small changes can lead to big differences.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Since the moment we're able to react to other people, we are taught by our parents to be nice to others. We are taught the golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. Kindness generates Kindness. 

But as we get older and we start to form our own opinions and are placed into situations that test us, who we are stems from those decisions we make at that moment. 

Our decisions and our actions form the type of person we become later in life. Things that happen to us in middle school find a way to burrow into our minds and have an impact on how we react to others and form relationships. 

stepping back into memories. 
In the past few weeks, I've been beating myself up for not being "enough" for people. I flew with another flight attendant who was very territorial with me, letting me know my place in the crew. I was ignored by her and she demanded the attention of the other crew members every time we were together. I knew I wasn't imagining things because I've never worked with someone who was so territorial of pilots and passengers. I don't know if it's because she was intimidated by me or she just doesn't play well with others, but I recognized her behavior straight away and just went with it. I would have loved to get to know the cute pilot more, but I had almost no one on one time with him because she would constantly be taking up all of his attention. 
No, I'm not bitter, even if it sounds like I am. The entire trip, though, I was beating myself up over it because I couldn't understand why someone I just met would be treating me this way. I am a very social person, and to be ignored was not a normal circumstance for me. I'm not a competitor, either - I always include everyone in on whatever is happening. I love my crew family. 
After our trip, I would find myself thinking about how low I felt during that time. I was seriously depressed. The way she treated me reminded me strongly of a girl I knew in junior high that acted and treated me like my best friend but then as soon as she found out which guy I liked, she "stole" him away from me. It was the cruelest form of betrayal and I will never forget it, because it made me feel absolutely terrible about myself. 
After thinking about this and other memories, I started to realize that these occurrences, including the flight attendant I worked with, were affecting me way, way too much. Why was I still reacting to something that happened over 10 years ago? 
After doing some Google searching (clearly the best form of self-help) I came across an article that had the right thing I needed to see at the right time. 

What happened to me in 7th (yes, 7th) grade has been terrorizing me for ages. But for something that happened over ten years ago, something I only just barely remember, could the facts really be true? 
Yes, I remember walking into the gym during our swim meet (I never told you I was cool) and finding them cuddling together, but that's pretty much it. I don't remember what else they were doing, I just remember that scene. My feelings afterwards were those of self-hatred. I couldn't even swim well. I felt like my world was completely over because not only did I lose the guy I was crushing on, but I knew I lost a friend. But as a 26 year old girl, I'm realizing that these are just stories I'm telling myself. I am convincing myself that I was the victim, that I was the innocent girl who was betrayed by two people she thought cared about her. I'm telling myself that I can't trust anybody - even now - because that pain that I went through was almost the worst pain I've ever experienced. 

What if, instead of all that sad shit, I told myself that it just simply weren't true? 

I'm pretty sure I've gone through worse pain and that I will go through worse as I age and the natural progression of life starts to happen. I'm pretty sure that I don't want to be known as a "victim" but instead, a "champion." I am also 101% sure that while what she did to me was pretty shitty, I can't take it personally. I just can't, because she had some issues going on where her sense of self-worth was lower than mine, and this was her way of getting herself to feel better about who she was as a person. I've never had to do anything like that to make myself feel good. 

Once I asked myself how I would feel if those feelings I felt towards that situation simply weren't true, I noticed an incredible difference with myself. Almost all of my animosity towards that particular situation had disappeared. I started to realize that things like that happen to many, many people - and that what they did to me had no reflection on who I am as a person. I immediately realized what I told you earlier - she had sunk to an incredible low just to hurt me and make herself feel better - which is a situation far worse than mine. 

Realizing that I couldn't take that situation personally made me realize that I really couldn't be taking many situations personally. Going back to my flight attendant story - she had just met me and was alienating me the first night. I'm can't take that personally, because she has no idea who I am. Of course, at the time I was hurt, but I also think if I hadn't worked with her I may have never realized how I was taking everything as a personal attack. 

So next time you find yourself in a situation with someone, such as a betrayal, someone alienating you or just being plain mean - think to yourself "Before I take this personally, what if it just simply weren't true? What if this person is acting out because of something else going on in their life?" & I bet you will be able to let it just slide off your back. 

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