She’s a Bitch!

We inherit a lot from our ancestors. Not only the material or behavioural patterns and the way we see the world, but also things we’d never consider an inheritance.

I inherited a house. I inherited a love for my land, for my country. I inherited some pretty crappy ways of dealing with emotions. I inherited some of my knee-jerk reactions.

And I inherited my parents’ neighbourly quarrels.I never thought that was even a possibility until a valuable lesson came along.

Here’s what happened.

I became the owner of my family house a few years ago. I also became the owner of the road we use to get to to our house and it is a road also used by our neighbours. When it comes to interaction with my neighbours I follow the “less is more” rule. I greet them kindly, help the elderly out with the snow in winter and that’s that. I don’t attend any social gatherings or talk about myself too much. I try to keep to myself. I have known most of these people since I was a child and from what I saw growing up and what my parents went through with them, I am happy to just keep to myself.

The only problem is that when they want to make changes to the road or whatever clever idea they might have, they have to ask me for permission. And that has always been a liiiitle bit of a challenge for them. I usually don’t complicate and let them do whatever they want, but I sometimes have to draw the line and say: “Nope, ain’t gonna happen.”

One of my neighbours had huge problems with my dad. I don’t completely understand how and why, but the argument became so bad that lawsuits were filed. Nothing got resolved, though. Then my dad died.

And by the looks of it, they now want to continue picking fights with me. This is a person who has threatened my family, told my dad he was going to kill his children, sued him and so on and so on … pretty messy and super complicated. And this person decided that, since my father is gone, I’m the inherited guilty party for all his troubles.

This person has, in fact, acted like a complete a-hole. And now he needs something from me. You see, he needs me to sign a piece of paper where I grant him permission to use the road. If I don’t do that, he cannot get a building permit in our country. And he’s trying to build a house. Sucks for him.

My parents already granted him that, but mistakes were made and the paperwork wasn’t properly processed … and now there you have it. I’m the owner and the one he needs. Granted: this is something I’d have to sign over anyway, but I’m pretty sure it must hurt his ego terribly to have to ask for anything.

Long story short: I could make his life complicated. I could draw this out and be the voice of karma (who is, as they say, a bitch).

But I won’t.

I have inherited this problem and it stops with me. I am letting go of whatever negativity trickled down from my parents and am stopping the flow. Not for him, but for me. I’ll let him have what he needs to continue with his life and keep it at that. I’ll instead focus on the good and on making my goals come true. Making someone’s life harder (even if his actions are completely assholish) will not be something I will be pursuing.

I won’t react to things the way my parents potentially would, I will not be petty, I will not accumulate negativity. I’ll be the kind of person I am most comfortable being: loving, nurturing and kind. Not for the sake of the assholes in my life, but for the sake of greater good, positivity and self-love.

Some seem to think that when dealing with negative people, they themselves have to become negative and retaliate. Harm was done to them and so harm must be given back. It’s a vicious cycle. The problem is that most of the harm isn’t really going anywhere. We internalise it and it sits in our mind and is toxic for our souls. We fester in ways of getting back at someone. What good is that?

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying you should be a push-over. All I am saying is that what you think matters, what you say matter and how you choose to deal with negativity matters. Choose the kind of reaction that will serve you and will help resolve things for you. Then go on your merry way and let people have the bullshit they choose to live with. Who knows, maybe they’ll learn a little something from you …

The Ultimate Healer

Our lives are a mixture of experiences. Some satisfyingly good, some explosively great and other minutely uncomfortable or catastrophically painful. We all create our own stories of good fortune and bad luck, of beautiful self-expression and self-torture, of happy endings and cruel fable-like lessons. Life is good, it is great and it is extremely painful.

I, like all of us, have had a little of everything. I have learnt that, when it comes to negative experiences, I tend to categorise how to deal with them. There are things which come up in my life and they suck. But I can definitely do something to improve them. I can always choose another career path, I can try to improve the relationships in my life, I can always try to do better. I can succeed, there is a possibility for a happy ending.

Then there are things which come up and they suck. But there is nothing to do. I cannot bring loved ones back to life, I cannot fix relationships long broken and those with unwilling participants on the other side, I cannot mend what is permanently gone. There is no success in trying to change the past. A wrenching feeling of being lost, alone and completely powerless seems to then take over everything. It is a feeling only being deepened by the knowledge of finality. There is absolutely nothing you can do. These sort of changes only have one solution, they only have one healer: TIME.

You always hear that time heals everything. I never actually gave it a real thought until my dad died. For weeks and months I couldn’t take the hurt. It felt like that was all I was and I’ll never recover. His illness and death were all that ever existed and all that ever would be. I felt so alone, so desperate, so depressed. How was I ever to live like this? How does anyone live like this?

Then I heard something a friend’s grandmother once said:

“The best thing about life is that everything passes.”

I found such solace in those words for some reason. Older and elderly people posses such wisdom and I respect that immensely. I know this lady had a tough life and if that’s what she got out of her 80+ experience in life, who am I to disagree?

Sometimes life brings crappy stuff which you cannot change. Some things are finite. They’re never coming back. All you can do is slowly try to accept. You not only have to accept the thing that has happened, but also accept that you’ll need time. Those sharp edges of hurt you now feel in your stomach and heart will ebb away, I promise. They’ll never fully go away, but they will become bearable and, if you choose so, will become a valuable lesson.

I have learned to recognise the type of pain I’m in. I decide whether it’s the kind of situation I can try to change with my action or it is something finished and out of my reach. If it’s the latter, I recognise the pain, try to accept it and try to be patient with myself through the sensations. Some things are easier to cope with than others. Especially when we feel guilty or feel like there is something unresolved coming up and resurfacing. Those are the things we have to resolve. We have to resolve ourselves from the trauma. Detach from things we’ve done or have been done to us and simply let them become a story we learn from for the future. What good is an experience if you failed to learn?

I know it sucks. TIME! Of all things! When we’re in pain, we want it to go away now(!) and we wish we could just bridge the gap and let it be over with. Time is a solution both bitter and sweet. It means you’ll have to be patient when all you want to do is crawl out of your skin. But remember: it also means you have something to rely on. You can always rely on the fact that things will get easier. What you are feeling now will soften, will change and will mend. And know that the best things in life are usually always simple, but they’re not always easy. Just know they’re always worth it and here for you when you need them.