When others speak harsh and rude words, we take note. Do we realize that our words may come across to others as just as harsh and rude? While we endure and move through the years of trauma and chronic illness we have important choices to make. My favorite (and my most difficult) is to see how I can make personal changes that make this a better place for me and those around me to live in. Words matter and boy does it take practice.
There is little about me that has gotten this one right. Sometimes I think I am the most inarticulate person alive who knows everything. What a contradiction!! Everyone else is just stupid and they cannot begin to understand what their actions are doing to others. Hummm, not okay thinking.
Yes, the world is a cold harsh place to live in but when we get swallowed up by it we start to look more like it. That certainly is not what I want for my life. There certainly is no good example in me when the pain of troubles has beaten me to a pulp and it shows in my words.
- If I want to see the good in mankind, it has to start with me, no getting around that one.
- If I want to feel the highs of happiness, I have to explore the stability of current joy.
- If I want to hear others being kind to one another, I have to be kind first.
- If I want to experience the safety of solid boundaries, I have to make them.
All I see is that it comes down to me acting FIRST. I have no control over others words and actions. I do have control over mine.
When I put it like that, it seems daunting because it all falls on me, not others. I am worn to the bone from trauma and chronic illness so I feel like I have already done my share of rising above, just to stay alive. I want others to step up and do their part. Again, I have NO control over others, at all. So, back to my words and actions, not others.
Past and current trauma get in the way of these hefty desires. The trauma and abuse so many of us have endured have altered our lives, no debate.
Chronic illness creates even more obstacles. The physical challenges may create a numbness that sometimes come out in words of dumbness!! I am picking mainly on myself. I am shocked at some of the stupid ridiculous things I have spoken while being deathly ill. I am responsible for all of my words but I also have to give myself a break in the fact that with illness comes mental and emotional challenges.
I can choose to be tired of all the challenges and obstacles that have come from trauma and chronic illness or I can keep making attempts at moving through this. It takes practice, lots of it. It takes acceptance that my mind and body have been beaten into oblivion and it is going to take time to find me again.
There are two sweet people in my life who have shown me patience while I practice and work my way through all of this. Having a girlfriend to be able to just be myself and not feel threatened in any way is healing in itself. I don’t have to worry about messing up, we already know we both will and forgiveness has already been provided. She is such a delight because we usually end up laughing at how ridiculous we can sound sometimes.
I also have a doctor that I have to see every two weeks who has had years of patience for me. He does not begin to understand the desperation of endless years of life-threatening chronic illness but he does understand the depth of a will to live and desire to make a life out of all of this. Every two weeks I can just expect to say something really stupid and in turn receive kindness. Cannot imagine having that kind of patience with me for that long. His wife’s favorite saying is, “we are all just walking each other home.”
These two tender people in my life allow me to practice my words, over and over again. I cannot seem to get it right to save my life but I have the opportunity to try. There are days that the physical obstacles are not as intense and I do better than the days I cannot put sentences together much less think out appropriate wording.
Anyone who has endured trauma and chronic illness experiences that the majority of people do not understand in the slightest. Others not only will not understand the battles, they usually will have no patience while we work our way through winning the war. All they hear are our words. Yuck, so many of my words are not worth hearing.
As I grow through all of this, I am seeing more and more of what my words are doing to others. I can see the expressions on their faces. I am learning the limits of others, regardless of my own.
- Sometimes I receive great distaste for my honesty as to how entirely awful this experience has been. How dare I be honest, that is simply rude and invasive to many.
- Sometimes I receive a perplexing push away because it makes no sense that I have embraced this awful experience that has brought me to a better personal place. Others don’t dare want to be reminded that we can be reduced to ourselves through such an experience.
- Sometimes I just simply do not get my words right and they make so little sense that I see the eyes roll. I certainly cannot blame others for not understanding what I am saying when I cannot put sentences together. From their perspective, sometimes this is a waste of their precious time.
- Sometimes I try to throw out thoughts to help others see past their own noses and it is so far beyond their vision that I am dismissed. Rightly so, no two people can always be on the same page at the same time.
- Sometimes I have to speak up to defend myself and set safe boundaries. That will never be taken well by offenders, it is not in their nature to be told no. Confrontational words with an offender will be met with twisting of those words, by them.
You can see the range of scenarios is endless so there is no 10-step-guide to solving the dilemma of the spoken word. No one is going to get it right all the time. Those of us still walking through the healing phases are less likely to get our words right. The emotional struggles of trauma and the physical obstacles of chronic illness create some of the problem.
This “problem” can be turned into opportunity. That is why I never wish I were anyone but me. It is because of my experiences that I can understand and have compassion for those trying to overcome these obstacles which are just a part of some of our lives. We are not the trauma or the diseases we have, we are human beings having a human experience, life.
Practice And Reduce Words To Love
When we practice respect for ourselves, we can move into respecting others more. All people will say stupid ridiculous things, sometimes even in the form of silence. Accepting that fact will give us permission to keep practicing our own words.
In knowing that I am not going to always get it right, I can give myself the space to keep trying.
There is so much meaning behind the words that we say that others cannot be mind readers. When we reduce all of our words to love, we have a greater chance of choosing the right words. Boy, does that take practice.
- When I love myself enough not to put myself down, my stories of my failures become wisdom not whining.
- When I love others enough to care how my words effect their lives, I can choose my words for their benefit, not mine.
Those two steps seem so simple until we listen and feel the words that come out of our mouths from another perspective. When we are reeling from our own trauma this is a difficult task. Add chronic illness to the situation and it feels like a physical impossibly.
Practice, practice and then practice some more. Simplest way to start, say HELLO to a fellow human being.
I tend to think about it like detoxing. To overcome illness we have to detox in so many ways and do it over and over again and then when we think we have done enough, there is always more to do. This is life and we can choose to accept that we need to practice getting things right and then readjust.
Part of healing from chronic illness and trauma is reflection and personal growth. Personally I think this is the hardest part of healing. Give me a diet to follow or a supplement protocol and I can do that. Tell me I have to change MY attitude when the world has beat ME up, heck no.
As you can see, attitude matters. No matter what others have done to me, I am responsible for MY attitude. No excuses, no “but this” or “but that.” Knowing that my body will not completely heal until I go through this complete transformation is the motivating factor needed for me to continue trying.
Watching my own struggles with this has brought incredible insight into what others must go through as well. We all struggle with our own stuff. We all have stuff. We all have excuses and we all usually see things from only our own perspectives.
Although I would not wish my life experience on another human, I would not trade it in either. It has shown me how terribly I have struggled, therefore having great compassion for others who are battling what feels like the war of life.
My desire is to find pockets of people who are like-minded. They do exist. There is a group of humans who are as fed up as I am and who want to take personal responsibility with the goal of making life more palatable. Maybe even finding some true happiness and peace from the experience. We can do this, it is within our capacity.
What do your words sound like to others? What do your words sound like to the real YOU?
Maribeth Baxter, MBNC (Certified Mind-Body Nourishment Coach)