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Wishes and Peace

Posted Apr 09 2009 7:14pm

To Wish:  To long for, yearn for, want or desire
Peace: Freedom of the mind from annoyance, disturbance, anxiety or obsession

    Which sounds worse - to be left wishing you did, or wishing you didn't?  Both sound stressful and disappointing to me, yet so often I find myself in that state.  When I think about how I got to be in that condition, I come up with one basic answer...I didn't think something through and I didn't consider the outcome of an action or lack of action.  Maybe that's two basic answers, but who's counting. 
    Let's look at wishing you did something.  Often we won't even raise our hand in a group to ask a question for fear of looking foolish.  Why?  Who is to decide we are foolish anyway?  If your mind wonders about something, or thinks it has the answer, then at least you know something is moving and shaking up there.  It is not foolish to express an idea.  I was at a continuing education course recently and the speaker asked a question.  His question prompted a thought in my brain and I raised my hand and gave him my answer.  For the next five minutes he grilled me, but he didn't examine my answer for validity, he just kept expanding his question into areas that had nothing to do with the original question or answer.  He got into a situation in which he was bombarding me with questions I couldn't answer.  When I said that, he kept hammering until the room was silent and the atmosphere awkward.  Once he finally gave it up, not a hand went up nor a voice was raised to answer many of his following questions.  So, who was the fool?  He put a damper on his own presentation. It was a full day presentation and this happened in the first 30 minutes.  Ouch...for him.  Did I have any other thoughts during the day?  Of course I did, you know me by now.  Did I express them? You bet I did, his problem isn't my problem.  I'm rarely left wishing I'd said more.  I do look back and wish I'd said less every now and then.  It makes me realize that I need to consider the impact of what I say.  When I hurt someone I care about it hurts me, too.  Long after they may say they're over it, I still suffer.  I suffer because I know that it made an imprint on their mind about me.  Just a little wariness that wasn't there before, but a protective little memory of my ability to hurt them.  So I wish I was less sure I was right when I'm wrong.  Even when I'm right, I wish I had a better insight into how to express it in a way that allows someone to discover it for themself rather than feeling beat over the head with it.  I wish I had the grace to accept that they might not agree and just live with it.
    How about wishing you didn't do or say something?  It makes me squirm just thinking about it.  Oh, if I could only take back all the misguided statements and actions that I've put out there during my life.  Which ones would I take back?  The ones that caused pain or embarrassment.  The ones that made anyone feel less good about themselves than they did before I opened my mouth.  The ones that caused unnecessary stress, or made someone go home and take it out on anyone else around them.  The things that made me wonder when I'd ever learn from my mistakes or made me feel ashamed.   Most of all, the ones that made people I admire think less of me.
    I often wish I'd helped more or been more patient.  I wish I could sweep aside what's wrong about someone faster and get to what's right about them more quickly. I think that is the key to happiness. 
    I have two great role models that I spend most of my time with, basically if I'm not with one, I'm probably with the other.  They are my boss and my husband.  Both of them accept people as they are and meet them as they are right now.  If they can help them improve they do, but they don't judge.  That's not to say they accept poor performance, but they don't assassinate someone's worth based on their opinions of what's right or wrong with them.  They both have happy hearts and people love them.  I think it's because they make everyone feel accepted and ok,  just as they are.  They don't obsess, they live and let live.  That's why they are peaceful and not left wishing or regretting. 
    So, how can I, and you if you're in the same boat, change from wishing to be peaceful about where we are?  Be positive and determined to look for the good.  Don't wait for it to happen, make it happen over and over again.  It will become part of who we are. 
    We only get one shot at this life (this time at least depending on what you believe).  The end probably gets here faster than we think it does.  When it does, I want my last thoughts to be peaceful memories, not yearning for what I wish I'd been.

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