I will admit that I am probably the worst person for holding a grudge. I am 33 years old and I still hold a grudge against my youngest uncle for calling me a spoilt brat when I refused to brush my teeth using my Aunt’s toothpaste when I was six years old. Despite the fact that I have now published a book openly admitting that I was a troublesome child (the book is actually called That Horrible Child so it’s not like I’m trying to market my innocence here) I still think he was out of line and his numerous apologies just don’t seem to cut it.
Holding a grudge can be incredibly draining, not to mention it can take up a hell of a lot of time. I have spent countless hours re-enacting scenarios in my mind (and I’ve even been known to act out conversations whilst in the shower if the truth be told). I have laid awake until early hours of the morning thinking up conversations and situations that could potentially give me an opportunity to stick my tongue out at my many haters (yeah, there’s a few). I’ve even gone out of my way to ‘prove myself’, only to wind up looking like a complete looper who ‘just can’t let the past go’.
Guess where all my efforts have gotten me?
Yup – nowhere!
If anything, all my time and effort only set me back even further, forcing me into a deeper state of depression. Not to mention all the negative responses I got from people around me, telling me they thought I needed help and that I had an anger problem. My family and friends would often talk about my outbursts and disturbing ways in which I would try and ‘get back’ at people, always claiming it was to ‘prove a point’. Eventually, I got to the stage where I didn’t want to associate with people on any level, because it was inevitable that at some point someone would rub me up the wrong way and I wasn’t able to turn the blind eye to it. Subtlety is certainly not my strong point.
Cutting myself off from my friends and family was a painful experience. I wound up in countless situations that could probably have been avoided if I’d kept in touch with those who loved and cared about me. But there are also a lot of important lessons I doubt I would have learnt if I had done things any other way.
Time alone is important. You don’t have to cut yourself off entirely, the way I did, but you need to learn how to deal with yourself before you can expect anyone else to put up with you. After all, you’re stuck with you for the rest of your life – everyone else is temporary. It doesn’t matter how much someone spends time with you, they’ll never spend as much time with you as what you will.
Yeah I know, it sucks – I drive myself bonkers almost daily, but no matter how hard I try, I just can’t get away from myself.
So are you going to be your biggest enemy, or your best friend?
Spending time with myself and getting to know myself on a more personal level, changed the way I dealt with others. I rediscovered my hopes and dreams, the little girl still trapped within. The girl who wanted to write books, travel and help people. The girl who used to donate her used toys to sick children visit the residents of the local aged care facility and just sit and talk with them for hours without expecting anything in return.
I rediscovered my innocence.
I went for walks and marvelled at the beautiful world around me as though I’d never seen it before. I started to read books again and learned new arts and crafts.
Now you are most likely a very different personality to me. You might like fishing, bike riding, swimming, or any other form of sport that I am unable to get my head around. Whatever it is YOU love, do it. Do all the things you want to do while you still can.
And don’t make excuses.
You want to go yachting, but you can’t afford to buy a yacht? Then do some research. I know that nearby to where I live there is a group of people who own a yacht and they are always looking for volunteers to go yachting with and they take kids with disabilities out with them. So dealing with kids with disabilities might not be your thing, but yachting is – so focus on the things it is you DO enjoy and you’ll be surprised at how many new hobbies and interests you’ll find along the way if you compromise a little.
Doing what you love and spending time focussing on your own dreams and goals has a truly magical effect, not only on you, but on the people around you. People are drawn to others who are happy, vibrant and passionate and when you are doing what you love, those things come naturally, you don’t even have to think about it.
Who cares if your dreams and ambitions aren’t what your friends and family think is best for you – YOU and only you know what you enjoy and what you want to do with your allocated time in this life. When you are doing what you love, the rest will fall into place along the way.
Be aware though, that doing what you love will not suddenly make your haters adore you. They’ll still be there, jeering in the background, but you will be so focussed on doing what you love that you won’t care anymore.
I got an e-mail a few months back from an anonymous person who contacted me through my website and left no return address. The message was quite obviously whipped up with minimal thought, stating that my website was ‘the biggest load of crap’ and that I was nothing but a pain in the ass and a nuisance, even on Facebook. The me of a few years ago would have wound up in tears and called my mum in hysterics pleading with her to help me figure out who it was who said such nasty things to me (picture a toddler who has just discovered that someone has ‘stolen’ their pacifier and destroyed it).
What I did do, was smile, laugh and quietly thank the anonymous person who had taken the time to view my website and add yet another view to my visitor’s tally.
Haters only have as much power as you give them. The more you try to get back at them, or justify yourself to them, the more you are feeding them and giving them more strength. Instead, smile and wave politely down at them from your pedestal and keep moving. Do what you love, be who you want to be and live the way you want to live, no matter what anyone else thinks, because nothing annoys a hater more than watching you succeed despite them.