My attitudes # 3 – Grace and Dignity
“Learn to be what you are, And learn to resign with a good grace,
all that you are not” Henri Frederic Amiel
In my last post I spoke about optimism, in particular overcoming adversities by approaching difficult life events – death of a loved one, divorce, disablement, disease, disasters – as challenges to overcome, rather than as obstacles to endure……… …
I left out some rather difficult situations …chronic situations involving another person …… abusive situations, addiction in someone you care for, and chronic illness or disablement in someone you love. Is optimism in oneself enough to get one through any of these situations?
Herein lies the difficulty. Try as you might, as optimistic as you are yourself, you cannot change anyone else, or make someone do something, or make someone not do something. Even when someone is ill, you cannot make them see a doctor, take their medicine, rest, exercise, follow a diet or whatever it is that would be best for their situation. You can only keep loving and supporting them and encouraging them and helping them as much as you can. And you definitely cannot get inside their head and make them ‘look on the bright side’, or ‘make the best out of a bad situation’, or make them realise that ‘it could be much worse’. You can only do what you can do. You can only keep on keeping on and keep telling them over and over that it will all work out and that you will be there for them always.
Then when they leave you suddenly with no choice or discussion and with blame cast at you – because somehow it is all your fault – you finally take off the rose-coloured glasses……………..
And you realise that by the action of abandonment, not only have you been betrayed, not only have you been denied a chance to speak; not only have you been treated with the utmost disrespect; not only have you had your love and care trampled on; but you have also – in your role as carer – been the victim of emotional exploitation.
And you didn’t even know.
So, Mrs Optimism, where is the upside?
Using the same acronym as in my last post turning F.E.A.R into positive action (Face Everything And Respond) …………
Sixteen months on, I now look at the ending of our marriage and the events leading up to it with full realisation I had no control over someone else’s choices, someone else’s actions, or over events that occurred; and I have dropped any remaining trace of self-blame for the marriage’s demise.
Sixteen months on, I look on my values of kindness and empathy as virtues. I no longer see myself as a victim, or those virtues contributing to a supposed victim role. I realise that just because someone took advantage of my caring compassionate nature does not mean that I need to change those qualities in me in any way.
Sixteen months on, I can now face the razor-sharp ending to my marriage and be grateful that it saved me the pain of having to make a choice; that of trying to save my marriage after the betrayal. There is in regard to our personal relationship nothing left to lose so therefore nothing left to fear. There is no need to ask or expect an apology that will never come. The only response I need to make is to continue to act with grace and dignity.
“I wish grace and healing were more abracadabra kind of things. Also, that delicate silver bells would ring to announce grace’s arrival. But no, it’s clog and slog … on the floor, in the silence, in the dark”. Anne Lamott
Tou are wonderful and so is this post!
Thanks for your continued support.
(Sorry for slow reply. It has been a busy week).
Thanks for stopping by.
Love this post and quote! Very insightful.
Thanks so much. Sorry for slow reply. It has been a busy week. 🙂
This is beautiful Elisabeth, and so true.
Something I realized after that relationship gone bad ended with his arrest – I wasn’t healing from love gone wrong, I was healing from an abusive relationship. And in that healing I sought to love myself – and let go of the abuse. And to do that I had to quit thinking of ‘him’ as the cause of my pain (he was in prison and not ‘on the scene’ any longer). I was responsible for my own tender loving care, and grace lead me into Love.
Hugs – my heart is beautiful for you, and grateful.
Thanks for your thoughtful reply. It resonates with me.
Thanks for your continued support and enjoy the book-writing. I will be pleased to read it when you have finished.
Thanks for this Elizabeth. Your words may be very healing to someone close to me.
Thanks. I am glad that you may have found some comfort from my writing.
Yes, sometimes it takes difficult situations to make us see the light.
True indeed – You might be surprised by that apology. I came to a place where I no longer even thought I desired it and it came – it was not grand or dramatic – it was just a simple admission. I think that by letting go I made room for it to happen.
Well, I have not received an apology yet; but I have received a very strange letter recently that I cannot fathom out.
That doesn’t sound good.
Not really, just cannot fathom out his way of thinking about certain things.
I doubt it’s possible or reasonable that you would see things from his perspective.
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Thanks so much for the award. I really appreciate it.
Also – love your blog 🙂
You mean I’m not going to hear those delicate silver bells? Chuckling now as I admit I really want to hear those bells!
One of the follies of youth – thinking that there are silver bells – or knights in shining armour 🙂
Anne Lamott is one of my favorites. I read her most every day. And despite what she said in the quote above, I think I’ve heard a faint tinkle once or twice. 🙂
Yes, i know what she means by the ‘slogging’ and also the fact that wisdom comes in silence. But i too have had some ‘aha!’ moments when the sun has risen just for me and I have heard music!
Thanks for your continued support.
“chapeau” as we say in French, meaning something like Brava! ‘continue to act with grace and dignity” is a wondrous choice-filled way to live.
Thanks for your support and positive comment. it means a lot to me.
And after we face everything and respond, we can take Anne Lamott’s advice to take things “bird by bird” !
Spot on :). It has taken me sixteen months to get to the ‘facing’ or ‘acknowledging’ part and I am now at the name of your blog – ‘Ok, so now what?’
I can see it will be much easier to progress ‘bird by bird’.
Great post Elizabeth! Enjoy today…
Thanks so much for your kind comment. It is much appreciated. 🙂