Some of you may have noticed that I took an unannounced, unpredicted break from blogging and, actually, from writing. I hadn’t planned on taking a break; it just happened. One week I was “too busy” to write. The next week, I was “too angry” to write. The following week… Well you get my point. Somehow, along the way, writing dropped down on my list of priorities. Consequently, I suppose I dropped down on my list of priorities too.
Over the past few weeks I have allowed the burden of many things to directly or indirectly affect my life. The decisions of others beyond my control, the treatment of my loved ones, even my own personal issues with ‘fairness’ have been given permission to stand in the way of my priority list. The daily grind, putting one foot in front of the other, and the belief that ‘existing’ is enough has somehow trumped what I love and enjoy doing.
How many times do we allow this type of thing to happen? How often have we found ourselves in situations where we allow others to monopolize (control) our time, behaviours, and intentions by their opinions, words, and actions? Far too often, in my opinion.
Recently I decided to take a step back and really look at and listen to what was going on around me. I call this making the decision to “Walk softly and carry a big stick”.
Taking the time to observe the actions, behaviours, and body language of others can tell you a lot about situations and can also help to create a more accurate depiction in your own mind of what is going on. Listening, I mean really listening, hearing what is being said, as well as what is not being said, is also extremely helpful in acutely evaluating what is going on around us.
That’s the part of walking softly, which is sometimes the hardest for me. I’m a good listener, I’ve always believed, but recently I have learned to really listen to what is actually being said, not what I am hoping or wanting to hear. I’ve learned to stay quiet in order to do this.
The second part of my decision is to carry a big stick. I think it goes without saying that I have not literally been walking around with a big stick in my hands, but non-literally I have. You see, I have decided to arm myself with words that adequately and accurately express how I am feeling. I have decided to use those words to respectfully make it clear to others when I disagree with them or feel the need to stand up for myself or my loved ones. I have also thought of the idea of carrying a big stick as being in control of my own actions and responses to the issues around me. Carrying that big stick allows me to feel like I am the one in direct control of what is going on and not what is happening to me.
I have to admit that walking softly and carrying a big stick has created more of a sense of calm and peace in my life. I have felt less angry and less volatile towards the injustices and issues of ‘unfairness’ that I observe around me. Instead, I am able to understand more clearly why and where they come from. I have learned to carefully listen to others and I have realized that I am not alone in many of my concerns and feelings. I know it’s not just my own insecurities, uncertainties, or feelings of inadequacy that are pricked by certain behaviours and actions that I see around me. There is some comfort in knowing that others feel or have felt the same way.
Walking softly and carrying a big stick has also helped me to realize what, and even who, is important to my life and essential to my well-being. Taking on this philosophy has allowed me to realize that perhaps not everyone likes me, but perhaps not everyone matters either.
I have also learned that how others feel is often beyond my control, people will form their own opinions and judgments regardless of the truth, and an acceptance that we are all far from perfect is essential to getting along with others. These are all truths which have come to light, almost like moments of epiphany, during my weeks of blogging/writing hiatus.
So, if there has been something good which has come from my unexpected virtual absence, it is that I have reemerged with a new perspective, a new and more positive frame of mind, and a new lease on what matters most on my priority list.