Rants & Rambles Cafe: When Life Turns Upside Down
A lot of the time, people suck and disappoint you, right? Sometimes, it turns your life upside down...
The past few days, my husband and I—as Amazon sellers—have been dealing with a customer beyond unreasonable. The several-question-marks-per-sentence, hate-you-even-though-you're-handling-everything-correctly-and-politely type. You probably know the kind!
As this progressed, even though we laughed at the evening entertainment whenever he messaged us with his ridiculous accusations, I felt a weight upon my chest. I was frowning more throughout the day. Do you ever feel this way? All the time, or maybe just now and then? You just feel heavier, in your chest, your shoulders, even your face; the weight literally shapes your lips into a frown. Negativity actually affects our bodies this way. Our mind feels down, so our body gets to feel it, too.
I won't pretend this guy was the only reason I was feeling burdened, but who ever has only one reason for feeling down? Life is hard, right?
In any case, the rant part of this discussion is... how ridiculously unfair and annoying is that? People accusing you of doing wrong when you haven't, calling you incompetent when you're not? Of course, they have no right to call you that even if you are bad at what you're doing! No one is absolutely, 100% incompetent or worthless. As a Christian, I don't believe people are created to be complete failures and mistakes. So what gives someone the right to insult you in a way that is not true and only makes one feel worse? Really, nothing gives them the right! No one has the right to judge someone else for their shortcomings, decisions, or opinions!
But then there's something that we can all realize yet often eludes us... we don't have to listen to these people! There is no good that will come of us letting someone tear us down. Furthermore, I wouldn't flare up and say, "I know you are, but what am I?" either, clever as that classic comeback may be!
Here's the ramble part... have you ever heard of the term "paradigm shift?" In the new-ish movie Mary Poppins Returns (excellent movie, by the way, if you're a fan of childish whimsy and magic, as I am!), there is a scene where Mary Poppins's cousin Topsy moans and groans over her entire house and shop turning upside down, or "turning turtle," as she puts it. But as she complains and insists she will be useless for the temporary period that her home is upside down, something remarkable happens. Mary Poppins initiates a paradigm shift.
Mary Poppins tells her cousin,"You see, when the world turns upside down, the best thing is to turn right along with it... When you change the view from where you stood , the things you view will change for good."
Life is hard.
But that doesn't mean life is necessarily bad, even when it gets tough. Sometimes, you just need to flip your perspective, "turn turtle" on your head and see things from a different point of view. (Well, don't actually stand on your head... unless that's your thing!)
My husband and I don't know why the man I mentioned earlier has been hopelessly ridiculous and irrational, but, if I stop to think about it and change my perspective, I realize humans don't start out seeking opportunities to be a total jerk. There is always something that causes that monster inside of each of us to claw its way out. And, make no mistake, there is a dark monster inside all of us, trying to get out every day.
The good people aren't the ones who don't have that monster or who pretend it doesn't exist. They are the people who defeat that darkness, every day, when the choice comes by again: that monster of rage, cowardice, impatience, weakness, negativity, irrationality, and cruelty. Instead, they choose their inner hero: one of happiness, bravery, patience, strength, positivity, rationality, and kindness.
This man may not have defeated his monster during these past few days, but there is no way for me to know what he's going through in his life, from the safety of sitting in front of my computer screen, just reading his angry virtual words. I will probably never know his face or backstory, but I can imagine something has made him this way: perhaps family or friend has broken his heart and spirit. Perhaps he is already so burdened by negativity that he feels it's all he has left to spew at people. Perhaps he doesn't even know how unreasonable he's being because he's lost track of what is kind and what is good. Whatever the case may be, I now feel sorry for him.
And that is how, when your world turns turtle, you can see things from a different point of view. I started out with violent thoughts for this guy who had made my world so much worse over the past few days...
But I realized that I had no idea what he might be going through and would rather pray for him at this point. I believe that, when we feel empathy for our enemies, we defeat the rage monster inside of us and no longer see them as enemies, but as victims. We become heroes.
I don't know what is victimizing him, but something is, because I think people have an inner desire to be good and likable. The ones who aren't trying are those who have given up because it seems hopeless...
If you want a secret to happiness around other people, at least the secret I've come to use...
Always assume that people are doing the best they can. And just do the best you can, unworried and unburdened by anyone else's opinion.
Thanks so much for reading my latest Rants & Rambles Cafe session!