moon Link Party.

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    1. Life never quite turns out like we planned does it Sandy - and I think when we can accept that then we start making the most of each new experience that comes our way.

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