Success vs. Happiness

I have been an educator for over 16 years, and even though I made the decision to not have children, I was a very involved step parent for 13 years, before the divorce. I have always maintained a close relationship with many of my former students and even some of their parents. I love being an involved teacher, going way off and beyond the curriculum to get to know my students…who they are, what their families are like, their interests and goals, how their parents think.

What I have learnt over the past decades is that almost all parents that I have encountered, truly want the very best education and opportunities for their children; they want them to be successful in life and in their careers; they want better for them than they had. I have to assume that if I was a parent, I’d feel the same way. But I am not a parent. So, I have the advantage of seeing it all from the outside. And sometimes what I see isn’t always pretty.

Our education system forces students to choose school subjects at the age of 14. These subjects determine what subjects they can then do at a higher level of secondary education. These choices, of course, affect what they would have the pre-requisites for at university level. Therefore, the choices they make at 14 years old, in essence, dictate their future careers. This entire process is disturbing to me on so many different levels, but seems so normal and to so many other educators and parents. The fact that they find nothing senseless about a teenager making major life choices at that age and stage of development seems almost cruel to me.

To compound this already dire situation, I meet parents and teachers all the time who decide for their children and charges, what career they will pursue. It’s almost always the same answers I get – she wants to do medicine, law, architecture, engineering, actuarial science, leaving me amazed that they all believe that a 14 year old actually knows what these fields entail and actually have a passion for any of them!

In many cases, the subjects that a child loves, aren’t the ones they are encouraged to pursue. In fact, many parents discourage any thought of following a path any less than the careers previously mentioned. In all my years as an educator, I have never had a parent tell me that their child wants to be a business owner, accountant, fashion designer, dancer, athlete, physiotherapist, HR manager…or God forbid, a teacher.

There are the students who hate the science subjects and are not very good at them, if we base it on the marks achieved. Yet their parents insist that they must do the sciences in order to enter a good, high paying profession. I would ask if the children had a say in what they wanted to do, knowing how much they loved and how good they were at art, literature and the social sciences. Parents tell me all the time that it didn’t matter. She is to get a degree in the sciences and change careers later on if she wants. So a particular student that always stood out to me, did as she was told and succeeded at all her science subjects, hating every minute of it. And her parents continued to be oblivious to her self-harming, unhappiness and resentment. But at least she is on her way to an excellent career, if not a happy, healthy life.

These stories are endless over the years of me teaching and they differ in subject areas, families and careers. The constant is always that she must get a good job in order to be successful. In speaking with and more so, in listening to my students overs the years, I have come to understand that their parents have taught them that success has been equated with wealth, and that happiness comes from that genre of success.

What we are doing, essentially, is raising generations of children and students who see success in terms of prestigious jobs and wealth. While not wanting be a hypocrite and undervalue the importance of a good education, a substantial standard of living and a successful life, I wonder why we are not teaching our charges about what happiness should really be. I have not met a parent in many years who has said to me that I want my child to follow whatever path will make him/her happy. Job satisfaction no longer seems to be that feeling of fulfillment you get on an afternoon when you get home, or that excitement you feel on a morning to go to work. Job happiness seems to be determined by the pay cheque received at the end of the month.

So many of these very parents are in jobs that they hate, in which they are underpaid and miserable. Yet, they are seeing no value in preventing THIS outcome for their child. To hear parents of toddlers saying that he is going to become a lawyer seems only psychic to me, rather than ambitious.

I had a conversation with some students recently, and was of course very careful not to present views that were opposing to the ones in which their parents raised them. I explained to them, that I teach Dance and French, my two passions, and there is no greater feeling than to be paid for what I love to do most in this world. Because I am academically qualified in both areas, I am paid the same salary as the teachers who teach the ‘important’ subjects. I told them the truth – I don’t feel Monday blues; I don’t dread the end of a vacation; I love what I do. This is all that I want for them as well.

Now I am not saying that becoming a lawyer or doctor cannot be someone’s passion. I know a doctor who is young and vibrant, thorough and caring. I have never met a doctor who loves what he does more than him. He has transformed his practice into s very dependable, high tech machine that is still surrounded by love and care. His parents should be enormously proud of him, but not for BEING a doctor, but for BEING so happy at his job. That is his true success, whether he realises it or not.

Parents are admirable for wanting what is best for their children. But what is the best for them? Why are we proliferating a life full of success is success is wealth? Why aren’t we encouraging them to be happy in what they do? The money will always come. But to become a professional who loves your job is the true success and will bring true happiness. We were not all made equal or alike and not all of us fit the moulds of the same professions. My former dance teacher always told us that, ‘God is not a Communist, we aren’t all the same.’ This has always resonated with me, regardless of how funny she made it sound.

Parents and educators are no longer tapping into the real strengths and passions of students in order to really help them choose a career path. We are helping them to make loads of money when they are adults. So essentially, we are helping to mould generations of rich, miserable professionals who resent what they do and who made them do it. But at least they can buy nice things.

Why we stay with the wrong men

If you ask someone what it is they love in their partners, most often there is a hesitation before the generic answers start to flow: because I just do; because I love him; because he loves me; you wouldn’t understand; because he’s so nice; because he treats me good. I have given some of these answers in the past. While nothing is wrong with any of them, their lack of depth reflects a lack of knowledge of the real answer. The answer is so often that we do not know why we love someone. In some cases, when forced to dig even deeper, and believe me when I say I’ve been there, you realise you really don’t love them at all.

Women are especially guilty of reflecting on to men, the qualities that they are looking for in a partner. I have even witnessed women making their partners sound like other people’s husbands. We do this for so many reasons and we often end up with the most wrong people in our lives, as a result of it. I am by no means a psychologist, but I’ve been a woman all my life, unlike Caitlin, and I have and had lots of friends and cousins and acquaintances who have been put through the wringer because of being with or staying with the wrong man.

So before writing this blog entry, I started asking myself if it is that we dated, married, loved and hated the wrong men, or if we just chose to stay in a wrong relationship. I realised some years ago that women love to blame men for not providing us with a good relationship, one in which they are supposed to make us happy. We tend to forget that men are entitled to have their own personalities, traits and tendencies that do not need to be fixed, changed or compromised to suit our immediate needs. If this role was reversed we would not find that we are selfish, demanding or unreasonable. However, when men can’t ‘provide’ exactly the perfect image that we created n our minds of how and what she should be at all times, it is his fault.

We love to stay in relationships that make us unhappy and feel unfulfilled and we love to, in turn, complain about it…to our friends, our family, our co-workers, anyone really, who was willing to agree with us that the problem is the man. I was as guilty of this as anyone else. So, after my divorce, and couple mistakes, I started to reflect on why we stay in the wrong relationships.

Insecurity
This is one of the most real and least admitted reason why we stay with someone who does not add value to our lives and who does not contribute to our well-being. We always believe that we can’t do better, that he already ‘loves’ me with all of MY faults and we must let that count for something, everything even. Women have been programmed by society, our parents, and our peers to believe that we are not whole unless we are in a relationship. Single women are not revered for their independence, discerning choices or their happiness. We have all looked at our single friends and felt sorry for them and wished that they found someone who would just love them. That same foolish pity with which we are so content to see in our single sisters, is the very source of the insecurity that makes us stay in a bad relationship. After all, it’s better to be with someone who treats me okay, than to be alone.

Age
This one is a killer as well. God forbid, we approach 30 and either be single, in a relationship that is not on the road to marriage or engagement, childless. So when at 32 you find yourself dating the same fool for a year, and he isn’t fulfilling all your needs, you make the decision – Men aren’t perfect, and at my age what else is there out there for me; it is best I stay and try to make this work, rather than starting all over again in a year; maybe he will change his mind; maybe I’ll get pregnant for him. The biological clock ticks at ear-shattering volumes in our thirties and deafens and blinds us into staying in the wrong relationship. Insecurity then slips in, as well, and together with age, we suddenly convince ourselves that no one else will want us as we get older.

Investment
This is more of a double-edged sword. On one hand we say that we have stayed for so long, and although he hasn’t committed to marriage or even cohabitation, so much time has already been invested. We love to see things through. We use this as the excuse not to leave an unhappy union that we know, deep down inside, is going nowhere, slowly and painfully. But we stay, because we have invested. On the other hand, we stay because of investment because we can’t stand the thought of someone else coming along and benefitting from all the work we have done on him. How dare another woman reap the rewards of what we were working so hard to achieve and so easily just take our investment? So this dangerous sword really does cut both ways and once it is even a reason for staying in a poor quality relationship, it will hurt either way.

Change
By nature, women are nurturers. We always believe that we can nurture the wrong man into the right one. So we stay and try to instil change. We do it through our love, our care, our encouragement and support. When that doesn’t work, we have to get serious about what we want, so we prod a bit harder. It even reaches the point of nagging and giving ultimatums, threatening and entrapment. We prefer to run ourselves ragged, lose all semblance of dignity and of course, throw our pride aside, all in the name of love. So we stay and try to instil change. We refuse to understand that people change when and if they want to. It is not something that can ever be forced. But we are still willing to stay and try to instil change, because who would want us at this age, and he already loves me as I am, and I’ve invested so much time in him. The least he can do is change.

 

Making the decision to end a relationship is an enormous one, for all the reason list and so many more. Starting over at any age is daunting, even more so as we get older. Staying in an unhealthy, unfulfilled relationship in which the good that exists is the good that we created in our minds, is even more detrimental to our well-being.

If he hasn’t committed after a certain amount of years, he probably won’t. What even worse than that is him committing because he succumb to the pressure and ultimatums and entrapment. If that happens, resentment down the road is not just inevitable, but assured.

Marriage is not and should no longer be the end goal for women. We have too much more of ourselves to offer than to indulge in the undignified behaviour of expecting or forcing marriage. We don’t even consider that the success of a relationship lies in its healthiness, not in its legality. If our relationships are healthy, fulfilling, supportive and we couldn’t ask for more, then we shouldn’t. Marriage isn’t for everyone and that is perfectly fine. Marriage is no longer a legal bind. Marriage is a decision two people make together, to commit, to build a life, to raise a family and to be happy. A legal document can never provide any of those things, if they didn’t exist before. If you are hypo-religious and believe with all your spiritual soul that marriage is essential to a serious relationship, you should also ensure that fornication was not part of your journey, because then you are just a big ole hypocrite.

The bottom line is that women do not want to see the warning signs. We deliberately ignore all that they telling us by their words and actions. If you met him saying he just wants to keep it light and have fun, understand and accept what you are getting into. If he doesn’t have time for you, it’s because he doesn’t want to make time for you. If he doesn’t take you out regularly, it’s because you are NOT his girlfriend and he doesn’t really care for you to be.

The longer you stay in the wrong relationship with the person who is wrong for you, is the longer it takes to regain your dignity and open the pathway for the right people to enter your life. The right choices are hardly ever the easy choices.

WTF moments are not AHA moments

Oprah calls them ‘Aha’ moments – those moments when you experience sudden insight or discovery. Psychologists describe them as ‘sudden comprehension that solves a problem, reinterprets a situation, explains a joke, or resolves an ambiguous perception’. It is also known as ‘The Eureka Effect’ which refers to the ‘common human experience of suddenly understanding a previously incomprehensible problem or concept’.

We have all had them. Our ‘Aha’ moments all differ based on our lives, acquaintances, experiences, personalities. Recently, however, the moments that I have been experiencing, were much less sugar-coated and much more along the lines of, ‘WTF’ moments – moments that made me question myself on so many levels; moments that made me wonder if I was in the twilight zone; moments that made me wonder if the people involved were of the same planet as me.

 

1. I have a WTF moment every time a parent says to me with a straight and serious face, that their child is still very sheltered, innocent and shy. They even go on to explain that they are lacking in self-esteem but are so happy to be working on those problems. I slip into a WTF moment when I get déjà vu visions of the same children practically attached by the lips to their boyfriends/girlfriends in public, away from the same parents. I realised just how deluded some parents are about their children and how very much they are NOT amenable to an insight into the truth. Parents, please have a relatively realistic knowledge of your offspring. While you all hope for perfection and even assume that your children are, being created in the eyes of God and love and your spouse and all that good stuff, the reality is that you gave them life, but you do not control who they become. Be very careful how you boast about them. They tend to bring you embarrassment, not because anything is wrong with them, but because your perception of them is warped into a false sense of the actual truth. Children are NOT perfect. They were never meant to be. They were meant to human.

 

2. I had a huge WTF moment when I realised just how very dangerous power can be. If not filtered properly, one’s professional position begins to make them believe with all that is inside them, that they are better than others; that they are more powerful than others. It can blind the weak in mind from their actual reality and these delusions of grandeur make them forget time and place and behave petty over the most trivial of matters. Supervisors, Middle management, Managers, Directors should really try not lose their sense of self, their send of humanity, empathy and compassion. It should at least not be replaced with arrogance or haughtiness, because by doing so, they create a work environment that breeds power struggles, dishonesty and unhappiness. My WTF moment blew me away. I realised, in a sudden jolt, exactly how much some people need to feel important over others, without actually being able to understand the phenomenon. My WTF moment of being reprimanded over the triviality of where I park, made me wonder about people’s home lives. I truly believe that when people are happy at home and live in equality and harmony with their partners, they feel no need to exert aggression and control over those with whom they work. In fact, when one’s home life is fulfilled, they see the workplace as somewhere that people all work together as one team on one level, working towards one goal. Like they say, Power in the hands of stupid people, can be dangerous – Hitler proved it.

 

3. I still believe that ‘time’ changes us, whether we accept it or not, whether we realise it or not, or whether we want it or not. However, I recently realised that some people need a whole lot more time to change into someone better, stronger, softer and kinder. Until then, they remain the same old bitter souls that they always were. I feel that if someone approaches you kindly about a matter, there is no need to gloat, or laugh, or be mean. Reproach is a way of trying to instill indignity into others, by use of your own over-indulged pride. While being reproachful may bring someone that pleasure of ‘sticking it’ to someone else, all it really does is remind others of who you really are – someone who is vengeful and unforgiving, tactless and lacking in grace. So when I had the WTF moment of being reproached recently, I felt hurt for an instant, confused about its necessity, in disbelief about its lack of value. Then I realised that the problem wasn’t mine.

 

4. I realise that many people do not like to see others happy or successful and will find every single ridiculous reason that they can, to dirty their waters. It comes from a place of dire insecurity, whether personal or professional or both, and it skews their vision of all that is true and fair. This is something that happens regularly in the workplace, as well as in families. This has caused to me to have many WTF moments. These moments occur every time someone says that I married younger than me because of desperation, or when they ask a question about my life and I answer them honestly, then they say I boast. Or if I succeed at some silly, trivial thing, and people them criticise me before I even start the task. These things evoke a very loud WTF in my mind, but then I remind myself that happy people don’t condemn and confident women do not hate.

 

5. I have always known that family isn’t always about blood. It’s about the amazing people we meet and who enter our lives, bringing joy, and generosity and love with them into it. Sometimes your blood can be the some of the most discriminating people, your hardest critics and the most callous gossipers that exist. Blood family can find it so easy to turn their backs on you for reasons that often escape my capabilities of understanding, while other family members are so giving of their love, care, support, inclusion, encouragement. My WTF moment happened some years ago when I realised the extent to which I did not fit the mold of what was expected of me, but instead of communicating with me, I was banished from the kingdom of the obviously more-righteous than me. Another WTF moment occurred recently when I realised that not only was I not needed, but I was not wanted. These moments hurt like hell. But at the end of the day, people show you how they feel about you by the way in which they treat you, the ways in which they include or exclude you from their lives and their loved ones and by the ways in which they speak about you behind your back, especially when they believe you never found out what was said. But that’s okay, everyone has their own journey to follow, and I will never get in the way of anyone following theirs.

 

 

6. The best WTF moment I have ever had, was when I looked at my husband the day we got married. It was a whirlwind moment, of seeing where we came from and from what we came through, to where we were at that moment. All I could have thought was WTF did I ever do in my life to deserve you.

Social Graces at their worst

According to the gospel of the internet, Wikipedia, social graces is defined as ‘’skills used to interact politely in social situations. They include manners, etiquette (the specific accepted rules within a culture for the application of universal manners), deportment, fashion and refinement (also known as sophistication)’’.

Social graces are an extreme pet-peeve for me. I think it is because society has become so self-centered and individual-driven, that people no longer feel the need to think about anyone or anything beyond themselves. Social graces are glaringly lacking in today’s adults, leaving little hope for what can be taught to the upcoming generations.

All that follow are my experiences with a lack of certain social graces in various circumstances, with my socially ungraceful take on those found guilty.

 

1. The Cell-Phone Lovers

These people feel the need to be on a call at all times, I suspect, in order to feel a sense of importance. Their lives, jobs and circumstances are always more important than anyone around them and they cannot, for the love of God above, get off their phones to conduct the matter at hand; whether they are at a bank, doctor’s office, cashier, or in front of me at Parents’ Day. A parent was on his call from the time he sat in front of me and rudely gestured to me to start the conference with his wife and daughter while he was doing something that was obviously more important. Needless to say, I greeted the mother and told her that we would wait until he was finished his important call before we discuss his child’s academic performance in my class. Cell-Phone lovers do not care about you. They are rude and disrespectful, ill-bred and devoid of class.

 

2. ‘Good Morning’ haters

While we are not and cannot all be morning people, once we brush our teeth, shower, dress and leave our houses, it’s time to shake it off! Nothing irks me more than when adults walk into an office, bank etc., and sit there without a general greeting to all there. Equally disgusting to me, is when I walk into an establishment and greet everyone generally, and no-one responds. At that point, I usually continue with, ‘’or not’’. When adults are so ill-mannered, whatever are we to expect from their children? Too many times our staff room door would be knocked on and as we answer, a students is there, eager to ask for who she needs to see. No greeting. No apology for disturbance. Nothing. My solution is always the same and quite simple. I tell them that since they left their manners at home, they should probably return and get them, and when that’s done they can come back and ask for whom they need to see. These types of children are raised to feel entitled; entitled to no manners. They are usually raised by entitled adults who feel themselves better than other in the first place.

 

3. Men who hate to open doors…for anyone!

This breed of jackass is so prevalent everywhere. They don’t just lack chivalry towards women; they lack basic manner towards humanity. Dude, opening the door for me does NOT mean I want you, or that I will want you…ever. It means that you weren’t raised by a hooligan mother. I have seen men NOT open the door for me, as they glance across at their significant other, knowing it’ll be hell to pay if he did open it. Ladies, if you are one of these women, please ask yourself why you would want to be with a man who won’t open the door for someone else. Does it means he loves you less? If your answer is yes, then seek some help…psychological and social. If my man didn’t open the door for a woman, I swear, he would never hear the end of it. I’d hate to be with a man like that, as much as I hate men like that. I was walking into a pharmacy some years ago and a coupe walked in before me. He held the door open for his…whoever she was, and was about to keep it open for me. I was a few strides behind. Just enough time for her to look at him with daggers. He let the door go. I opened the damn door myself (not that there was a choice at that point), walked in behind them and said, ‘’Thanks! You are such a gentleman!’’
Now this door-hater can also be women. I think women believe that they do not need to be chivalrous because they have vaginal immunity. Ladies, really. When you let the door go behind you in someone’s face, you are simply lacking in poise, grace and class. You are a hog in mud!

 

4. They see you fall…literally

Boy, have I had some experience with these twits. They transcend all gender and age. They are a special breed of crass. They would see you trip, drop something, get your clothes caught in a door, or fall down and would glance at you and continue along their path of righteousness. You are in public people! Interacting with other human beings, not wild animals that if were in a mall, should actually be avoided at all costs! Were you seriously raised by wolves? Or in a barn? Or fed pellets as a child? Shopping in the mall one day, I had many packages in my hands and for those who know me well, that is not uncommon or difficult for me to accomplish. However, that day ne bag was slipping out of my grip and as I tried to regain bag-control, they all slid to the ground. This imbecile walking behind me, watched me struggle to get all the bags back in my grip…from the ground, and watched me as he walked around me to get on his way! I got up the same time and said to him, ‘’don’t mind me! I’m fine, thanks for helping…ass!’’
Then there was the less amusing time that I was trying to get into my car when I slipped off the pavement and was dangling in the drain outside my house, while holding on for dear life, or at least dear shame, while my neighbour opposite simply looked at me. Apparently, I was the daily soap opera! I ungracefully, and with extreme difficulty from the pain caused by the skin scraping off my leg, climbed back on to the pavement. He didn’t even ask me if I was ok! You are 90 years old (or look like it), with daughters and granddaughters! Have you no upbringing whatsoever?? Death stare to you, forever.

 

5. Get your a$$ off the seat!

You are in a bank, office, bus, agency…doesn’t really matter. You are in a public place with provided seating. The men and even the women who sit their asses down with no signs of mobility, even when an elderly person, pregnant woman, woman walks in! Oh sweet baby Jesus, the patience that I am forced to muster when I witness such social disgrace! Selfish people who are self-centered behind closed doors, is no concern of mine. But to be so lacking in etiquette and basic courtesy is as unbecoming as a human being can get. While I have no examples of this happening to me, I have witnessed it too many times to count. I don’t know if it is culturally rooted or just rooted in the grossly ill-bred among us.

 

6. You put on weight?

Help me, oh Father, for I will sin, the next time someone tells me that! I cannot understand the pleasure that one gets from saying that to another person. Furthermore, is there a particular point you are trying to make, that you feel they will remain ignorantly unaware of, if you don’t ask that question? And exactly what answer would please you? Yes? And then what? Or no? And then what? Women, and the more oestrogen-friendly men, are particularly guilty of this social blunder. Maybe women FEEL skinnier when they point out weight gain to others. Then there are those who haven’t seen you in 20+ years and ask it. Yes, I have put on weight since you saw me last….at 21…20 years ago….fool. I believe that lacking this particular social grace is quite hurtful to others. You don’t know what their struggles and insecurities are and why it’s so. For me, it is quite difficult to hear. First of all, I have had chemically induced weight gain, from medication and resultant hormonal imbalances; weight gain from steroids that I NEEDED for asthma. In addition, for anyone under 40 years of age, you should really consider shutting the front door! You have no clue how hard it is to lose weight after a certain age. I don’t eat white flour at three meals a day or gorge myself on pasta, fried foods or desserts. I train hard, almost everyday, but it’s hard after 40. And it’s depressing. In addition, I have and always had inherently broad shoulders, which is not common in women, so I am automatically considered, big…or strong…or fat. I don’t have a big ole belly! But who cares! All we see is shoulders! I have never in my life told anyone that I found that they had put on weight…never. It adds no value to my life, their life, our relationship or our conversation. It would simply shine my lack of grace everywhere. And grace is essential to us dancers.

 

7. I’m not hungry right now, can you pack it?

I was married to this breed of poor carriage so my experience in cringing is endless. If you are invited to someone’s home for a meal, then you go and you eat. It is a very simple concept to understand and execute. You knew in advance what the evening’s plan was, so there is no reason to go to eat somewhere, with a full stomach. To compound the lack of social sophistication, you tell the host to pack it for you because you are not hungry and prefer to take it away. Is this Mc Donald’s? The lack of culture makes my blood crawl. By all means, if the host asks you to please take some home, that’s a different story altogether! But at least allow them to insist before saying yes. It is simply inelegant to go to someone’s home for a meal with a pre-conceived plan to pack and carry!

 

8. The children of the socially ungraceful

Parents please! I understand that it must be hard for you to raise children with decorum if you have none of your own, but please, do some reading, take a class, do something. But don’t send or bring your children in public if they lack a certain level of behaviour! Supermarkets and restaurants see the worst of this. The child who cries incessantly, shouts at the top of their voices, bags the cutlery, wants everything in sight. I have so often been reminded that I am not a parent, because clearly I didn’t get the memo that I am without child, but I still accept that children will be children to a certain point. Anything beyond that point becomes parents being irresponsible, inconsiderate and impolite. Teach your children to cover their mouths when they sneeze and cough in public because we don’t want their germs. It is quite straightforward. Teach them to greet people in a becoming manner, whether at home or in public. Not doing so reflects your haughtiness, not just theirs. Show them the value of thanking people for gifts, rather than raising entitled brats, that you the have the audacity to send off into the world. Please have them stfu when adults are speaking and understand that adult conversations do not invite their input. While I understand that children will take time to learn social graces, it doesn’t mean that it must be short changed. Do the work, do it consistently. Raise well-bred young men and young ladies who will be able to shine and share their social etiquette wherever they go. After all, a child’s manners, or lack thereof, is a reflection of their parents.

 

9. The Doctors

This is a special one that unnerves me. Your momma didn’t name you ‘Dr.’ so don’t be introducing yourself as ‘Dr anything’ in a social setting! You are at a party, house warming, club, dinner….news flash! Nobody cares if you are a Doctor! You are just you…if you even know who that is! By all means be proud of your title…when you are at work or a professional function. My granny, at my grandfather’s one year memorial, introduced me to someone as ‘Dr. Whateverhisnamewas’. So I asked him his name. Granny repeated herself and his title. So I asked him if his mummy named him ‘Dr.’. Granny said I was being rude so I re-introduced myself to him. I said, ‘Hello, my name is Teacher MyLastName.’ Doctors and their God complexes are as unattractive to me as crying babies. I think it irritates me even more since, years ago, my friend, who is a Doctor, was coming over to my home. As he walked in and I was about to introduce him to everyone, he whispered to me, ‘Please don’t say Doctor, Barry is fine, please V.’ That’s when I realised that being a socially ungraceful Doctor was a choice of arrogance and feeling of being better than your social acquaintances, not a phenomenon inherent to the profession. Furthermore, being a Doctor in a social setting, only impresses the unaccomplished and ailing among us.

 

10. When are you getting married/having a baby.

The sheer unfairness of this question to single women of any age is just heart wrenching. This is another hurtful display of social misgivings. You simple do not emphasise someone’s ‘singleness’ if they don’t do it themselves. You don’t know how they feel about it or if it a result of choice of circumstance! It can make people feel inadequate when it is really you lack of upbringing that is. Similarly, the baby questions is just as horrific. Do you know their medical history of possible infertility or miscarriage? If not them please invite yourself to silence. Not everyone wants or needs to get married or have children. Those social expectations are becoming increasingly archaic with the onset of the educated in today’s world. Neither one leads to the path of happiness for everyone, and frankly it is really absolutely none of your business. Know your place in life – in need of some social training.

Do unto others…

Almost every religion teaches that we should treat others the way we would like to be treated, with slight nuances in the wording. We all know the difference between right and wrong, and for the most part, we all understand feelings of compassion, empathy, sympathy and regret.

‘Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you’ is a lesson that I have been guilty of not following on more than one occasion, and for many justified reasons – reasons that I have chosen to justify.
It is always so easy to post on social media about our accomplishments, good deeds and intentions. It is far harder to post about all the ways we went wrong, did wrong and, made situations worse and all the ways we were hurtful to others.

When we feel that we have been trespassed against, reactionary hate seems acceptable at the time. Sometimes that hate takes various forms – calls, texts, gossip, lies, social media rants, and really the list goes on. But is it really ok? We all understand and accept that two wrongs don’t make a right, until we feel the pain of betrayal, wrongdoing, accusations, and malicious rumours. Then somehow, that rule no longer applies to us.
There are some transgressions that are harder to move pass than others.

For example, where I have tried to forgive my ex-husband for all that I felt he had done, understanding that it takes two to make a marriage work, I will still have no desire for a friendship with him, or a conversation for that matter. His transgressions were consistently repeated, deliberate and well calculated for over a decade, and sadly continues years after our precious divorce.

But there are other types of hurt that are less intentional because the truth is…life is messy. Nothing is perfect. None of us are perfect. We make mistakes. And most of all, in retrospect, we could ALWAYS have handled things better than we did. Whether we actually care to admit it or not, it’s still true. Sometimes people hurt you, and don’t intend to. Sometimes they know that their actions might, but they proceed and hope for the best.

Forgiveness, however, does not mean amnesia. We do not and should not forget what was done to us, especially when it was repetitious and deliberate. Likewise, talking about it, writing about it and sharing it, does not mean that we are not over it or that we have not forgiven. People share, or don’t, for different reasons. My reasons for sharing have been expressed in another post.

Sharing our experiences is one of the only ways that we can help others, so that they understand and believe that they are not alone in their trials. It give them hope that this too shall pass. Sharing our experiences, good and bad ones, isn’t brave but it is a choice; a choice that should not be made lightly. Sharing ourselves is a big step in teaching and in learning and in reflecting. Sharing also holds you accountable to all that you say and do, thereafter.

Bad things happen to good people and to bad people. Bad things can also happen for good reasons. Things may never be the same afterwards, and that’s ok. But at least, we are finally mature enough to do what needs to be done…accept, understand, forgive.

There is a freedom in forgiveness and a peace in leaving anger behind that cannot be compared to any other form of happiness….except maybe in shopping.