Hindsight when you are older is brilliant, for it helps one see what they missed the first time around, because of a lack of maturity, the place they were in life at that moment or because of sheer stubbornness - a look back helps to see a different perspective.
"The unexamined life is not worth living."
I have spent the past few weeks reexamining my entire life, from the very beginning to this exact moment in time. I have looked over all the decisions I've made; people I've loved, those who I've lost, and dreams I'd all but forgotten about. I revisited crossroads I've travelled and meandered through the times when I was lost in the shadows. I've remembered some of my most shining moments and plenty of moments when I wish I had done so much better. I have rekindled some memories long forgotten and in doing so, learned a few lessons I missed the first time around. Hindsight when you are older is brilliant, for it helps one see what they missed the first time, because of a lack of maturity, the place they were in life at that moment or because of sheer stubbornness - a look back helps to see a different perspective.
One thing has become very, very clear to me, a stunning realization that has left me shaking my head in frustration with myself. So many of my big life decisions have been reactive instead of proactive. Not only big decisions but situations in life that I let get too far causing me to make emotional decisions rather than a rational well thought out one.
Meaning, I allowed outside influences to force my hand into making a decision on their terms and not my own. Reactive decisions are often made in the heat of the moment, with little to no thought as to how it will affect you or your life. Reactive decisions are when someone uses less than honest means to get you to succumb to their wants and needs, by controlling situations, emotional warfare and manipulations. Reactive means that you are no longer basing a life decision on what you want and on your own terms but rather are reacting emotionally to a situation without thinking about it's consequences. It is being passive with certain people until that moment comes when you can't take it any more. You react. Probably badly. Then, while emotionally charged, you finally do something. However, not taking the time to think it through, weigh the pros and cons or think if it is actually what you wanted or what was best for you.
It is like going out for a walk and seeing dark, menacing looking clouds off in the distance. You grab an umbrella on your way out the door. However, you wait until the sky opens up and a deluge of rain has fallen, soaking you to the core, to open your umbrella. You had the tool to protect yourself, however you waited until the rain forced your hand to make a decision to open that umbrella. Because it was okay for a bit but then the rain crossed a line in your comfort level making you angry. So you react by angrily opening your umbrella. Problem is you were already too wet and the damage had already been done. Had you been proactive about doing what you needed to, what you wanted to, you wouldn't have been in this predicament.
Reactive and Passive.
Living a reactive life is letting someone else, someone with only their best interests at heart, control you. Living a reactive life means you let someone else push you to the point where you are forced to make a decision, probably one you didn't want to make, strictly on their agenda. Instead of getting proactive ahead of time and figuring out what you want to do, then doing it. You wait until your hand are forced and make a decision based solely on the one who you let push you too far. Emotionally charged decisions made on the fly are a recipe for disaster.
Three experiences jump out at me while I think this whole thing through. One, was waiting so long to walk away from my bi-polar mother. Two, dealing with my husband's deranged ex. Three, allowing a co-worker to push my buttons to the point I quit my job.
All three of the above have forced my hand in dealing with situations I would have rather not. All three had their own agendas and because I didn't get proactive with any of them, for one reason or another, I allowed them to escalate to the point I had to react. I have the patience of a saint, which is both good and bad when dealing with these types of situations and people. However, a lesson I learned with the past month's hindsight journey - I'm tired of allowing outside influences dictate any facet of my life. It stops now.
Being passive about any aspect of your life is nothing more than allowing fear to have a strangle hold on your happiness. It says that you are more worried about fallout from standing your ground than you are for fighting for yourself. Being passive means you would just rather let someone go and go until they cross some imaginary line in your world, forcing you to react. It is trying to do what is right for everyone else and sacrificing yourself in the process.
When I look back over the years I see a pattern that needs to be broken. The pattern - Always hoping that things will get better with time, hoping that I won't have to do something drastic to make change happen, always letting things go until "that" moment they've gone too far. Always wanting to avoid the fallout. But, something I have learned over and over again, the only way things will work out and get better - is if I do it on my own terms, in my own time and my own way. You can't change the behavior of others and you can't negotiate with crazy but you can get proactive in the way you handle it.
No more passive resistance. No more waiting for things to work out. No more "reactive" decisions. Identify areas in your life that you have building tension, areas you have been putting-off dealing with and areas that you have been "letting go" of way too long.
Identify - What you want to happen? What you want from your life? What decisions you want to make on YOUR terms? What needs to change once and for all? Who do you need to let go of?
Get those big girl (or boy) panties on!
Take full control of your life.
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