When I was fifteen years old, one of my friends decided to hate me. I had known her since Kindergarten and we had been close. I’d spent so much time at her house that her family was an extension of my own. Including her pudgy Golden Retriever, Candy-girl, who shared a mutual adoration with me.
Kids can be fickle when it comes to friendship. I’d experienced my fair share of “friends with conditions”, but not within this relationship. She was special. I loved her and I had thought she loved me back. When her friendship turned into hostility, it shocked me to my foundations.
More than that, though, I was hurt beyond measure. My world suddenly blackened with an indescribable pain because not only had she turned against me; she was also in a position of power to influence all of my other friends in joining her on the “Hate Kim” bandwagon.
None of them knew why I was suddenly branded an outcast — there was no reason behind her animosity. Yet, they all fell into place like puppets on a string. One former friend was even commissioned by their “leader” to physically attack me. I was never one of those tough girls that went around looking for a fight.
Neither was my opponent.
She went ahead and did it anyway. She hit me and I hit her back. It wasn’t long before we were surrounded by a horde of hollering teenagers as we attempted to … god knows what because neither of us could actually fight.
When a teacher came along to break it up, I remember one of the “tough” girls sniggering the obvious as we were carted off to the Principal’s office.
“You guys can’t fight for shit.”
Yeah. No shit, Sherlock.
Cue Michael Jackson: I think I told you, I’m a lover not a fighter.
Kylie and I were stuffed into the same waiting room outside the Principal’s office and promptly left alone. We looked at each other. I took in her busted lip and noted the aches reverberating around my own body. I was shaken and upset, and knew that I ought to be feeling angry and outraged for the disgusting treatment handed to me by my peers.
Yet, I couldn’t. All I saw was the expression in her eyes as they teared up and she said sorry.
There is power in that word. When expressed sincerely, a simple apology is all it takes to begin the path toward healing. Yet, an apology is easily negated if left unreceived.
The act of forgiveness is where true power lies.
It wasn’t even a choice. I had forgiven her the moment she had caused me pain because I knew she acted out of fear and not malicious intent. A weight had lifted. We hugged before proceeding into the Principal’s lair to receive our punishment.
“The drama of life is a psychological one in which all the conditions, circumstances and events of your life are brought to pass by your assumptions.”
In other words, your life path is determined by the feelings you assume. Focus on negative feelings like jealousy, hate and resentment, then you will discover your reality tainted by situations that evoke more of those feelings.
Steer your thoughts and focus toward the positive aspects of life and these feelings and experiences will become the dominant theme in your world.
Pay close attention to those folks that fill in endless hours switching between the latest news channels. I’m willing to bet that they are among the biggest complainers in your life.
Each time you choose to watch a show, a movie or listen to a broadcast, you are making the choice to allow the essence of that broadcast into your personal energy field — you’re effectively inviting the substance of that transmission into your life; which in turn evokes a deep reaction.
A feeling is assumed.
Keep watching or listening to something or someone who brings you down, that’s where you’ll find yourself. In a bottomless pit of self-repugnance and unrealized dreams.
The same holds true of people and the way we choose to treat one another.
I could have easily chosen to hold a grudge against Kylie for attacking me. In fact, most girls that age would have done just that. But gathering grudges and lashing out does nothing but wither your soul and hinder self-growth.
Deep down, you know this; each time you mistreat, disrespect or devalue another human being, there exists a tiny ping in the pit your gut that you might try to ignore — guilt. You cannot escape it. No matter how deep you bury it.
Don’t make amends, it’ll eventually catch up to you one way or another. It always does. Life is designed this way — what you dish out is what you get back. In this life or the next…
As my mother likes to say: It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.
It’s never really over by the way. Nor is that my mother’s quote, but I think you knew that.
People are always going to “broadcast” their message to influence your life or decisions in some way. Unfortunately, a lot of the time those people have their own interests and agendas at heart. Even when we think they are a friend.
Empathy is a resource that most of us are unwilling to invest for too many people. Sure, we’re good at shooting off at the mouth about it. Putting it into practice is another matter altogether. It takes time and effort to understand how and why others feel the way they do. Even when motivated, doing so isn’t always easy.
Without empathy, our relationships cease to exist. At least on any level worth experiencing. Yet, in those quiet moments when you’re alone and the truth is staring you in the face, no amount of empathy or understanding from others can fill the void in your heart left by the choices you make.
The fact is, we were not born into this life to acquiesce to others. We came here to create our most fulfilling life; to make authentic connections, learn how to express love and value those that imprint upon our lives and souls along the way.
We came here to find freedom, joy and light in a condition of human struggle. We came to sift through it all to arrive at the place where we realize who we really are.
So, who are you?
It all begins by mastering our assumptions, how we treat others and how we choose to move through our ever-changing world. The way you see the world is how you will experience the world.
Love or fear?
That’s the basic principle governing everything we encounter. It is love or fear that we choose to allow into our inner-worlds and will influence our life-energy, desires and outcomes.
No one can choose for you. Nobody knows what or who is best for you except you.
Friends, acquaintances and family — they all have their own unique paths and they don’t own your soul. Neither do our responsibilities for that matter. We can honor these people and afflictions where necessary without becoming shackled to them.
Freedom is our birthright — it’s a state of mind.
Your thoughts and assumptions make the world as you know it to be true. Choose them wisely, or others will choose for you.
That is when you lose — when you sacrifice your happiness for others and end up without the dream.
As a fifteen-year-old, I had spent months attending school in a private hell. It doesn’t sound a like a big crisis, but it looked very different back then. School and friends are a teenager’s life. I was stripped of friendship, loyalty and bonding. I had cried myself to sleep each and every night.
The evening following the fight with Kylie my phone rang. It was her — the one who had turned my life black. I answered to hear her sobbing uncontrollably.
“I’m calling to say sorry — I’m so sorry, Kim.”
Long pause, then:
It takes strength and character to say sorry. It takes a whole lot of heart and empathy to forgive. I may not be a fighter in the physical sense, but when the love is real and reciprocated authentically, I’ll fight for love every time.
To this day, that friend remains one of the only two school friends I have kept in touch with, and she was worth the pain.