It Was Me All Along is an abbreviation of a writing I published years ago. I actually was supposed to share this with you all early yesterday morning. I decided not to. Yesterday, I felt so horrible after responding to criticism on social media in a way that’s not a representation of who I am. I didn’t say anything disrespectful. I just should’ve ignored it. I am so thankful for my husband’s uplifting conversation yesterday. Sometimes when I feel upset about a choice I made, looking at me talk about it can be written for a comedy movie. LOL! People are going to think I’m a bad person. What if a lot of people saw that? That’s not me. What do you think people think? Do you think I offended others? . . . LOL!
I opened my book to share this post today. Everything that I needed to hear yesterday before posting was in my very own book that I wrote. Reading the full chapter was like me talking to me. I was reminded or re-reminded of lessons that I’ve learned before. Coincidence? Or should this have been a reflection yesterday to face a test I hadn’t even known was even set for me to take? I was extremely hard on myself for not remaining silent knowing some want reactions from others intentionally. This writing also reminded me that it’ll be okay and to learn from my mistakes. With each story is a lesson. My intentions is for you to feel what felt as I read this writing. I felt like I failed at a lesson that I had already learned, but with each failure is another layer of wisdom to do much better the next time. So, I was reminded that I can learn from this. Share this with everyone you know. Share your thoughts with me on this post. And by all means, don’t bow your head or feel defeated . . . a reminder to myself as well. You got this!
One day, while shopping, a complete stranger was so absorbed in her moodiness that she even wanted to argue with me over something that she couldn’t find while shopping. Guess how long that lasted? Probably less than a minute because I didn’t allow it to go any farther. I didn’t try to defend myself or let it be known that I was minding my own business and that she was the one that started it. I didn’t go back and forth with her. As a matter of fact, I maintained my smile. I refused to let her determine how my day would go. I refused to give her my power by allowing her to irritate me, simply because she was irritated by whatever that had her so angry. She went walking on and I’m sure tried to argue with others as well. Very shortly afterward, another stranger started shopping for pjs. At least ten pajama sets. I started a conversation with her about the pajamas. She said that she was buying them for all of her friends.
She laughed and said, “If you were my friend and enjoyed wine and cheese, I would buy you pjs too.”
“Are you kidding me?” I laughed. “I love wine and cheese. My husband and I love to go to a place called Bin 77 and order the cheese and wine. It comes with feta cream, honey, spiced olives and toasted baguette bread.”
She continued, “Oh yum! You should try the truffled brie.”
“Wow! That sounds delicious! One day I even want to have a Parisian themed girls’ night and have wine and cheese.” I added.
Our conversation went on and on and on and on. She concluded by saying, “What’s your name again?”
“My name is Jamie.”
“Jamie, I don’t know you, but you are near and dear to my heart. I wish we could talk forever.”
Our conversation felt full, meaningful. That’s what I meant when I talked about curiosity. She talked about her friends, how they would spend time together, and so on. She was much older than I was, so she was able to rewind and tell me some things about her life in the past. Those are my favorite kinds of conversations. Conversations with meaning. Conversations with purpose. She made me smile not just because of the kind words, but also knowing that I had absolutely nothing to do with the previous stranger’s attitude. It’s not like I didn’t know that at first, but it was good to know I allowed her to look bad all by herself. I’m sure whatever mood she was in, it had begun well before she started to shop. I felt a bit annoyed when I reflected on that situation too, because I had wished I would have always taken the silent road. My mother and uncle always told me growing up to be the bigger person when it comes to troublemakers. I listened for the most part, but somehow in some situations, I had let the “need” for defending my character take over. Silence feels so much better. It makes me feel strong. Sometimes we can get so focused on what doesn’t need to be defended. Had I responded back to her, I would have allowed the opportunity for her to make me look as silly as she had made herself look. Mama always told me, being who you truly are is all the explanation you’ll ever need. My silence to the stranger, maintaining my smile and not allowing her to pull me out of character showed that it was all her.
Nowadays, I try to remain silent with people like the moody stranger. It’s exhausting to go back and forth with someone who is used to behaving that way. It may not bother them because they have gotten used to behaving in a way that may be uncomfortable to whomever they’re disagreeing with. It requires strength to keep silent when you know you have many reasons to be vocal and speak the truth. And, when you give it to God, He can handle things far better than you can. His timing is different from our timing.
I think about all the time I allowed people to upset me. It was my fault! I could’ve just ignored them. I used to be upset quite often that I didn’t ignore them, but there’s the question that if I did ignore them, would I still have learned a lesson? Would I still be who I am? The lessons we learn in life are what fills us with wisdom. Sometimes, we learn what not to do by actually doing it. Not intentionally, of course.
Many times, some of the prettiest smiles have overcome some of the ugliest pain and the smartest people, in a lot of cases may have one time or another made the dumbest mistakes. And the person who is filled with compassion is usually a person who didn’t have many to offer it. Some of the strongest people, probably at one point were the weakest. If you want to continue to grow in wisdom, you have to make sure you’re not standing in your own way and also surround yourself with people who will inspire you to grow.
Some things you have to be at peace with. There are things that only God can get to the bottom of because He sees everything and He always knows the intentions of everything that’s taken place. Some people may mistakenly hurt you or offend you. Some may intentionally try to hurt you only to realize that God intervenes when He feels the timing is right. But, here’s what I learned in the midst of my reflections: IT WAS ME ALL ALONG.
Never color outside of the lines of your true meaning. If a verbal battle does not represent who you truly are; stay inside of your lines. Coloring outside the lines is unfamiliar territory for you. Therefore, you can get lost in a space that is not true to you. You have nothing to prove by defending yourself in an unfamiliar way. And, also remember, not retaliating may seem like a temporary defeat, but it ultimately sets you up for the ultimate win.
I don’t believe someone is nice to you simply because you’re nice to them. One doesn’t speak simply hate because they are hated, neither do we love because we’re loved. As ADULTS, how you react to situations is who you are anyway. Yes, we can step out of our character at times, but because the response is not true to who we are, our conscience and heart will force us to step back into the zone that’s more familiar to us. How you act most of the time is who you are. Our reaction to an action is a glimpse of who we are inside. Our character. We are who we are because we choose to be.
When I say it was me all along, I’m not saying that every situation was my fault. I’m saying that we may not be able to control everything that happens, but we most certainly can control how we respond.