“Everything you do pisses me off”

“So what you’re telling me is that you’re a recreational soccer player. Your other friends could have been just as good players but they’ve actually gone and done something with themselves

“I realize that I treat this person way better than you, there must be a reason for it.”

These are words that have been thrown my way at one point or another, by people that I have cared about and have hurt me fairly deeply.

We’ve all had people that have said things to us that have pierced us, and more than likely have fired our own bullets at others. Some people fire things at us, without even realizing that they are holding a gun in their hands. Although it doesn’t matter, if the bullets hit us, they still embed their negativity and hurt in our hearts and in our minds.

After struggling with some wounds lately and feeling like the negative words of other people have been playing in a loop in my mind, and having the benefit of a couple of good (and supremely wise friends) to bounce ideas off of, some things have become clear to me. So let me share some of my newfound realizations as we all move towards a happier, more positive 2014 (and if 2013 kicked ass for you, keep the good vibes rolling).

The first: People that fire bullets and say hurtful things, do so from a place of their own hurt, and their own insecurities. It has nothing to do with you. Let me repeat, it has nothing to do with you. (Cue Robin Williams’ character in Goodwill Hunting, shaking Matt Damon’s character and saying repeatedly, “It’s not your fault, it’s not your fault.”)

In all seriousness, while we hurt from the wounds of their words and actions, the reason behind why people fired their hurtful words at us are irrelevant, but if we can change our view to one of compassion and forgiveness for the hurt that they feel to need to put other people down, it allows us to spend our valuable, and limited time to heal faster and move on. And who wants to spend any more time wallowing in pain or feeling negatively towards people who obviously aren’t in a good place themselves.

Unfortunately there are a lot of hurting people in the world, so those walking around with guns getting catharsis for their pain by firing at others are not going to go anywhere anytime soon.

I wish I could take credit for the following wisdom but my friends are way too smart for that.

Wallowing in some self-pity with a good friend, frustrated by being so down by the negative words of a few, and trying to figure out a better way to cope with the inevitable bullets that will pierce us all through a lifetime, he threw some tough love at me that changed my thinking. Shockingly he is “a straight guy, no less” (his words not mine, when I told him, how impressed I was with his emotional depth). He made me realize that we don’t need to let ourselves be targets of anyone else’s issues and how to look at things differently. His advice to me:

“I discovered that it was fear that was creating my “victim mentality” and negative attitude. It was stopping me for taking responsibility for MY experience of life. it was also fear that was keeping me from being a truly loving person. Little by little I learned how to push through fear and move myself from the weakest to the strongest part of who I am.

Through all the nonsense on that riffraff, is the taking responsibility for my experience of life. That is where I stand on all of that.”

With that being said, once I sat back and took inventory on the negative things in my life, or looked at people who didn’t impact me positively, I realized that while they might have been the catalyst of my negative feelings, that it really had nothing to do with them.

If I truly choose to believe that I am a good person, if I truly am ok with who I am and what I’m doing, no matter how important a role someone plays in my life, whatever negativity they say to me, doesn’t matter. It puts control of the situation back into my hands, and I don’t need to be the victim anymore.

Likely it also eliminates the threat of bullets hitting us, because just like no kindergarten bully ever goes after the most secure kid at the playground, people who are looking to unload their insecurities and fears on other people can sense, and won’t bother, with those who are strong enough not to be affected.

For me, moving into 2014, just like in sports, 27 years after starting my sport of choice I have learned that breaking things down minutely and focusing on maximizing and enjoying the process, is the way to go, so too I believe the same to be in life. These are my intentions for 2014:

1) Make the choice to look at things in a positive way. If something or someone is causing you negative feelings; break things down and figure out what it is you fear if you are not seeing a person or a thing in a positive way. Often if we take the time to get to the root of something, fear is playing some kind of a role, and it looks quite different to the emotion that is manifesting itself at the surface.

2) Do everything that feels right to you, without worrying about the consequences of how other people are going to react (this covers a lot of areas).

3) Focus on all the good that you have in your life (there’s a lot, start looking and writing it down) and don’t dwell on what you don’t have, it’s a waste of the small amount of energy that we are given to spend each day.

4) Write down the outcome of what you want, and then don’t think about it again and just throw yourself completely into the process. It’s the fun part of life. Make that outcome goal huge, it’s way more fun to push yourself each day.

5) If any of the family or friends aren’t impacting you positively, it is ok to let them go and wish them well. You owe nothing to anyone. But do make time for family and friends who make you happy because at the end of the day they are what is most important.

6) Serve others. That’s right, donate blood, donate your money, donate your time. Make someone’s day a little brighter. Give, give, give.

Here’s to everyone having a remarkable 2014.

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