I Asked For Strength…
And Life Gave Me Difficulties
To Make Me Strong
I Asked For Wisdom…
And Life Gave Me Problems to Solve
I Asked For Prosperity…
And Life Gave Me Brain and Brawn to Work
I Asked For Courage…
And Life Gave Me Danger to Overcome
I Asked For Love…
And Life Gave Me Troubled People to Help
I Asked For Favors…
And Life Gave Me Opportunities
I Received Nothing I Thought I Wanted
I Received Everything I Asked For
The second I read this beautifully spoken philosophy on life’s tribulations and rewards, I got a lump in my throat. It was the mirror of my soul’s path through the maze of pain that was being a fat, ridiculed child who one day, at circa age 25, realized she could take no more and began biting back. At least to the gangs of cowardly teenaged boys who called me names and mooed at me as I walked by, minding my own business and praying they wouldn’t notice me.
I spent many years silently taking mistreatment of all forms, whether it was insults as outlined above, or disapproving glances from strangers in a restaurant. One day, however, I could take no more and without any preplanning on my part, found myself spinning around in a blind rage to confront four teenaged boys who had the temerity to critique my appearance as I made laps at an indoor walking track. They slunk away in shame the second I unleashed my fury (and a few four-letter words) upon them. Never had I felt so alive or powerful. We’re talking decades of suppressed rage, buried by the belief that I deserved it because, as my father once told me…being fat is a choice and I could do something about it by dieting. Anyone with weight issues out there ever tried to remedy the issue of excess weight by dieting? How’d that work for ‘ya? That’s what I thought.
I’m not writing this to knock my father…the 70’s were the dark ages and none of us knew better. But after about the 75th attempt to solve what was ailing me through calorie-counting and exercising, I realized something more needed to be added to the equation and viola – I adopted the three-legged stool principle!
I knew there were wounds to address so I delved into them. Fearlessly. I knew there were beliefs to reverse so I put the careening truck that was my life in reverse and began driving it in the opposite direction. You know that old “fake it till you make it” saying? Well that’s exactly what I did. I pretended to believe the positive stuff until I’d worn a deep enough groove in my brain that one day I woke up and realized the positive stuff was now a card-carrying member of my belief system. It took time, but so do a lot of things worth the wait. It very much paralells the path of the Lotus, one of the most beautiful flowers on the planet, which gets its start in the mud. Its upward climb just to break the surface of the water is a long one. Then there’s the stage where it sits above the water in a tightly bound bulb…just waiting for the right moment to unfold. And when it does, what’s revealed is a flower that is more than just fragrant and beautiful. It’s one of the few blossoms that is as as solid and unmovable as a rock as it is stunningly gorgeous. Have you ever tried to pluck a Lotus from its stance? Can’t be done.
So I didn’t get a steady stream of the positive stuff as a kid…the important thing is, I have it now. And it’s probably why the self-esteem is sweeter…because it was earned with some serious sweat and tears (no blood necessary, I assure you). I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t let your painful past define the rest of your life. Question negative messages…and see them for the potential they carry. There’s always a gem at the core…some sort of soul-lesson to be learned. I no longer wanted to be bitter and hurt myself or others. I knew I needed more than a food and exercise plan. I needed a plan to restore my psyche as well.
And if you need to start with a collossal, existential fake-out by telling yourself you’re Absolutely, Unquestionably AMAZINGLY WONDERFUL….well, that’s a fantastic place to start.